Dec 3, 2006

vandalism for halachic reasons

My daughters kindergarten has been the subject of some debate between (some of) the parents and the administration. The parents want certain issues addressed, such as covering the sandbox at night so the cats do not sleep and poop where the kids will be playing and extra cover for more shade in the play area, along with some other issues. One more of those issues was the security of the grounds of the kindergarten. The gates are kept unlocked and open at nights.

The parents put together some sort of petition to be presented to the administration with a list of requests and concerns.

On Friday the school sent home with the kids a letter addressing the issues raised by the parents.

Much of the administrators resonse was reasonable and showed he is dealing with the concerns of the parents.

There was one response of his I take issue with. Regarding the issue of locking the gates at night and over the weekends. Now personally, I do not care if it is open or not. The gate is not one that would keep anybody out who is trying to get in and we live in a fairly sleepy neighborhood. I am not paranoid and while basic security measures must be adhered to, I am not someone who insists on extra in this realm.

However, his response to the concerns of the parents (many of whom do care about this issue I guess) irked me a bit.

He wrote (I do not have the paper in front of me so I am quoting (and translating to English) from memory): The front and back gate to the school grounds have been locked in the past. A number of times the lock was broken and replaced. One time the gate was broken in a way that could not be fixed (my comment: without having to replace the whole gate). It was then explained to me that this gate must be kept open in order for the eruv to be kosher for shabbos.

In other words the guys who check, fix and construct the eruv in the neighborhood (and it is referring to the "eruv mehudar", not the city mandated eruv) vandalised the gate and destroyed private property.

I do not know why this gate needs to be open for the eruv to work. I might even ask one of those guys. I would not care if they left it open. As a matter of fact, I personally gain from it being open, because I use those grounds as a shortcut to shul on Motzei Shabbat. But that is not the point.

These guys are vandals. They could just as easily have approached the administrator of the school and requested he keep the fence open. They could have worked with him to find a solution that would allow the gates to be closed and secure and still find a way to work in the eruv, maybe altering the route slightly. A solution could have been found. Or they could have not found a solution but asked/requested that the gate stay open. I am sure the administrator would have been more than willing to work with them to find a solution (I know he would, because he is not someone who would take a stand against the rabbi who heads that eruv).

Instead they preferred to take the initiative and do irreparable damage to private property so they would not be inconvenienced. And this is what they call the "Eruv Mehudar" that meets the strictest and highest standards of halacha.
I guess destroying private property is not one of the criteria to meet when deciding the standards of mehudar.


  1. Most of the RBS 'Mehadrin' Eruv has been constructed via trespassing, vandalism, hasagat gvul d'oraita and other Choshen Mishpat issues that most Chareidi organizations choose to pretend doesnt exist.

    Behold thy leaders Oh Israel.

    NOTE: I am required to post this message anonymously or otherwise chareidi bouncers will coem and destoy my property - the legislated punishment for exposing their corruption.

  2. if you were required to comment anonymously so as to protect your property, does that mean I am now in trouble?

  3. at least their vandalizing is not done to prevent the use of an eruv. i remember when the flatbush eruv was first erected and this was allegedly a problem.

    is there a reason the entire community where you live can't rely just on the mehudar eruv? why does there have to be 2? where i live in flatbush there are today 3 eruvin. either you hold by an eruv in flatbush or you don't. but why the duplication of efforts and waste of money for 3?

  4. Ari - there was a city mandated eruv (which by the way is also mehudar) well before there was a private "mehudar" eruv. At the time they built it with extra chumros, some of which are no longer adhered to because of the growth of the neighborhood making it too difficult.

    Basically the standard reason - what the first did is not good enough for the second person... everybody has to try to outfrum the other...

  5. Frankly, I find it hard to believe that people in charge of an Eiruv would do such a thing without consent. But in our world, who knows?

  6. Torah im Derekh Eretz, right? With such derekh eretz, what must the Torah be like?

  7. Ari - there was a city mandated eruv (which by the way is also mehudar)

    Yes and no. R' Spektor maintains two eruvim around RBS-A (although their borders are almost 100% overlapping). The regular eruv covers all of BS, RBS A, RBS B, and some surrounding areas. The Rabbanut's "Mehadrin" (not "mehudar") eruv surrounds a smaller, but still quite extensive area.

    R' Spektor, btw, is quite happy to receive questions about his eruv and the standards he uses.

    Re: anonymous -- is that you, R(B)E?

  8. hatam - the perversion of that is that Torah im derech eretz no longer applies and torah is clearly more important..

    mike - I took a tour of the eruv with Rav Spector about a year ago. I think it is only one eruv. Over the years they have improved it to the now level of mehadrin. I was not aware that there are two separate eruvs..

    independant - you would thinjk that. But it is not the case. This story of the ganim I only know about from this letter they sent home. I know no more details than what I quoted from the letter. I do know of other stories from the past years in which the constructers of the mehudar eruv impeded on private property and placed the poles in private property or destroyed private property in the process...

  9. See the map at (warning: IE only!)

    If that map is still accurate (and it looks quite similar to the one R' Spektor gave me in person a while back), then there are still two eruvim. (or more accurately, areas that are under his Mehadrin eruv, and areas only covered by the "kosher" eruv).

    I've heard from many people that the mehudar eruv workers are not always so careful about private property -- has anyone spoken to R' Perlstein (or someone like RHM's son) about this? IIRC, that will actual pasul an eruv...

  10. could be. A point I should make that I have not made is that Rav spector pointed out to me (and others on the tour) that the different parts of the eruv are self contained. Meaning if the eruv goes down in one place, a different part of the city still has it. A benefit of this is that the eruv is mehadrin in parts and not mehadrin in other parts (like in the industrial area if I remember correctly, or in the extensin to Yishi I think). SO the city eruv is mehadrin in rbs but still not mehadrin in certain other parts...

  11. i have a question for u. i remember learning in gemoro somewhere about doing a mitsva with stolen goods. like stealing an esrog in order to shake it. but i dont remember what the gemoros response is.... does the mitsva count or not?

    also, does this question apply to breking the gate? can vandalism fall under the category of stealing? if it isnt directly considered stealing, can stealing be considered a "toldah" of the vandalism, such as stealing time or the cost required for repairs?

    so, is the eruv a usable kosher eruv if it is made from stolen goods?

  12. Interesting discussion. So Who let the (cats)dogs out

  13. mike miller- by the way, I heard a little while ago that RMM (RHM's son) has disassociated himself from the mehudar eruv, due to their dropping a number of chumros (for practical reasons) that he felt were necessary to keep. I do not know if it is true but that is what I heard..

    meier - it does not always apply. it depends on the nature of the mitzva.

  14. could be... I don't use the mehudar eruv anyway.

    More precisely, I use the city mehadrin eruv, which generally means that I don't pay attention to the mehudar eruv.


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