Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is an Eruv?
  2. Eruv guidelines
  3. The Eruv and the Makom Tefilla
  4. Rabbinic Support for the Eruv

The following has been adapted by Rabbi Zvi Lieberman, the supervising Rabbi of the Edgware Eruv, from various Eruv Manuals.

We should emphasise that guidance from each person's Rabbi should be sought regarding the Halachos of the Eruv and the other Halachic implications discussed below.

Rabbi Zvi Lieberman's shiur given on the 17th Oct 2006
is available here.

1. What is an Eruv?
The Torah permits carrying within an enclosed area on Shabbos and Yom Kippur. Such an enclosed area may vary in size from a small home to an entire community. The Talmud specifies both the definitions of an enclosure and how to render an entire area a single domain. These conditions have been met in order to create the Edgware Eruv, and it will therefore be permissible, within the area described below and according to the conditions detailed below, to carry on Shabbos and Yom Kippur.

At the same time, it continues to be the responsibility of parents to teach their children the Halachos (rules) and restrictions of carrying on Shabbos. It is only because of the Eruv that we are allowed to carry within the area contained in the Eruv. Everyone, including children, should be aware of the proper Halachic behaviour in areas where there is no Eruv.

2. Eruv Guidelines
A source for community enhancement
The Eruv will be helpful to families with young children and to individuals who are unable to walk, as carriages, pushchairs and wheelchairs may be wheeled within the area of an Eruv. Others will find it convenient to bring a Tallis or Siddur to Shul, or a Sefer to a class or Shiur, or to carry glasses, house keys or other permitted items necessary for Shabbos.

Please note that items required for use after Shabbos may not be carried on Shabbos. Any item that is Muktzah including an umbrella even if opened before Shabbos may not be carried on Shabbos. Questions regarding the assembly of baby carriages should be addressed to each person's Rabbi.

It is the obligation of each individual who wishes to use the Eruv to ascertain, every Friday, that the Eruv is indeed functional. It is not adequate for one to assume that the Eruv is functional if there have been no storms or major adverse weather conditions during the previous week. Many factors can invalidate an Eruv, and only specific authoritative confirmation on Friday validates the Eruv for use each week.

The limits of Eruv enhancement
The purpose of the Eruv is the enhancement of Shabbos observance, not its diminution. Therefore, the existence of the Eruv should not be considered a dispensation to enter places not consistent with maintaining the sanctity and spiritual character of Shabbos. Whether a community does or does not have an Eruv, one may not enter the following on Shabbos: business establishments, stores, offices, places of entertainment (cinemas, etc. - even if payment has been made in advance) and libraries. The following activities are never permitted on Shabbos:

Even within the Eruv there are a number of common articles which, because they are classified as Muktzah, may not be carried or handled on Shabbos at home. Following is a partial catalogue of Muktzah items.

All questions regarding Muktzah should be addressed to each person's Rabbi.

The Eruv may become temporarily invalid
In order to assure that no joyous event be marred by disappointment or, G-d forbid, inadvertent transgression of Hilchos Shabbos, no Kiddush, Bar Mitzvah, Aufruf or other Shabbos affair should be planned with the assumption that the Eruv will be operational, as last minute storms, construction, etc. could render the Eruv invalid. Therefore, since events must be planned far in advance, all celebrations should be planned as if there were no Eruv. Food should be brought to the location of a Simchah before Shabbos, a copy of a Bar/Bat Mitzvah boy/girl's D'rashah should be brought to Shul before Shabbos, etc.

Weekly Eruv Inspection
The Eruv will be inspected every Friday morning and again just before Shabbos, to ensure that it is intact. Every Friday afternoon, we will notify the community of the Eruv status in the following ways:

In case of a major storm beginning anytime after notification the Eruv should be presumed to be non-operational. Heavy rains, wind, snow, or other weather conditions can frequently invalidate an Eruv. To eliminate the chance of inappropriate reliance on a damaged Eruv, it is best to assume that the Eruv is invalid in the aftermath of any storm.

Multiple dwellings (e.g. two or three family houses, apartment houses, etc.) should have an additional Eruv Hatzairos (merging of courtyards), made without a Brachah, in order to permit carrying from apartment to apartment if the community Eruv fails. An Eruv Hatzairos is appropriate in a courtyard, hall or staircase that is shared by the residents of a two or three family house, block of flats, or apartment house because it is forbidden to carry from the private dwellings into the shared area on Shabbos or Yom Kippur. The Eruv Hatzairos is a procedure whereby all the dwellings opening into the shared area are considered as owned by a single consortium. Guidance and assistance in establishing this type of Eruv is available from each person's Rabbi.

Eruv Tampering
Because of the complexity of the laws of Eruvin, no one should take it upon themselves to extend the Eruv, or attach wires or any other addition to the Eruv. The Eruv constitutes a closed and complete entity in and of itself.

3. The Eruv and the Makom Tefillah (Place of Prayer)
The entire community benefits with the introduction of an Eruv. Shabbos social life is enhanced and more people are able to come to Shul to Daven and to learn Torah. Each community will be guided by its own Halachic Authority in response to these new challenges. It is most important that the sanctity and dignity of every Makom Tefillah (place of prayer), whether a Bais HaMedrash or the main sanctuary of a Synagogue, be properly maintained.

With the establishment of our Eruv, an issue of much younger children attending and disturbing services is a concern. We need to deal with this bearing in mind two considerations: firstly, the outlook of our Messora or heritage on bringing children to Shul, and secondly, the avoidance of disruptions to decorum of Tefillah Be'Tzibur (communal worship).

Despite the cherished place children enjoy in Jewish communal worship, there is no license to restructure our synagogues as indoor playgrounds for the young. On the contrary, the Mogen Avrohom in his commentary on the Shulchan Aruch mentions: "And one must train them (the young) that they stand (in Shul) with awe and respect. And as for those that run back and forth in the Synagogue in levity, it is better not to bring them." The decorum of the services must not be challenged by the young.

Undisciplined children also create problems for themselves in Shul. Permitting youngsters to roam freely and cause disturbances reinforces negative habits which may remain throughout their life.

If children in Shul are at their parent's side the parent can properly supervise them and monitor their spiritual development. To tax children unfairly by demanding discipline from them beyond their ability is also unwise. Many parents may consider bringing their youngsters to the synagogue near the end of services, and gradually lengthen the time as their attention span increases.

It is critically important to instil in one's children a sense of reverence and respect to the Synagogue and never allow them to disturb the decorum and sanctity of the Tefillah Be'Tzibur.

The following suggestions will hopefully maximise the benefits of the Eruv to the community as a whole.

Furthermore, everyone should be aware that the following are not appropriate in a Makom Tefillah:

Rabbi Lieberman concludes that the Eruv should be an addition to our community of which we are all proud and enhances our service of Hashem.

4. Rabbinic Support for the Eruv
The Edgware Eruv enjoys broad cross-communal support from the Rabbonim of the following Shuls:

Edgware Adath Yisroel Congregation
Edgware United Synagogue
Edgware Yeshurun
Machzikei Hadass
Kol Yaacov
Edgware Kehillas Netzach Yisroel
Edgware Lubavitch
Edgware Torah Centre
Aish Edgware

Letter from the Communal Rabbonim

Guidance from each person's Rabbi should be sought regarding the Halachos of the Eruv and its Halachic implications.

 

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