Shabbos When the Eruv is Down

Dear Community,

The following offer some guidance for dealing with some common issues that come up in the absence of a functioning eruv :

Items that you should not carry outside of you home include:

Siddurim: Shuls generally have them, so no need to carry them . 

Talliesim:  Wearing a tallis under one's coat--wrapped around one's neck and mid-section like an actual garment--is one way of transporting a tallit to shul.

Food for Shabbos meals:  In light of the eruv's status this Shabbos, guests and hosts may want to coordinate about bringing all food and drinks needed at someone else's apartment so that all necessary transfers can take place before Shabbos starts.

Keys:  There are a number of ways to address the issue of house/apartment keys on Shabbos in the absence of an eruv.  Assuming there is no way to rotate housemates staying at home and going out and one does not feel comfortable leaving the apartment unlocked, the best strategy is to find a secure place to leave a key in the enclosed portion of one's building.  This can be anywhere inside the internal stucture: with a doorman, in a secret hiding place, etc.  Another strategy is to turn it into a functional piece of one's clothing.  For instance, instead of wearing a belt, one can use a piece of elastic or string that using the key as a kind of clasp or buckle and thread this through pant loops in place of a belt. 

Children:  All other things being equal, the best way to address the concern of transporting small children from one's home to shul without an eruv is for parents to switch off going to staggered minyanim over Shabbos and keep children who cannot walk on their own.

Life threatening issues; Carrying permitted for life/limb threatening situations.

Carrying permitted for individuals who need medical attention without which a person’s functionality is compromised, (even for a bed-ridden headache). In this case carrying should be done, only if possible, in an irregular fashion (i.e. carrying medicine in ones belt or shoe).

Carrying permitted to allow a baby, infirm seniors or a child traumatized by the event to function without compromise. In this case carrying should be done, if possible, in a irregular fashion (i.e. two people carrying or wheeling the stroller/person.)

Hotel Carrying – An Eruv Chatzeiros might be necessary to permit carrying within the hotel premises (e.g. from a room to an enclosed hallway) on Shabbos. One should check with his Rav. However, if there is only one Jew or Jewish family among the hotel guests, an Eruv Chatzeiros is not needed. A motel is usually comprised of rooms that open up to the outdoors. Since there is no proper enclosure, one may not carry outside of his room.

One important addition:

For those who live in apartment buildings, the community eruv of shared food (done with a box of matzah in one of the synagogues) is not functional when the larger boundary enclosing it is down.  Therefore, in order to consider the entire building one domain for Shabbos purposes, one needs to do a symbolic pooling of food.  This is done by taking some bread and handing it to another observant Jew in one's building with the intention of thereby benefitting all others who live in the building.  Before doing this transfer, one should say:

ברוך אתה ה' אלקינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו על מצות עירוב