By COLlive reporter
Rabbi Mottel Krasnjanski was sent by the Rebbe to join the Yeshiva Kollel in Melbourne, Australia, over 30 years ago. He served as the Rosh HaKollel Lubavitch in Melbourne and is now the Rabbi of Or Chadash Minyan at the Caulfield Shule.
He wrote the following in response to an unprecedented letter by Chabad rabbis, roshei yeshiva and poskim which supported establishing eruvin in small and large cities that would allow Jews to carry items in the public domain on Shabbos.
Here is his letter as provided to COLlive.com:
The Rashba (רשב”א מס’ סוכה דף כ’ ע”א) states, “Anyone who can insure one Halacha isn’t forgotten, it is as if they established the entire Torah”. I feel it is incumbent upon myself and any other concerned Chossid to respond to the public statement by Chabad Rabbonim and Roshei Yeshiva to establish Eruvin in cities.
I will preface my remarks by stating I am not here to comment on any established Eruv that was constructed under the guidance and supervision of expert Rabbonim. The existing Melbourne Eruv, for instance, was established under the expert guidance of the esteemed Rav Shimon Eider a”h.
I simply wish to challenge the thrust and content of the statement made by the Rabbonim regarding the Rebbe’s attitude to city Eruvin.
The Rabbonim state that the Rebbe was in favor of city Eruvin based on what the Rebbe wrote referring to the תשב”ץ, “It is a great Mitzvah for us to establish Eruvin in cities”.
This is quite misleading. In fact, there are numerous Poskim that are of the opinion that there is a Mitzvah and an obligation to construct an Eruv in a city where possible (see מס’ ערובין דף ס”ח ע”א;על אתר מרדכי, ריטב”א, מאירי; מאירי דף ע”ח ע”ב; טור שולחן ערוך ס’ שצ”ה; בית יוסף סימן שס”ו ס”א; מגן אברהם סימן רס”א ס”ו; שו”ת תשב”ץ חלק ב’ ענין ל”ז; שו”ת רא”ש תשו’ כ”א; etc.).
But it is wrong to use the above opinions to convince everyone that this is the Rebbe’s personal view in contemporary times. And it is even further egregious to state as if the Rebbe promotes “It is a Mitzvah for us to establish Eruvin in cities where it is possible… In many instances, our Rebbe revealed his opinion to Rabbonim and communal activists stating it is a Mitzvah…”
The Rabbonim do acknowledge the Rebbe hesitated in certain instances due to difficulties with local government authorities in receiving permission to construct Eruvin or the lack of having an overseer to continually check the validity of the Eruv on a weekly basis. This, the Rabbonim claim was the background to the Rebbe’s response and hesitation to an Eruv in Melbourne. The Rabbonim then conclude, “It is clear as day … that his words of hesitation should not be taken as universal guidelines in other places.”
I must confess I was shocked and dismayed at the above statement. I would have thought if the Rabbonim had a scintilla of integrity they would have contacted me before making determinations based on the Rebbe’s answers to Melbourne, Australia. As the author of the halachic pamphlet “Community Eruvin – An Halachic Analysis,” I was closely and personally involved with Rabbi Yitzchok Dovid Groner a”h, Head Shliach of the Melbourne Yeshiva Community, who was the recipient of the aforementioned response regarding an Eruv in Melbourne. Rabbi Groner made it crystal clear to me what the Rebbe’s view was as detailed below. To my astonishment, the Rabbonim presume to know exactly what the Rebbe meant even when that was not what the Rebbe said. In fact, the Rebbe wrote something quite the contrary.
The Rebbe’s response to Melbourne was: “My view is public knowledge that in our generation an individual or organization that is recognized and involved in constructing an Eruv, if they know that ultimately the Eruv will become public knowledge – a dreadful tragedy can occur. It is inevitable that one Shabbos the Eruv will become invalid. Once one becomes accustomed to carry on Shabbos, no announcement or notice of the disqualification of the Eruv will prevent them from carrying. One should not make an Eruv unless it is made discreetly.”
The Rebbe’s statement is unequivocal. There is no mention whatsoever in the Rebbe’s response regarding an overseer or local government authorities. The Rebbe’s opinion is quite forthright – if an Eruv is made, it should be done discreetly.
The Rebbe’s opinion is found in many other related sources:
• אגרות קודש חלק ט”ז אגרת ו”פד – Again, the rebbe wrote to Rabbi Moskovitch (see דף ש”ח ע”ב), “In my opinion you have a great Zechus (in reference to an Eruv in Manhattan) nevertheless it is clear in my absolute and strong opinion not to print or publicize in any way that the Eruv is complete.”
• שליחות כהלכתה, pg 93, a letter delineating several reasons why the Rebbe hesitates with Eruvin in cities. The Rebbe writes, “In view of the above, it is an absolute necessity, in my opinion, that the Eruv, if indeed one is feasible at all according to Din, should be carried out in the utmost secrecy. This means that the purpose of the eruv would not be to enable a Jew to carry his Tallis to Shul on Shabbos but only to relieve those who already transgress the Shabbos by carrying things – from doing so b‘issur.”
The Rebbe’s general attitude to city Eruvin is patently clear from all the sources above. As the Rebbe himself says, “מפורסמת דעתי” (my opinion in known).
I ask all those who have responses from the Rebbe regarding city ערובין to please publicize them now so that we can prevent the revisionists from taking hold.
הרב מאטל קראסניאנסקי
רב ק”ק אור חדש מעלבאורן אוסטרלי’