Whether the entire island of Manhattan can be enclosed by an eruv remains a controversial question. The issues are whether the eighteen bridges around the island that can transport in excess of 600,000 people to and fro are considered directly connected to the highways running through Manhattan, so as to render them mefulash and thereby make the island a reshut harabim. If they indeed do, then traffic transporting in excess of 600,000 people in one day through mefulash highways means the island cannot be enclosed by the unobtrusive device of tzurat hapetach, and the impractical device of gates capable of being closed at night would be required.

Many poskim, starting in 1949 with the Amshinover Rebbe, endorsed the enclosure of Manhattan by a tzurat hapetach eruv. Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, in a 1951 teshuvah concerning Manhattan addressed to Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Eisenstadt and in a 1981 teshuvah concerning Brooklyn, questions the halachic basis of such an eruv. Rav Feinstein’s main concern is that the access to and from Manhattan of numbers of people far in access of 600,000, through bridges that connect to the highways, renders Manhattan a reshut harabim. Some poskim of great stature disagree, however.

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Raphael Grunfeld received semicha in Yoreh Yoreh from Mesivtha Tifereth Jerusalem of America and in Yadin Yadin from Maran Hagaon Harav Dovid Feinstein, Shlitah. A partner at the Wall Street law firm of Carter Ledyard & Milburn LLP, where he specializes in cross-border mergers and acquisitions, Raphael is the author of “Ner Eyal, a Guide to Seder Nashim, Nezikin, Kodashim, Taharot and Zerayim” (2016) and “Ner Eyal, a Guide to the Laws of Shabbat and Festivals in Seder Moed” (2001), both of which are available for purchase at https://www.amazon.com/dp/057816731X Questions for the author can be sent to rafegrunfeld@gmail.com