Friday, December 02, 2005

Renting from an employee — Eruvin 64a

Renting from an employee — Eruvin 64a

תלמוד בבלי מסכת עירובין דף סד/א

ואמר רב יהודה אמר שמואל אפילו שכירו ואפילו לקיטו נותן עירובו ודיו

From The Contemporary Eruv:

Where sechiras reshus must be done on a public area such as a street, one goes to a person that can control access to the street and contracts the sechiras reshus from that person, his agent, or his employee. A prevalent practice is to contract the sechiras reshus from the police who have the authority to manipulate traffic on the streets. It is preferable to go to a commissioner or another high ranking official who has actual jurisdiction over the streets in question. One may, however, also approach a regular officer - who falls into the category of an agent or employee of the higher official.1 I have heard in the past of eruv committees contracting sechiras reshus from officials such as the Borough Presidents of New York City.2 Some rabbinic authorities have questioned this practice, since these officials may not be empowered to authorize street closings.

1Shulchan Aruch 391:1; Chazon Ish 82:9. The Chazon Ish writes that the logic behind this Halacha is not that the municipal authorities are akin to landlords. Rather, their authority to control the areas in question is similar to tefisas yad. They are therefore, in effect, the agents and employees of whoever the true halachic owner might be - here, the citizenry of the city (a similar rationale is advanced by the Tikvas Zecharia.)

2See Nesivos Shabbos 37:27, note 93. In Israel it is preferable to contract the sechiras reshus with a police officer, who represents a national level of authority, than from the mayor, who represents only a municipal level of authority. The Nesivos Shabbos also notes that certain areas, such as embassies of foreign nations, are not subject to any form of the host country's jurisdiction. Therefore, no umbrella sechiras reshus will be effective for these areas. See also Mishna Berura 391:18 and Hilchos Eruvin 8:21 note 208, that renting from the police is preferable to renting from the army.

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