Allowing Carrying Using an Eruv Chatzerot

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To permit carrying in a courtyard, community, or town on Shabbos, an eruv chatzerot is necessary. The eruv consists of 3 parts: 1) Walls or halachic partitions surrounding the desired area, 2) Renting access from the non-Jewish residents, and 3) A communally owned deposit of food. This article describes how to practically set up your very own Eruv Chatzerot in order to allow carrying on Shabbat in your area. For rabbis there is an obligation to set up an eruv in the community to allow to carry and avoid a violation of Shabbat.[1]

The Walls or Halachic Partitions

  1. As long an area can be determined not to be a public domain on a biblical level, an eruv using tzurot hapetach, entranceways made with two polls and a lintel as thin as a string on top, suffice.[2]
  2. See Rav Hershel Schachter's article on Introduction to the Modern Eruv and the Hotzah page for details about how to create the tzurat hapetach and the definitions of the 4 halachic domains.

Renting access from non-Jews

  1. In order to create an eruv to permit carrying it is necessary to rent the area of the non-Jewish residents as long as there are 2 or more Jews in the area.[3]
  2. It is possible to rent a non-Jew's area for the purposes of eruv chatzerot by renting it from his worker.[4]
    1. For example, in an apartment building it is sufficient to go to the superintendent to pay a nominal amount in order to rent the hallways and lobby of the building. This, with the other conditions of an eruv chatzerot, would permit carrying from the Jewish apartments into the hallways and lobby but not into the non-Jew or non-religious Jew's apartment.[5]
    2. For example, in a city-wide eruv, it is possible to rent the streets and public domains for religious purposes from the town mayor. This, with the other conditions of an eruv chatzerot, would permit carrying from the Jewish houses into the street and public domains.[6]

Communally Owned Food

  1. The purpose of the jointly owned food is to indicate that it is as though everyone who owns a share of the food was living in one area.[7] In order to create a community eruv food of the size of 6 or 8 Kebaytzim suffices.[8] Traditionally people use a box of Matzahs since that lasts a very long time.[9]
  2. The food should be given as a gift to the entire community with the following procedure:
    1. The box of matzahs should be handed to a Jewish adult to whom the giver is unrelated[10] in order that the recipient acquire it on behalf of the Jews living in the community, including those who will move into the community from that point until the next Pesach.[11]
    2. The recipient should raise the box of matzahs a Tefach.[12]
    3. After handing the box of matzahs to the recipient on behalf of the community, the giver who is creating the eruv should take the matzahs and recite the bracha of 'Asher Kideshanu B'mitzvotav V'tzivanu Al Mitzvat Eruv' is recited[13], however, this is only if one is certain that one absolutely needs an eruv chatzerot.
    4. Then he should stipulate that the box of matzah should serve as the eruv in order to permit carrying in that particular domain, with the following language: בהדין עירובא יהא שרי לנא לאפוקי ולעיולי מן הבתים לחצר ומן החצר לבתים ומבית לבית לכל ישראל הדרים בבתים שבחצר הזה.[14]
    5. It is necessary to repeat this process each pesach and should be recreated the Shabbat during Pesach.[15]
  3. The food must be accessible on Shabbat to the Jewish people for whom the eruv serves.[16] According to Ashkenazim, it is common to place the eruv in the shul[17], however, according to Sephardim it should be placed in a person's house.[18]
    1. For example, in an apartment building it is should be known that the box of matzahs are stored in a certain apartment and when that person is away for shabbat, it should still be accessible such as by leaving the key with another tenant in the building.[19] Some poskim hold that if the building is inside of a communal eruv, which has communal food such as matzah, the building eruv can rely upon the communal food of the communal eruv.[20]
  4. If the food is eaten in the middle of Shabbat, it is still permitted to carry for that Shabbat, but the food must be replaced for the next Shabbat.[21]

Carrying within a Building

  1. If a person lives in an apartment building with other Jews, an eruv chatzerot is necessary in order to carry within the building on Shabbat.[22] Some say that if there is an eruv in town one doesn't need a specific eruv chatzerot for the building even if one doesn't hold of the eruv.[23]
  2. Some say that if students live in a dorm with other Jewish students and everyone eats together in the cafeteria, an eruv chatzerot isn't necessary in order to carry in the dorms on Shabbat.[24]
  3. If a person visits a hotel for a Shabbat, some say that an eruv chatzerot isn't necessary in order to carry in the hotel on Shabbat, while others require it.[25]


  1. Rosh quoted in S”A, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 94:1
  2. Rav Hershel Schacter in "Introduction to the Modern Eruv"
  3. Shulchan Aruch O.C. 382:1
  4. Shulchan Aruch O.C 382:11
  5. Rav Hershel Schachter ("Eiruvei Chatzeiros" min 10-20) explains that it suffices to say to the non-Jew that he is only renting it for religious purposes, since that is considered sechirut reuha. Additionally, if one were to rent the actual area where the non-Jews live then it is considered as though the entire area is under one domain and one may carry everywhere. However, where that's impossible it is possible to rent the area where the non-Jew has access, such as the public domain or the hallways of an apartment building, and then it would be permitted to carry from one's house into those public areas but not into the non-Jew's house. The same applies to a Jew who isn't careful about observing Shabbat publicly. Lastly, the superintendent is considered as though he is the worker who has access to the public domains of the building and can rent out those area. Therefore, in order to create an eruv chetzerot in an apartment building it is possible to make an oral transaction in which one rents the lobby and hallways from the superintendent for religious purposes.
  6. Rav Hershel Schachter ("Eiruvei Chatzeiros" min 20-27) explains that classically the town mayor or chief of police had access to everyone's houses and as such it is possible to rent from the mayor the entire town. However, in America, the mayor doesn't have such rights but still it is possible to rent from the mayor the streets and public domains. However, this rental wouldn't help with the apartment buildings since the mayor doesn't have rights to the inside of the apartment building.
  7. Gemara Eruvin 49a, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 94:6
  8. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 94:8
  9. Rama 368:5. Rav Hershel Schachter ("Eiruvei Chatzeiros," min 2-4) on explains that a box of matzah is traditionally used for the eruv chatzerot and it works even for Sephardim who would make mezonot since it can be hamotzei if eaten as a meal. Rav Hershel Schachter ("Eiruvei Chatzeiros," min 8-9) on states that one box of matzahs probably has 8 Kebaytzim but if you think that's not enough then have 2 boxes of matzah.
  10. Mishna Eruvin 79b, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 94:7
  11. Tosfot Eruvin says that a guest who isn't living in a community for more than 30 days doesn’t need to participate in the shituf eruv for the chatzerot.
  12. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 94:6
  13. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 94:6
  14. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 94:6
  15. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 94:11
  16. Shulchan Aruch 394:2, Chaye Adam 72:9, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 94:10
  17. Rama 366:3, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 94:24
  18. Eruv KeHilchato (Rabbi Avraham Ades, p. 164)
  19. Rav Hershel Schachter ("Eiruvei Chatzeiros," min 3-4) on
  20. Or Letzion 2:23:13
  21. Mishna Brurah 368:16
  22. Eruv KeHilchato (Rabbi Avraham Ades, p. 149)
  23. Or Letzion 2:23:13
  24. Avnei Yishfeh O.C. 5:73 holds that if all of the students eat together in the cafeteria there's no need for an eruv chatzerot. Rav Hershel Schachter ("Eiruvei Chatzeiros," min 35-40) says that Rav Soloveitchik held that the students in the dormitory in Yeshiva University should make an eruv chatzeirot, however, the general assumption is like Rav Moshe and there's no need for an eruv chatzeirot.
  25. Rav Tzvi Goldberg on writes that Igros Moshe 1:141 permits carrying without an eruv chatzeiros in a hotel, while the Dvar Avraham 3:30 argues. For a short summary of the topic see Rabbi Eisenstein's shiur on Rav Hershel Schachter ("Eiruvei Chatzeiros," min 34-39) explained that the consensus is that since all of the food for the hotel comes from the same kitchen there's no need for an eruv chatzerot; additionally, since the hotel can leave heavy furniture in the rooms that indicates that really everyone is guests by the hotel owner and there's no need for an eruv chatzerot.