General Laws of ERUV
WHAT IS AN ERUV?
The Torah permits carrying within an enclosed "private" area on Shabbat and Yom Kippur. Such an area enclosed and considered "private" 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 private domain. All these conditions have been met in order to create the Sharon Eruv, and it is therefore permissible, within the area described below and according to the conditions herein detailed, to carry on Shabbat and Yom Kippur.
At the same time, it continues to be the responsibility of parents to teach their children the Halachot and restrictions of carrying on Shabbat. 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 behavior in areas where there is no Eruv.
This article covers the following topics on Sharons Eruv
- THE ERUV: A SOURCE FOR COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT
- THE LIMITS OF ERUV ENHANCEMENT
- THE ERUV MAY BECOME TEMPORARILY INVALID
- WEEKLY ERUV INSPECTION
- ERUV TAMPERING
THE ERUV: A SOURCE FOR COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT
The Eruv will be helpful to families with young children and to individuals who are unable to walk, as carriages, strollers and wheelchairs may be wheeled within the area of an Eruv. Others will find it convenient to bring a Tallit or Siddur to Shule, or a Sefer to a class or Shiur, or to carry glasses, house keys or other permitted items necessary for Shabbat. Please note that items required for use after Shabbat may not be carried on Shabbat. Children’s tricycles may be used inside the Eruv. Questions regarding the assembly of baby carriages may be addressed to Rabbi Miller.
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 Shabbat observance, not its diminution therefore, the existance of the Eruv should not be considered a dispensation to enter places not consistent with maintaining the sanctity and spiritual character of Shabbat. Whether a community does or does not have an Eruv, one many not enter the following on Shabbat: Business establishments, stores, offices, and places of entertainment (movies etc. – even if payment has been made in advance). The following activities are never permitted on Shabbat: athletic activities, bicycle riding, tennis, swimming, skating, sledding, ball playing, watering the lawn, gardening, playing with water, putting Trash out for pick up, picking flowers, fruits, etc, playing in a sprinkler, playing in a sandbox, bringing gifts to hosts on Shabbat and Yom Tov, and mailing letters.
Even within the Eruv there are a number of common items, because the are classified as Muktza, may no be carried or handled on Shabbat at home. Following is a partial catalog of Muktza items. All other questions regarding Muktza should be addressed to Rabbi Miller.
Any item whose primary us s prohibited on Shabbat, example, hammer, pens, wallet, pocketbook etc.
Any item which is neither food nor utensil that has practical use on Shabbat, example, money, animal, stone, credit card.
Any item so valuable that one takes extra care for its safety, passport, check, painting, merchandise set aside for sale.
Any item (e.g. fruit, leaves, flowers, herbs) attached to its source of growth before Shabbat, and falls off during Shabbat.
Any item that cannot be used on Shabbat, or whose intended use is for after Shabbat, example car keys, office keys.
An umbrella may not be carried, even if opened before Shabbat or Yom Tov.
Gardening equipment, tools, athletic equipment, sleds, etc.
THE ERUV MAY BECOME TEMPORARILY INVALID
In order to insure that no joyous event be marred by disappointment, or G-d forbid, inadvertent transgression of Hilchot Shabbat, no Kiddush, Bar Mitzva, Aufruf, or other Shabbat affair should be planned with the assumption that the Eruv will be in operations, as last minute storms, telephone company repairs, etc. could render the Eruv invalid. Therefore, since events must be planned far in advance, all celebration should be planned as if there were no Eruv. Food should be brought to the location of a simcha before Shabbat, also copies of speeches, or baskets of throwing candy, kippot etc.
WEEKLY ERUV INSPECTION
The Eruv will usually be inspected on Friday morning, repairs made if needed. An official voice mail message on the Eruv Status Lines will notify everyone of the Eruv’s status each week. In case of a major storm beginning anytime after preparation of the message – generally no later than one hour before candle lighting, 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 on the aftermath of any severe storm.
Multiple dwellings, example, two family houses, apartment houses, etc. should have an additional Eruv Chatzerot (merging of courtyards), made without a Beracha in order to permit from apartment to apartment if the community Eruv fails. An Eruv Chatzerot is appropriate in a courtyard, hall, or staircase that is shared by the residents of a two family house, condominium, or apartment house because it is forbidden to carry anything from the private dwelling into the shared dwelling on Shabbat or Yom Kippur. The Eruv Chatzairot is a procedure whereby all the dwellings opening into the shared area are considered as owned by a single consortium. This is achieved by each residents placing Matzah in one of the dwelling units, symbolizing that all participants are legal residents of that unit. Guidance and assistance in establishing this type of Eruv is available from Rabbi Miller.