Sunday, 5 January 2014

The iRov



I received your letter concerning the intention to install an eiruv in your city [Manchester] and you have explained numerous serious doubts about [the validity of] the eiruv. The rabbonim of here [London] who specialise in the rules of eiruv have also commented to me likewise and told me that there are grave doubts about the eiruv. Besides, supervising an eiruv is a very difficult task and involves large costs and certainly over time it will lead, God forbid, to the desecration of the Shabbos. It has been agreed by the gedoilim of the generation that one should not make an eiruv in large cities like yours and this was also the opinion of my father of blessed memory.

It is therefore your duty to do whatever you can that the [eiruv] should not come to fruition.

In the merit of observing the Shabbos may you be blessed with all good and God will be in your help and may you succeed in all your endeavours.

Your friend who seeks your peace

Moshe Chaim Ephraim Padwa

(Chief Rov of the London based Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations)

What’s worse than having a rov on your Rabbinate in your city allegedly molesting women who come to him for counselling? An eiruv in a city some 200 miles away of course and how silly of me to ask. This is the most pressing issue and requires meddling even in another community’s affairs especially when affairs in your own town are a wee bit complicated, to put it politely.

As a wise man quipped, rather wrestle female arms than wrestle with your own conscience. And if that means knotting yourself up in someone else’s rope it’s still preferable to being the only major Jewish community anywhere in the world that says no to an eiruv. It was after all King Solomon the Wise who instituted the eiruv so you should be able to figure out what it takes to annul it.

But let’s try to understand the murky politics behind this. An eiruv in Manchester will set a very dangerous precedent for us mugs without one and so two wrongs will make one right as they’re wont to do in these parts. The loonies in London and in Manchester have joined a common cause and before not too long they may even institute arm wrestling sessions north of the M1. At Brackmans, the Ladies-who-Lunch must be sick in anticipation. Not to worry lasses, without an eiruv it’s no strings attached.

What however is most interesting is Rabbi Padwa’s newfound concern for matters financial. The apparently astronomical cost of supervising an eiruv is of course unique to the UK and against which hiring a stadium to prevent you reading this very blog post is a mere pittance. This penny pinching may well be connected to the dependency of his community on a whole range of benefits which, unless the powers that march on Westminster on our behalf get their way, may be drastically cut if they haven’t been already.

So let us applaud our dear Rov for his immense bravery and courage and let us hope others will follow his lead and give him and his ilk a taste of their own medicine. Let us get rabbis from Bnei Berak to Brooklyn, from Jerusalem to Johannesburg to proclaim loud and clear why London, Manchester and any other city are not just fit for an eiruv but that it is a mitzvah to install one and the sooner we get one the better. And while they’re at it, they may also wish, as a footnote, to voice an opinion on posing for a photo-op with suspects while under police investigation.


John said...

Padwa has apparently reached heights of self-regard that are unfathomable to mere mortals.

When people tried to build an eruv in his backyard a few years ago, he was livid, and saw it as a personal insult. But when Mancunians, with all necessary permission from their local rabbinic authorities, and with the guidance of the world's greatest experts, do something that has nothing whatsoever to do with him, he tells whoever is daft enough to pay attention that there is an obligation to sabotage the project. And all this after the eruv backers have already invested tens of years and hundreds of thousands of pounds in the project.

It's not simply abuse victims that this pitiful excuse for a man (never mind the rov of a twenty thousand-strong kehillah) acts disgracefully towards. It is the very concept of basic decency that he manages to defile with his every written word.

Imbecility, thy name is Padwa.

Kazuhide Uekusa said...

Does anyone care what this clown thinks?

Reductio ad delo yoda said...

"supervising shechita is a very difficult task and involves large costs and certainly over time it will lead, God forbid, to the desecration of kashrus"

IfYouTickleUs said...

Reductio, that is what we called in yeshiva a non sequitur. If Keddasia could monetise an eiruv as they do the meat they'd be its biggest cheerleaders (in longer skirts, of course).

paddy has lost his marbles said...

The guy is crazy,

Anonymous said...

Letter is undated?

Anonymous said...

All the easier to retract my dear...

sh educated said...

You all ain't seen nuthin' yet.

There's one in a similar vein printed on R' Chaim Halpern's heading (really, I kid you not)signed by him, R' Zev Feldman and Rav Wosner of Satmer (who also describes himself as an Av Beis Din).

SolMenKummenZumSechel said...

it's a standard "Chareidi" psak: instead of looking for an easier way for us poor mortals to spend shabbos, the Rabbonim will look for a way to punch holes in the eiruv as we are all "baalei Nefesh" and should be Machmir. Unfortunately in Manchester not one charedi Rov had the guts to say: the Eiruv is 100% Kosher, full stop! they are all scared, which, in my opinion shows ignorance of the law, hence better to say NO!. The world experts were involved in making it with all possible chumros, but our so called Rabonim seam to know better and look for ways to asser it... once big rabonim were carrying in "Dodgy" eiruvim in order not to shame the talmid chochom who built it... nowdays is the opposite! they will look for ways to shame the rov who made it and asser the Eiruv... The former chief Rabbi did say that the Chareidim are losing touch with reality... I think I can see more and more where he was coming from.

stamford hiller said...


It already has.
Seems you don't know some of the things that have been done for money by that organisation.

Anonymous said...

Where is the signature? Any idiot could print this letter. Also according to dayan westheim of Manchester rav padwa father said to make an eruv in Manchester is fine. Listen to the drosho in the torah way website on last motzoei shabbos that reb osher spoke about the eruv.

Gavriel said...

The anti-eruv letters up in Manchester (from rabbis Padwa, Silbiger and Kauffman) are truly pathetic. Instead of showing their hands and stating what their objections are, they refer to mysterious chashoshos, sfeikos and michsholim. Say what you like about the UOHC, but at least they published a kuntres (along with numerous other letters from individal rabbonim, including one addressed to R. Kimche from R. M Halpern) detailing their objections to eruvin in London. These letters, on the other hand, appeal to the basest of frum emotions - the desire to outdo the other in observance simply to massage a superiority complex. I hope they end up in the rubbish where they belong. Manchester eruv antis - put up or shut up.

Anonymous said...

In fairness to Rabbi P, he is clearly writing in response to an individual asking him a Shaalah. He is entitled to express his own views about eruv to such an individual. He has not put out a 'Gilui Daas' or 'Kol Korei' about the matter. The fact that many will not agree with his views does not alter the fact that he can answer a personal shaalah in a way that his conscience dictates.

Alan said...

Anonymous - no he's not at all entitled to tell people to sabotage it. 'Conscience' is not a word any thinking person would associate with Ephraim Padwa.

stamford hill disillusioned said...

Alan. No, you are wrong. He is perfectly entitled to state his opinion privately. There are plenty of instances where great men privately expressed to those they (thought they) could trust their true opinions but for a variety of reasons could not do so in public.

You may be familiar with the episode where Sir Humphrey is interviewed by the BBC about unemployment and when the interview is finished he thinks the tape recorder is switched off he says what we all know to be true but can't be said in public. You will also remember that it is Jim Hacker who rescues him by using his influence (corruptly) to recover the tape. You can see the comparisons.

You are also wrong about Rabbi Padwa. He is an honourable man, an erliche yid and yerei shomayim and a considerable talmud chacham. His problem is that he is weak and indecisive and appears not to have a mind of his own. This disqualifies from being a senior Rov and it is agreed by almost all that he has made a right hash of it. UOHC/Keddassia etc. have never been held in as low esteem as they have become under his (nominal) stewardship. And rightly so.

I assure you from personal knowledge that he does have a conscience but the pressures on him are too great for him. If he had any strength of character he would resign now.

Sholom said...

I see the renowned "eruvonline" blogger has made note of recent developments in Manchester:

Perhaps if we're lucky we'll see a repeat of the exciting discussions of a few years ago, when he took MD Spiro (the guy who used to maintain an anti NW London eruv website) to pieces.

Let's hope some of the Manchester antis have internet access (or are they all the 'baalei nefesh' that Dayan Westheim imagines them to be?).

Alan said...

Disillusioned - Nonsense. The fact is that he is directing people to sabotage a project that has nothing to do with him. Historically, halachic shaalos were left to the rabbonim of the town. The very fact that he quotes his home grown eruv experts, whose knowledge amounts to next to nothing when compared with the mumchim brought in to construct the eruv in Manchester just goes to show how disingenuous he is.

When you are a leader, refusing to do the right thing means that your character is deficient. If he had a conscience, he would resign. He was not in a difficult situation whatsoever - he made his own bed.

stamford hill disillusioned said...

He is not directing people. He is replying privately to a private individual who asked his opnion. The shoi'el, like you and me, may ask his shaalos from whomsoever he wishes.

I entirely agree with your second paragraph except for one thing. He is not, never has been and never will be a leader. The best he can ever be is a helpless puppet on a string.

And BTW, he has no eruv experts. There are none associated with the UOHC.

Eli said...

Disillusioned - surely his character wasn't entirely unknown in his half century of existence prior to being the Moro Disaster. Why was he picked?

disillusioned said...

1) His character was more or less unknown. Until his appointment he was Rosh Kollel Skver and a minor UOHC dayan. Hardly positions subject to serious and public character analysis.
2) The "powers that be" had not made any preperations for a R' Henoch replacement. He was "crowned" at the levayo. Announced by the unelected and self-appointed "Rosh Hakohol" R' Dovid Frand. Rather an impulse decision. The was, at that time, no other viable candidate.
3) UOHC is not a kehillo in the accepted sense. It is a rather loose umbrella organisation in which completely independent shuls have chosen to "shelter" under. It has no jurisdiction on any of the shuls on its list.
It is also run entirely as a private, profit-motivated company. UOHC does not have members or elections etc. Also it does not provide a single service for the community and since it is not really a kehilla he is not really the Rav of the (hypothetical) kehilla and certainly not Moroh De'asra (master of the place).

Yawn.... said...

Anonymous said...

Meir says
First of all the Manchester eruv is the most kosher large eruv in the world. More than the Jerusalem Eida hachareidis one. They are even using all the chumras of the Chazon Ish which the Israeli experts hadnt envisaged since in Israel they dont keep his chumras. Manchester has something to be proud of.
The rabbonim who have been mentioned on this blog who are against it are all am haaratsim in dinei eruv and perhaps most other things as well.
The two rabbonim from Israel apart from their vast experience have written tens of seforim on the masechta. All very thick volumes. If they have halachic problems with it let them state them. But no, they cant do that since they have no idea of halacha.
The Manchester eruv committee have agreed to answer through their rabbonim any shaalos that one may have about them.
One of the London rabbonim who wrote to them against the eruv received a long halachic reply but didnt carry on the correspondence (most likely he never understood it).
Their are many reasons why an eruv is necessary.
For a start wearing tsitsis in the street isnt accepted by everyone. The same with wearing a gartel or todays plastic rain hats.
Women wearing jewellery. or 'nidda' clothing and of course their rain attire.
The 'fleet' of wheelchairs 'running' round London on shabbos is also far from satisfactory halacha wise.

These rabbonim are rather prepared to see chillul shabbos of which I have mentioned many instances, rather than keep the halacha and agree that the eurv is really first class.

moses sarf said...

dear sir the guys from satmar are fighting the eiruv for political reasons they hired daniel orzel to fight it they forced with money shneebalg to sign a letter against the eiruv they went to r tuvia weis who is the rov of satmar in jerusalem (calling himself gaavd)to go against it an they paid padwa to go against it as he wrote you must see this eruv should not go through anybody with some sense should go to the police and show them that this guys paid out efraim padwa money to wright a letter to break the eruv he thinks he is in st. maria romania

Anonymous said...

The admittedly high cost of kashrut is financed by the consumers. In Stamford Hill Kedassia has an absolute monopoly of kosher meat accounting for the extortionally high prices. If they could charge for eruv use we would have had one a long time ago.

yankel said...

The main thing is the thickness of the seforim of the mattirim of the eiruv. Maybe you just generally have to be thick.
Now, I have no information about the kashrus of the eiruv, but foolish proofs like that could send me one way.

Anonymous said...

From Meir
To yankel. What rubbish you write. If someone from Israel can write thick volumes on a subject and the London dayanim cant even understand it, never mind write anything about it whom do you trust?
You may have no information but I do. The eruv is 100% kosher and the Jerusalem Gaavad has been forbidden by his 'minders' to write against it because that would disqualify his own eiruv as well. The Toronto rov who is considered in Lakewood the biggest in America has also said the Manchester eruv is better than his own.
For your information at the moment the chareidi community are making a pshoro to satisfy everyone and not including Bury New road and everyone will now be carrying there.

Alan Partridge said...

I check the Edgware eruv which is pretty frum. I was in Manchester over Pesach and noticed a whole bunch of things about the Manchester eruv which makes it even frummer. Some are totally ridiculous eg a tzurat hapetach over a gate which I have never seen opened ever?

Some people are too frum to be Jewish in my view