Latest update: May 17th, 2013
When each family eats alone, sharing a common supply of food, they are not considered one collective group. Nevertheless, the food supply takes the place of an eruv to unite them and permit them to carry into the courtyard (Eruvin 71a). In this case, there is need for an eruv, but the common food supply serves that function. This is often the case in hospitals, where patients eat alone in their rooms from food prepared in a common kitchen. Since an eruv is necessary, however, if a gentile or Jewish apostate is staying in the hospital, it is forbidden to carry from private rooms into the public corridors, since they render the eruv invalid (Nesivos Shabbos by Rabbi Blau 31:15).
About the Author: RABBI YAAKOV KLASS, rav of Congregation K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush, Brooklyn, is Torah Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. RABBI GERSHON TANNENBAUM, rav of Congregation Bnai Israel of Linden Heights, Boro Park, Brooklyn, is the Director of Igud HaRabbanim – The Rabbinical Alliance of America.
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