Since I moved down to the Lower East Side I have received more questions on Eiruvin than anything else. From conversations with many Jewish residents in the area – both members and non-members of my congregation – there is a great deal of interest and desire to have an eiruv erected on the Lower East Side. Setting aside the economic and political obstacles of putting up and eiruv down here, I decided that the best thing to do is simply to teach the basics of eiruvin in terms of how they work in halakha.
The intent of these shiurim is not to get people to the level of pesak and as such we did not explore the vast teshuva literature on the subject. Rather the goal was to provide working definitions and explain the laws and principles underlying the various halakhic disputes. Most sources are from the Talmud, Rambam, and Shulhan Aruch.
I decided to split this shiur into three parts:
- Part 1 introduces the reshuyot and the basic definitions of eiruvin, and demonstrates that halakha views eiruvin positively and that putting one up is considered to be a Good Thing.
- Part 2 covers the physical construction of the eiruv – the lehi, korah, and mostly the tzurat hapetach, explaining their halakhic function.
- Part 3 discusses the conceptual requirement of getting all residents in an area to join an eiruv, as well as several solutions to the problem of getting Jews to agree on anything.
All three shiurim have been added to YUTOPIA’s Source Sheet Archive.
As always, comments and corrections/suggestions are welcome!