The status of new technologies are often determined by the first major authorities to rule. Practices harden quickly and institutional positions, once set, change only with difficulty. This conservative tendency preserves socio-religious boundaries but also favors early movers. The use of umbrellas on Shabbos, universally forbidden in the Orthodox Jewish community, is an excellent example of an early authority dominating the discussion and setting communal standards.

Umbrellas on Shabbos

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I. Umbrellas and Precedents

The status of new technologies are often determined by the first major authorities to rule. Practices harden quickly and institutional positions, once set, change only with difficulty. This conservative tendency preserves socio-religious boundaries but also favors early movers. The use of umbrellas on Shabbos, universally forbidden in the Orthodox Jewish community, is an excellent example of an early authority dominating the discussion and setting communal standards.

Umbrellas and parasols only became widely popular in Europe during the second half of the eighteenth century (link). Apparently, Jews in large cities eventually adopted the portable protection, some even on Shabbos. In 1783, R. Yechezkel Landau sent a powerful responsum on the subject that set the standard for years to come (Noda Bi-Yehudah, vol. 2 Orach Chaim no. 30 – link). In prior years he had seen people in Prague, where he was the city rabbi, carrying umbrellas on Shabbos and he had expressly forbidden the practice. In his analysis, opening an umbrella on Shabbos is rabbinically prohibited, according to one opinion biblically. Therefore, you may not open or close an umbrella on Shabbos or carry one opened before Shabbos.

R. Landau was not alone in his conclusion. Birkei Yosef (Orach Chaim 315:2; Shiyurei Berakhah ad loc. – link [1776]) quotes R. David Pardo as completely forbidding use of umbrellas. However, he also cites R. Pinchas Anav as permitting the opening of umbrellas after already used once, since after the first use it remains somewhat open compared to its tight binding on purchase. R. Avraham Danzig (Chayei Adam, Hilkhos Shabbos 42:6 – link [first published in 1809]), also forbids use of umbrellas.

R. Landau’s decision caused two leading nineteenth century authorities to forbid opening umbrellas even though they believed it was permissible. R. Yisrael Lipschitz (Tiferes Yisrael, Kalkeles Shabbos, Ohel [first published in 1830]) initially argues that umbrellas should be forbidden but then suggests the item is comparable to a permissible exception. However, because R. Landau forbade umbrellas, R. Lipschitz would only permit asking a gentile to open an umbrella.

R. Moshe Sofer (Chasam Sofer, Orach Chaim 72 [responsum dated 1813]) also argued that umbrellas are entirely permissible. However, citing R. Landau’s responsum, R. Sofer only allowed having a gentile open and carry an umbrella for a Jew. Neither R. Lipschitz nor R. Sofer felt comfortable ruling contrary to R. Landau’s precedent.

II. Folded Tallis

The reason to forbid opening an umbrella is fairly straightforward. As R. Lipschitz explains, based on the consensus of opinions, you are biblically forbidden to erect a tent that has a roof (at least a tefach wide) and will be used for an extended period (eight or more days). A tent fulfilling only one of these two conditions is classified as a temporary tent. Erecting a temporary tent that is used for protection is rabbinically forbidden. Since an umbrella has a roof and is used for protection, it qualifies as a temporary tent that is rabbinically forbidden (according to the Rif, as R. Landau understands him, biblically forbidden).

Even carrying a pre-opened umbrella should be forbidden due to maris ayin concerns–it looks as though you opened it on Shabbos. And asking a gentile to open an umbrella is as forbidden as asking him to perform any forbidden labor for you.

However, a central argument revolves around the “folded tallis,” a rolled-up tallis connected to one end of a frame which, when unrolled, covers the entire frame as a roof. The Gemara (Shabbos 138a) forbids unrolling the tallis unless it is connected to a string before Shabbos. Tosafos (ad loc., sv. karakh) offer two reasons why you may unroll a folded tallis that has a string: 1) the tallis is already covering at least a tefach and you are merely extending the pre-existing roof, 2) even without already covering a tefach, the tallis is permitted, presumably because the string makes the tallis into a convertible roof with moving pieces.

An umbrella is comparable to the folded tallis with a string. Therefore, according to this second view in Tosafos, you may open an umbrella on Shabbos. This is R. Lipschitz’s main lenient argument, and that of many others. However, R. Landau points out that others, particularly the Rif and possibly the Rambam, disagree with this second view of Tosafos.

This is, of course, a simplification. There are many other related issues and the views of the Rambam and Rif are hotly debated. R. Sofer offers three other arguments for leniency.

III. Continuing Stringency

Subsequent authorities continued to debate this, taking both sides very seriously. Interestingly, R. Chaim Sofer (Machaneh Chaim 3:23 – link), an unrelated student of R. Moshe Sofer, was faced with the following question: should a doctor called to a patient on Shabbos drive a horse-drawn wagon in the rain (rabbinically prohibited) or open an umbrella and walk? This required deciding between his mentor, R. M. Sofer and the great R. Landau. If opening an umbrella is potentially biblically forbidden, then the doctor should drive a wagon. If it is all but permitted, he should walk with an umbrella. R. C. Sofer responds to each of R. M. Sofer’s three arguments, clearly siding with R. Landau, but refuses to rule against his mentor and instead advises the doctor to have a gentile drive him. (Presumably, during a downpour even a raincoat and hat would be insufficient protection for the long walk. Otherwise there would be nothing to discuss.)

Significantly, R. Avraham Yeshayahu Karelitz (Chazon Ish, Mo’ed 52:6 – link) explicitly dismisses R. Landau’s position that opening an umbrella constitutes building a temporary tent. He believes that since an umbrella normally functions in this way, like a collapsible chair, opening and closing it does not constitute building a tent. On the other hand, R. Avraham Chaim Na’eh (Ketzos HaShulchan 120:13 – link) accepts that opening an umbrella constitutes building a temporary tent. R. Yisrael Meir Kagan (Mishnah Berurah, Bi’ur Halakhah 315 sv. tefachlink) also differentiates between a collapsible chair and an umbrella, prohibiting the latter because you must tie an umbrella’s strings after opening it (the Peri Megadim, Eshel Avraham 315:8 [1786] expresses the same concern).

However, even those who entirely reject R. Landau’s view, such as R. Karelitz, do not permit opening an umbrella on Shabbos. R. Karelitz invokes technical and general, perhaps public policy, concerns. He states that opening an umbrella constitutes fixing the item (tikun mana), a prohibited even if often hard-to-define action. Additionally, he points out that since opening an umbrella is universally viewed as forbidden, doing so violates a socio-religious boundary in a very public way.

Similarly, R. Yehoshua Neuwirth (Shemiras Shabbos Ke-Hilkhasah 24:15) writes that the great authorities of the generations set this as a boundary (geder gaderu gedolei ha-doros)–they said not to open or use a pre-opened umbrella. In footnote 53, among the other sources he quotes, R. Neuwirth cites the Tehillah Le-David as saying that the prohibition on umbrellas has spread widely and anyone who opens an umbrella is breeching a boundary (poretz geder).

IV. Public Policy

I noted above the dates of rulings issued in the same time period as R. Landau’s. He was not the first to rule on the subject nor the only strict voice. However, his ruling permanently impacted the halakhic literature on the subject and led to a universal prohibition on the use of umbrellas on Shabbos. His view is debatable but defensible, as R. Chaim Sofer showed.

However, the unanimous refraining from umbrella use leads to an important but curious socio-religious phenomenon. Permitting use of an umbrella, by those who take the lenient view, would inevitably confuse a large segment of the observant public and probably lead to additional lenient behavior in areas unquestionably forbidden.

On the one hand, a frustrating element of arbitrariness surrounds umbrella use on Shabbos. Why do we act strictly on this issue, which is hotly debated among authorities, while acting leniently on other disputed issues? God’s will, as defined by halakhah, should not be subject to historical accident. On the other hand, like an individual, a community is defined in part by its past. We cannot change how we got to where we are, our communal evolution through history. As halakhah evolves–within boundaries, of course–we cannot turn back the clock without destabilizing the system.

In this particular issue, the reluctance of even lenient authorities to actually permit umbrella use on Shabbos turns the subject into less a matter of debate than many other halakhic issues. We’ll just have to make do with raincoats and the occasional wetness during a downpour.

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the founder, publisher and editor-in-chief of Torah Musings.

61 comments

  1. R Gil-excellent post! There is a related dispute between RYBS and RMF as to whether one may cover a hat with a plastic covering.

  2. Very nice post. But in all seriousness this is but one example of many. There are numerous examples which support your contention; but there are a few notable exceptions. It really depends on the the particulars of the case and especially the halachik authorities involved.

  3. As in the case of prohibiting the use of electricity on shabbat, the poskim first shot the arrow, then drew the target around where it landed. The Noda B’Yehudah said that the use of umbrellos are nisht shabbosdik. sof pasuk. Therefore the SSK is posek lissur while in a footnote he admits that there are more reasons for hetter than issur, but we cannot be “Poretz gader shehaikim ha NBY.
    There is a similar discussion on wheteher or not it is permitted to put on a wide brimmed hat on Shabbat (called sinara in the Gemarra)or is this also considered as erecting a temporary tent. Here the result was opposite that of the aforementioned umbrella. Even though poskim including R’Ovadia Yosef pasknd that the brim cannot be wider than a tefach(like the brim of R;Ovadia’s hat. Go tell that to the Lyubovitchers with their slouch hats or the other Chassidim with shtreimels well over a tefach wide.

  4. Great post.

    I have long wondered about the prohibition of opening an umbrella since my recollection of the Gmarra (Bavli) expressly permits erecting a preconstructed ohel. (i.e. the umbrella is preconstructed, rather than temporary.)

  5. Terrific post, R’ Gil. I think you meant 1783 as the year of zikni the Noda Bi-Yehuda’s teshuva..

  6. It cuts both ways. Chodosh outside of EY is probably biblically forbidden Yet once the Bach wrote his heter it became the accepted ruling despite very cogent arguments in opposition. So much so that when R Ahron Soloveichik introduced it in Chicago,many of the Charedi community actually opposed being makpid and even forbad doing so because of concerns such as infestation potential.
    Of course, over the years keeping Yoshon has been adopted by many “yeshivishe” types and the old argumnts ave faded away.
    Who knows maybe one day when the world has become so wired that it will be impossible to function on Shabbos the issue of electricity will be revisited and reanalysised to deal with c ontemporary reality
    The history of halachah and its evolution is interesting indeed!

  7. Shmuel,

    It is a bit simplistic to state the Bach is the basis for our leniency on Chodosh. There are numerous reasons to be lenient, many of which predate the Bach. Some rely on the Bach as part of a safeik sefeika but I have yet to see non-chassidim rely wholly on the Bach as the source for their leniency.

  8. “Go tell that to the Lyubovitchers with their slouch hats or the other Chassidim with shtreimels well over a tefach wide.”

    Or the Italian-descended standard yeshivish ones, which at certain ages are larger than the whole head.

    But, of course, none of those are actually intended to keep the rain off- witness the covers. That, of course, raises the question of whether you can wear them without an eruv. 🙂

  9. Bottom line: black hats are ossur!

  10. Early authority? What was the halachic discussion of parasols (umbrellas for the sun carried by others on behalf of someone else, such as a king)? “In the sculptures at Nineveh the parasol appears frequently.” [Wikipedia entry you linked to.] “The origins of the umbrella are most probably China in 11th century B.C. although ancient sculptures have been found in Nineveh, Persepolis and Thebes (Egypt) depicting the use of umbrellas. There is also evidence of Umbrellas or Parasols being used at the same period in India. The first umbrellas were most probably a converted branch of a tree (for example giant Banana Leaves) or a hat on a stick, which gave rise to the umbrella, as we know it today.” http://www.oakthriftumbrellas.com/pages/umbrellas4.htm

    It seems to me that what changed was that (a) umbrellas/parasols began to be used for rain as they became waterpoof, (b) umbrellas/parasols became cheaper, and (c) umbrellas became popular.

    Umbrellas have developed over time, even since the late 1800s. For example, the folding umbrella only started being used in the 1930s. Umbrellas have become much cheaper still and are often considered disposable. Is the parasol of Nineveh and Rome the same as the umbrella of the 1700s the same as the umbrella of 1880 and the same as the umbrella of 2012?

  11. “God’s will, as defined by halakhah, should not be subject to historical accident.”

    For those who believe in God’s will, there are no historical accidents.

  12. shachar haamim

    Moshe Shoshan on August 29, 2012 at 2:36 am

    “God’s will, as defined by halakhah, should not be subject to historical accident.”

    For those who believe in God’s will, there are no historical accidents.’

    Isn’t that the view of certain poskim and roshei yeshiva who were opposed to e.g. using manuscripts to fix textual errors and such. i.e. that the textual error was “God’s will” and we can’t change the ruling.

  13. “Isn’t that the view of certain poskim and roshei yeshiva who were opposed to e.g. using manuscripts to fix textual errors and such. i.e. that the textual error was “God’s will” and we can’t change the ruling.”

    Could be, but the revelation of the error is also Gd’s will, and therefore the ruling should change.

  14. great topic. it does cut both ways. modern sctence (iirc blink + thinking fast/slow) support r’dt’s arrow analogy. r’ms- is it possible that hkb”h allows for some randomness in the universe?
    KT

  15. shachar haamim

    avi – I didn’t say I agree with that view. Actually I think that your answer is an appropriate one in response to that view. On a deeper spiritual level, I also think that one can tie the revelation in manuscripts during the last century+ to the return of the Jewish people to their homeland and national sovereignty during the last century+. this affords the Jewish people the opportunity to correct the “errors” of the exile.

  16. Shadal made just that point (sort of) about the explosion of revealing the contents of old manuscripts in the 19th century.

    http://onthemainline.blogspot.com/2011/07/shadal-series-3-on-important-role.html

    ” So it is that God saw that the generation is orphaned, with many following nothing and nonsense. Even the sages and wise men are ineffective as leaders. So what does God do? He sends them sages and leaders from another generation. He causes old books to be lifted out of the dust piles, in order that their voices can be heard in a later generation. It is as if he returns the soul to the dead, breathing new life into the hearts of those that are straying. He turns the heart of the fathers – already dead – to the children, in order to turn the heart of the children toward their fathers. “

  17. How do those who hold opening an umbrella is truly forbidden justify opening (or closing; whatever the correct term is) a shlock on Sukkos?

    If the answer is that they don’t, I’m fine with that, but then at the end of the day the idea that Klal Yisroel has accepted the stringent view is really not entirely accurate.

  18. R’Dov,
    Which makes the next generation of psak even more difficult since they now have contradictory data points on which to base their projections.
    Also your average Jew in the street has no idea about the details of this issue and is really convinced that an umbrealla is assur duraita and extrapolates confusion based on that (e.g. why isn’t holding a bunch of taleisim together over kids considered an ohel)
    KT

  19. What has to happen here is for a community of Nachshonim (= pioneers) to say they’ve had enough of getting rained on because of a chumrah they dont agree with, and start using umbrellas. They will be villified by some, to be sure, but the wall will have been breached. That will then provide cover for the MANY who would like to use umbrellas (believing them perfectly permissible)but dont, because of social pressure. It may be quick or it may take a generation, but there will eventually be a paradigm shift, and it wont be long before even the right wing yeshivah element of orthodoxy starts using umbrellas.

    That’s what happened with the eruv in Boro Park, for example. For decades no one used it. Then all it took was just one rabbi in the 90s to say it was fine, and overnight tens of thousands of Boro Parkers were using it. Why? Because they never really thought it was forbidden from using it in the first place, it was just social pressure. This example can be multiplied many times over. All it takes some of the more modern orthodox elements who dont give two hoots about what the frum crowd thinks to start using umbrellas, and then, believe me, the frum will follow suit.

  20. Significantly, R. Avraham Yeshayahu Karelitz (Chazon Ish, Mo’ed 52:6 – link) explicitly dismisses R. Landau’s position that opening an umbrella constitutes building a temporary tent. He believes that since an umbrella normally functions in this way, like a collapsible chair, opening and closing it does not constitute building a tent

    I wonder how he can at the same time osser electricity because of “boneh”.

  21. DF – I would contest your recollection of the events that led to the launch of the BP eruv. It took a lot more than that for people to start carrying. The backers of the eruv, both lay and rabbinic, had to endure physical assaults, verbal abuse and an immense amount of vandalism before the eruv was successful. And this success was only achieved due to the backing of several leading poskim and chassidic rebbes. I don’t think the case of using umbrellas on shabbos is analogous.

  22. DF: Perfectly frum Syrians ride bikes on Shabbat. 🙂

  23. I don’t think the case of using umbrellas on shabbos is analogous.

    I agree that I don’t think that the umbrella issue is a “big deal.” However, the argument that the closest analogy in traditional terms to the kind of pocket umbrellas generally used today is a tent or, more fundamentally, that this is in any way a geder to building a long-term tent comes across to me as forced/weak.

  24. Nachum, you are correct: Bicycles on Shabbat are the same story as umbrellas. It’s not just the Syrians but very prominent poskim.

  25. If this is the basic reason to forbid:

    Erecting a temporary tent that is used for protection is rabbinically forbidden. Since an umbrella has a roof and is used for protection, it qualifies as a temporary tent that is rabbinically forbidden

    I now understand R’ Jakobovits’ lenient psak better.

    Note the two required clauses: “temporary tent” AND “used for protection” to forbid.

    When R’ Immanuel Jakobovits was rav of the Fifth Avenue Synagogue, he paskened for the conditions in his community – that the shul, and most apartment buildings in the area, had a canvas awning in front of the door. He permitted his congregants to use an umbrella on Shabbos because a) there was an eruv, the Manhattan Eruv; b) putting up or taking down the umbrella under an awning is a meaningless act, so one can put it up under one awning and take it down under another.

    What makes it a meaningless act? Evidently, the NbY’s second clause – that it be used for protection. Under the awning, the awning provides protection.

    Thank you for clearing that up – people always ask what the rationale was, and I didn’t know enough about the literature on umbrellas to answer.

  26. Dov F: They only allow extending a sukkah covering if it is already out by a tefach.

    Jon: I agree that if it is not used for protection then just about everyone would permit it. But I think most people use it for protection.

  27. “It is as if he returns the soul to the dead, breathing new life into the hearts of those that are straying. He turns the heart of the fathers – already dead – to the children, in order to turn the heart of the children toward their fathers. “”

    Oooh, that’s very exciting for me. I was wondering if anyone saw the great amount of archeology and old manuscripts coming to light as a form of Techiyat Hamaytim, and it seems Shadal did make that connection 😛

  28. Gil: the point is that WHILE IT’S UNDER THE AWNING it isn’t used for protection. Since the issue here is ERECTING the temporary tent FOR PROTECTION, at the moment the user OPENS/CLOSES the umbrella, s/he is NOT using it for protection. What that person then does afterwards, walking in the street, becomes a SEPARATE ISSUE, governed by ideas such as muktzah and hotza’ah.

    You’re confusing the moment of opening/closing, with the long period when it is already open.

  29. Amerikansis, please be more precise both technologically and halachically. Parasols are not umbrellas, have a different core construction as well as purpose, and here on the Zionist Riviera the most machmir who won’t touch an umbrella are (surprisingly) Meikal sur la plage.

  30. Another related issue might be whether one can recite the Mitzvah of Leshev BaSukkah on the first night of Sukkos in a sukkah where the “shlach” is in use due to the presence of a torrential rainstorm which would otherwise compel one to eat inside.

  31. I was in Boro Park the second shabbos after people started using the Eruv. It was not a coalation of laymen and rabbis, it was one Rebbeh. [Earlier I said Rabbi, this is BP, of course I meant Rebbeh.] That’s all it took.

    Anyway, my point is simply that most people are sheep. They dont do or refrain from things because they’ve studied the issue and have reached a conclusion, but because they are concerned about yennem. It’s true about the Eruv, its certainly true about kashrus, and its true about umbrellas. If people start seeing other people using umbrellas, they will eventually – not everything is overnight like the eruv was – do the same. And in fact, once some people start using it the whole “issur” will be bottol anyway, because its only forbidden because nobody uses it. Even inherenly ossur things become muttar this way, and kal vichomer things only ossur because of minhag. See dinei aveilus.

    Nachum – SYs are different. You can ask the same question about kitniyos. They have different minhagim. Some ashkenazim hold you can sell your chametz to them for Pesach. 😀

  32. MiMedinat HaYam

    i remember this topic was covered several years ago (one of the first hirhurim posts i read)

    though its nice to revisit this issue, among others.

    no discussion here of picnic table type umbrella, which is “fixed” in location. (though not necessarily fixed in position, but that would be a type of parasol, also not adequately distinguished.)

  33. MiMedinat HaYam

    “dinei aveilus” are really minhagim. the problem is that here in america, everyone practices litvish / yeshivish minhagim, prob cause the rabbi is young, has parents, never experienced avelut, so he takes what his (litvish) RY tells him, instead of proper community (or family origin) minhagim.

    just like you say SY’s ride bicycles. (I assume only in deal; they dont hold of the flatbush eruv, or of the http://www.erub.org.)

    but you cant sell them your chametz, and there is no benefit to sell them your kitniyot; everyone agrees you can hold kitniyot in your hands. though i’ve seen yeshivish hotel owners throw out a soup bowl cause a guest put her (shmura) matzah in the soup.

  34. Fotheringay-Phipps

    DF: “I was in Boro Park the second shabbos after people started using the Eruv. It was not a coalation of laymen and rabbis, it was one Rebbeh. [Earlier I said Rabbi, this is BP, of course I meant Rebbeh.] That’s all it took.”

    Being in BP for one shabbos doesn’t make you an expert on the dynamics of what was going on. There were a lot of prominent – and even more semi-prominent – rabbonim who backed that eruv.

    To name a few, R’ Fishel Hershkowitz (most senior chassidisher American posek), R’ Chatzkel Roth, R’ Menashe Klein, the Munkatcher Rebbe, and many other lesser lights.

    And even that was a long and bitter struggle.

  35. Could the continuation of the ban on umbrellas have been caused by umbrellas being brought to Conservative shuls – so that the ban became another badge of Orthodoxy. Alternatively, once it became kosher for Conservative Jews, it had to become assur for the Orthodox. (Actually, I am no idea if umbrellas were being brought to Conservative shuls.)

  36. שולחן ערוך יו”ד סימן רמב:י

    יש מי שכתב שאסור לחכם להתיר דבר התמוה שנראה לרבים שהתיר את האסור

  37. Regarding the tag line, “We’ll just have to make do with raincoats and the occasional wetness during a downpour.”

    Curious, especially given the context, that this remedy disincludes wearing a hat.

    (Not to mention that Asians use a small hat that looks like a miniature (severely angled) umbrella.)

  38. “Being in BP for one shabbos doesn’t make you an expert on the dynamics of what was going on.”

    No, of course not. Nor does even the countless shabbosos I’ve been in BP before and after that, with my grandparents and many cousins. I dont claim to be an expert. But I recall very clearly that it was the written and very well publicized psak of one rebbeh, and one rebbeh only, that broke down the gates. It was a multi-page leaflet that was all over the neighborhood, and being discussed in the several shtibellach I was in.

    You say there were others who supported it. Maybe, but that’s a very Obama thing to say. R Menashe Klein had argued R. Moshe’s psak on the eruv for decades, and it had no practical impact. Like I said before, sometimes a paradigm shift occurs only after a generation passes. Could be, upon reflection, the eruv in Boro Park is indeed another example of this.

  39. Gil – They only allow extending a sukkah covering if it is already out by a tefach.

    Do most people who do not carry umbrellas keep this / know this?

    AA – See the Shach ad loc.

  40. DF’s sociological insight is also true in many other areas of Jewish life.

  41. “R. Yisrael Meir Kagan also differentiates between a collapsible chair and an umbrella, prohibiting the latter because you must tie an umbrella’s strings after opening it”

    I don’t tie anything after opening my umbrella. It sounds like modern umbrellas should be permitted then.

  42. Fotheringay-Phipps

    DF: “But I recall very clearly that it was the written and very well publicized psak of one rebbeh, and one rebbeh only, that broke down the gates. It was a multi-page leaflet that was all over the neighborhood, and being discussed in the several shtibellach I was in.”

    It’s possible that this pask happened to be a hot topic of conversation on the particular Shabbos on which you visited. The eruv controversy was a long drawn out affair, and you were possibly noticing the latest news. (I would guess what you’re referring to was a kuntros put out by the Munkatcher Rebbe on topic.)

    In any event, you are very wrong about the facts here.

    As to your larger point, it’s worth noting that it’s not as if the eruv is now accepted by everyone. Litvisher/yeshivish never carry with it, and for Chassidim, it depends on which group you belong to.

  43. MiMedinat HaYam

    “Litvisher/yeshivish never carry with it”

    litvisher / yeshivish would do away with masechet eruvin if they could (actually, they might keep it for learning purposes, but definitely not for carrying purposes.) almost NO litvak / yeshivish would carry in ANY public eruv.

    you didnt prove anything.

    which is one reason why chasdsidim suppoprt eruvin. those that oppose only do say as an accpmodation to the litvish / yeshivish.

    sign me as someone who grew up in boro park.

  44. Ari: I initially made the same inference from the Mishnah Berurah — our umbrellas are different so there is no problem with ohel (although there may be other, more general problems). But some think the clicking of the umbrella into place is equivalent to tying the strings. I’m not quite sure I buy it but I can see what they mean.

  45. “litvisher / yeshivish would do away with masechet eruvin if they could (actually, they might keep it for learning purposes, but definitely not for carrying purposes.)”

    Masechet Eruvin never once mentions public eruvin.

    “almost NO litvak / yeshivish would carry in ANY public eruv.”

    I assume you mean “Charedi Litvak,” and even then you’d be wrong.

  46. He’d be more than wrong. One trip to either Yerushalayim or Bnei Brak would prove that he has no idea what he’s talking about. Apparently the anti-eruv syndrome is mostly a diaspora phenomenon, although I’ve heard worrying reports of outbreaks in Israel too.

  47. To be fair, the charedi neighborhoods/cities in Israel are better able to seal themselves into a “reshut hayachid” once a week.

  48. Perhaps, but the ‘reshus harabbim’ issue frequently raised in chutz la’aretz is no less relevant in Gush Dan.

  49. MiMedinat HaYam

    the objectors to using an eruv are almost exclusively litvaks / yeshivish ( = charedi; i’ll grant you that not all litvaks are (historically) charedi (or actually come from “lita”, wherever that is), but in today’s terminology, litvaks = yeshivish = charedi.)

    israel is another story, like in almost cases of chutz vs israeli charedism. (though i heard twenty years ago that RAL does not use the eruv in yerushalayim, but allows his family to use it.)

    every town in europe had an eruv, except for some litvish towns. even yerushalayim had an eruv under the old yishuv, thus, hesitance to object. plus the rule that a town that has an eruv is permitted / required to keep it, and assume it was approved by previous generations of rabbonim.

  50. I always thought the objection to the use of umbrellas was because we are not permitted to carry or to use pockets for Shabbat and holy days (I obviously grew up without an eruv in place, and my father would have thought that was ‘cheating’ anyway). However my question concerns the requirement for minyan in places subject to frequent heavy downpours – monsoons, cyclones, hurricanes, seasonal tropical storms etc. I live in a sub-tropical regional subject to exceptionally heavy summer tropical rain that for the last few summers has experienced flooding rains: such weather oftem means there is doubt if a minyan will be able to attend services. Surely, it would be more practical to allow a little modernity in the circumstances, so that the great spiritual good can be maintained?

  51. Fotheringay-Phipps

    MiMedinat HaYam:

    “you didnt prove anything.”

    What I wrote was relevant to the specific issue at hand, i.e. the extent to which a leniency would become widespread once some “nachshon” followed it. And my point here is that in the cited case, this did not happen, and that members of other groups did not follow the leniency.

    And as you should and probnably are aware, MO people have a lot less currency among Chassidim and Yeshivish Charedim and a lot less influence, than these groups have among each other. So if Litvisher did not decide to carry once a lot of Chassidim did, there’s all the more less reason to assume that any sort of Charedim would be influenced by a MO Nachshon, although a lot of MO people undoubtedly would be.

    “which is one reason why chasdsidim suppoprt eruvin. those that oppose only do say as an accpmodation to the litvish / yeshivish.”

    Nonsense. Some of the harshest opposition to the eruv was Chassidic. In particular, members of the Bick family, as R’ Moshe Bick was the harshest opponent of the BOP eruv when it was first proposed (to be surpassed later by RY Belsky, who is in a category of his own). But other groups also don’t carry, e.g. Satmar, and they are not doing this or anything as an accomodation to Litvish/Yeshivish.

    “sign me as someone who grew up in boro park.”

    A long time ago, apparently.

  52. MiMedinat HaYam

    F-P — i agree insofar as the “nachshon” is NOT MO.

    rabbi bick z”l was practically a litvak (he learned in TV, for starters, i presume got his smicha there, even though he became the mezibusher rebbe.) yes, he was the one who ran to RMF to “assur” the eruv, as soon as he found out about it. proving his yeshivish / litvish bona fides. (even the namesake cousin he disavows went to a litvish yeshiva, known as RIETS. though i assume even RIETS disavows him.)

    the satmar rebbe (r yoel z”l) said he was against the (old version of the) eruv specifically in deference to RMF.

    actually, i just came back from visiting my parents in BP when i wrote the “grew up in BP” stmt, which i visit weekly.

    yes, the polarization today is such that charedim will not accept the MO currency, even though even their kashrut system is built on the MO agencies (though we see more and more today that the biggest one is deferring to the charedim, a whole other discussion.)

    just this week, i saw they are selling “rezuot” with a special hashgacha that it has nothing to do with the tziyonim, that the people making the retzuot never voted in israeli elections, and that never even were in the “medina” (the retzuot, not the makers).

    maybe we should produce similar “contra” products.

  53. Couldn’t the shabbos lamp folks just make a non-closable umbrella with some noticeable difference from regular umbrellas – or even printed in giant letters “SHABBOS UMBRELLA” or some such?

  54. Fotheringay-Phipps

    MM HY,

    I could be wrong about this, but ny understanding was that R’ Moshe Bick the BP posek who was adamantly opposed to the eruv is the same person who attended RIETS. Nonetheless, he was or became a member of the Chassidic world, and his children and grandchildren even more so.

    Your information about the SR is incorrect. He did not oppose the eruv out of deference to RMF, and in general it’s inconceivable that he would ever have done anything out of deference to RMF.

    It does appear though that he was opposed to the eruv primarily out of extra-halachic reasons. But not having anyrhing to do with RMF (or any other Litvishers).

  55. It’s not at all clear that the Satmar rebbe was opposed to the eruv:

    http://eruvonline.blogspot.co.uk/2006/06/part-1-truth-about-satmar-rebbe-and.html

  56. MiMedinat HaYam

    FP — he hads a cousin who definitely got smicha from RIETS, but subsequent events led to him being ostracized by the family (and YU would not have been proud of him, either.) see item 4 at http://seforim.blogspot.com/2012/03/megillat-sefer-translation-review-by.html (though the klausenberger dating story i heard attributed to the satmar rebbe.)

    i also heard he attended (?got smicha?) at riets, but didnt want to bring it up without further clarification. the yu alumni directory (http://yu.convio.net/site/Dir/1624807096?pg=srch&view=advanced) does not list either, though i dont think they list riets (and cardozo) alumni.

    2. if the SR did not defer to RMF (with whom he had nasty arguments with over assisted reproduction issues, among other issues, but that came later) he definitely defferred to agudat harrabonim, also a certified litvish organization (that refused to admit RIETS musmachim cause thet were not american born / yiddish spreakers, leading to formation of (eventually) RCA). though as J points out, he may have not been totally opposed. the SR rarely, if at all, came out with actual written psakim of the type that would ban eruvin. thus, a deferal would have been his type.

  57. MiMedinat HaYam

    should read “cause they were not european born”.

  58. What an astonishing article in what it omits. Not a word of Chief Rabbi Jakobowitz heter wih specific conditions. Not a single word of Rav Bernstein at Fifth Avenue Synagogue and later Hendon in London heter on use.

  59. No one is astonished because no one has any idea what R. Jakobowitz said or who Rav Bernstein was, much less what he said. The idea that since you know something, everyone else must, does not seem rational to me.

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