Frequently Asked Questions
- What is an Eruv?
- Eruv guidelines
- The Eruv and the Makom Tefilla
We should emphasise that guidance from each person's Rabbi should be sought
regarding the Halachos of the Eruv and the other Halachic implications discussed
1. What is an Eruv?
The Torah permits carrying within an enclosed area on Shabbos and Yom
Kippur. Such an enclosed area may vary in size from a small home to an entire
community. The Talmud specifies both the definitions of an enclosure and
how to render an entire area a single domain. These conditions have been
met in order to create the Manchester Community Eruv, and it will therefore be permissible,
within the area described below and according to the conditions detailed
below, to carry on Shabbos and Yom Kippur.
At the same time, it continues to be the
responsibility of parents to teach their children the Halachos (rules) and
restrictions of carrying on Shabbos. It is only because of the Eruv that
we are allowed to carry within the area contained in the Eruv. Everyone,
including children, should be aware of the proper Halachic behaviour in areas
where there is no Eruv.
2. Eruv Guidelines
A source for community
The Eruv will be helpful to families with young children
and to individuals who are unable to walk, as carriages, pushchairs and wheelchairs
may be wheeled within the area of an Eruv. Others will find it convenient
to bring a Tallis or Siddur to Shul, or a Sefer to a class or Shiur, or to
carry glasses, house keys or other permitted items necessary for Shabbos.
note that items required for use after Shabbos may not be carried on Shabbos.
Any item that is Muktzah including an umbrella even if opened before Shabbos
may not be carried on Shabbos. Questions regarding the assembly of baby carriages
should be addressed to each person's Rabbi.
It is the obligation of each individual
who wishes to use the Eruv to ascertain, every Friday, that the Eruv is indeed
functional. It is not adequate for one to assume that the Eruv is functional
if there have been no storms or major adverse weather conditions during the
previous week. Many factors can invalidate an Eruv, and only specific authoritative
confirmation on Friday validates the Eruv for use each week.
The limits of Eruv enhancement
The purpose of the Eruv is the enhancement of Shabbos observance, not its
diminution. Therefore, the existence of the Eruv should not be considered
a dispensation to enter places not consistent with maintaining the sanctity
and spiritual character of Shabbos. Whether a community does or does not
have an Eruv, one may not enter the following on Shabbos: business establishments,
stores, offices, places of entertainment (cinemas, etc. - even if payment
has been made in advance) and libraries. The following activities are never
permitted on Shabbos:
- Athletic activities e.g. bicycle riding, tennis, swimming,
skating, ball playing
- Watering the lawn, gardening, picking flowers and fruits, etc.
- Playing with
water, playing in a sprinkler, playing in a sandpit
- Putting rubbish out for collection,
- Bringing gifts to hosts on Shabbos or Yom Tov
Even within the Eruv there are a number of common articles which, because
they are classified as Muktzah, may not be carried or handled on Shabbos
at home. Following is a partial catalogue of Muktzah items.
- Any item whose main use is prohibited on the Shabbos, e.g. hammer,
writing implement, wallet, purse, notepad, etc.
- Any item which is neither food
nor a utensil that has a practical use on the Shabbos, e.g. money,
animal, stone, credit card, etc.
- Any item so valuable that one expends extra care for its safety, e.g.
passport, cheque, expensive painting, merchandise set aside for sale, etc.
- Any item
attached to its source of growth at the onset of Shabbos but which
fell from its source of growth during Shabbos, e.g. fruit which fell from a tree.
- Any item which cannot be used
on Shabbos or whose intended use is for after Shabbos, e.g. car key
or office key.
- An umbrella may not be carried even if opened before Shabbos or
- Gardening equipment, tools, athletic equipment.
All questions regarding Muktzah should be addressed to each person's Rabbi.
The Eruv may become temporarily invalid
In order to assure that no joyous event be marred by disappointment or,
G-d forbid, inadvertent transgression of Hilchos Shabbos, no Kiddush, Bar
Mitzvah, Aufruf or other Shabbos affair should be planned with the assumption
that the Eruv will be operational, as last minute storms, construction, etc.
could render the Eruv invalid. Therefore, since events must be planned far
in advance, all celebrations should be planned as if there were no Eruv. Food
should be brought to the location of a Simchah before Shabbos, a copy of a
Bar/Bat Mitzvah boy/girl's D'rashah should be brought to Shul before Shabbos,
Weekly Eruv Inspection
The Eruv will be inspected every Friday morning and again just before Shabbos,
to ensure that it is intact. Every Friday afternoon, we will notify the community
of the Eruv status in the following ways:
- the status will be posted on the Eruv website - www.manchestereruv.org.uk
- we will send a text message and/or email to those who subscribe to the service.
- there will be an automated phone service available on 0161 883 1333 to provide the status of the Eruv.
In case of a major storm beginning anytime after notification the Eruv
should be presumed to be non-operational. Heavy rains, wind, snow, or other
weather conditions can frequently invalidate an Eruv. To eliminate the chance
of inappropriate reliance on a damaged Eruv, it is best to assume that the
Eruv is invalid in the aftermath of any storm.
Multiple dwellings (e.g. two or three family houses, apartment houses,
etc.) should have an additional Eruv Hatzairos (merging of courtyards),
made without a Brachah, in order to permit carrying from apartment to apartment
if the community Eruv fails. An Eruv Hatzairos is appropriate in a courtyard,
hall or staircase that is shared by the residents of a two or three family
house, block of flats, or apartment house because it is forbidden to carry
from the private dwellings into the shared area on Shabbos or Yom Kippur.
The Eruv Hatzairos is a procedure whereby all the dwellings opening into
the shared area are considered as owned by a single consortium. Guidance
and assistance in establishing this type of Eruv is available from each
Because of the complexity of the laws of Eruvin, no one should take it
upon themselves to extend the Eruv, or attach wires or any other addition
to the Eruv. The Eruv constitutes a closed and complete entity in and of
3. The Eruv and the Makom Tefillah (Place of Prayer)
The entire community benefits
with the introduction of an Eruv. Shabbos social life is enhanced and more
people are able to come to Shul to Daven and to learn Torah. Each community
will be guided by its own Halachic Authority in response to these new challenges.
It is most important that the sanctity and dignity of every Makom Tefillah
(place of prayer), whether a Bais HaMedrash or the main sanctuary of a Synagogue,
be properly maintained.
With the establishment
of our Eruv, an issue of much younger children attending and disturbing
services is a concern. We need to deal with this bearing in mind two considerations:
firstly, the outlook of our Messora or heritage on bringing children to Shul,
and secondly, the avoidance of disruptions to decorum of Tefillah Be'Tzibur
Despite the cherished place children enjoy in Jewish communal worship,
there is no license to restructure our synagogues as indoor playgrounds
for the young. On the contrary, the Mogen Avrohom in his commentary on
the Shulchan Aruch mentions: "And one must train them (the young)
that they stand (in Shul) with awe and respect. And as for those that run
back and forth in the Synagogue in levity, it is better not to bring them." The
decorum of the services must not be challenged by the young.
Undisciplined children also create problems for themselves in Shul. Permitting
youngsters to roam freely and cause disturbances reinforces negative habits
which may remain throughout their life.
If children in Shul are at their parent's side the parent can
properly supervise them and monitor their spiritual development. To tax children
unfairly by demanding discipline from them beyond their ability is also unwise.
Many parents may consider bringing their youngsters to the synagogue near
the end of services, and gradually lengthen the time as their attention span
It is critically important to instil in one's children a sense of
reverence and respect to the Synagogue and never allow them to disturb
the decorum and sanctity of the Tefillah Be'Tzibur.
The following suggestions will hopefully maximise the benefits of the
Eruv to the community as a whole.
- Young children can be disruptive and only children who are able to sit
quietly with appropriate respect for the Makom Tefillah
should be present. For those children who benefit from some part of davening,
children's and toddler's services are often available.
- Children of any age remain the responsibility of their parents to be
supervised and looked after at all times.
- Children who are brought after davening for the Kiddush or D'var Torah
should be under their parents' supervision and responsibility at all
Furthermore, everyone should be aware that the following are not appropriate
in a Makom Tefillah:
- Changing of nappies
- Permitting a child with soiled nappies to remain
- Permitting a noisy/crying
child to remain (the child should be carried from the Makom Tefillah
even during the private Sh'moneh Esrai)
- Bringing carriages or pushchairs into the Makom Tefillah