From the Rav’s Desk: What is the Alter Rebbe’s Eiruv?

  1. Question: [Tuesday 15th Tamuz 5780]

What is the Alter Rebbe’s Eiruv? What does this mean?



I believe there is some common misconception about this term and idea, which causes some people to be “Machmir” not to use Eiruvin because of a mistaken concept that only Chabad Eiruv’s follow the Alter Rebbe. Usually the term “Alter Rebbe’s” refers to a style that is unique to the Alter Rebbe and not found in previous Poskim, such as his Kesav, certain Takanos in Tefillin, etc. This is not the case by Eiruvin, in which there is no real unique opinion of Admur in his Eiruv specifications which is different than the other Poskim, and he simply brings the opinions and arbitrates based on the Achronim. Thus, when discussing the Alter Rebbe’s Eiruv it should be taken in context that it is not a unique Eiruv according to Admur and Chabad, but simply, an Eiruv that follows the rulings of Admur, and this type of Eiruv is based on the rulings of other Poskim, Rishonim and Michaber in his Shulchan  Aruch. In fact, the Eiruv according to the rulings of the Alter Rebbe follows similar standards to a Sephardi Eiruv which is stringent like the Michaber. Furthermore, in the major debates that Admur arbitrates on to be stringent, the Mishneh Berurah does likewise, and in even a stronger tone, and hence an Eiruv that follows the rulings and stringencies of Admur, would be synonymous to an Eiruv that follows the rulings of the Sephardim and those who follow the Mishneh Berurah. Specifically, there are a number of arbitrations of Admur in his Hilchos Eiruvin,  in some of which the Alter Rebbe writes to be stringent like the stringent Poskim, such as the Michaber/Sephardim, and M”A. The two basic Chumras of Admur [which I have seen people erroneously subscribe to him despite it being brought in the regular Shu”a] are:

  1. That a Reshus Harabim is defined as a street 16 Ama wide. This matter is debated between the Rambam versus Rashi/Rosh/Tosafus, and later on between the Michaber and Rama, and Admur concludes similar to the Taz that every G-d fearing Jew should be stringent upon himself. The Mishneh Berurah likewise rules stringently in this matter
  2. That the Tzuras Petachis to initially be made every 10 amos. This matter is debated between the Rambam and other Poskim and both opinions are recorded in the Michaber. The Alter Rebbe arbitrates that it is proper to be stringent like the Rambam, and so likewise concludes the Mishneh Berurah.

Sources:  See regarding Reshus Harabim: Michaber 345:7; Taz 345:6; Admur 345:11; M”B 345:23; 364:7; See regarding Tzuras Hapesach: Michaber 362:10; Admur 362:19; M”B 362:59

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