An eruv allows Jews to carry within a semi-public space on Shabbat. The space must be bounded by walls and must meet several detailed requirements. The eruv must consist of food for a meal for the community that shares that semi-public space.
Most cities or towns that have an eruv use matzah for their eruvs - it's cheap, it never goes bad (well, it never goes worse) and you can eat it all year (just make sure to replace it on Passover). But there is one time you cannot eat matzah - erev Pesach.
If erev Pesach falls on Shabbos, how can a community sustain its eruv with matzah (even matzah for that year)?
I once asked a very knowledgeable rabbi this, but I found the answer unsatisfying. He said this:
- If you made an eruv of a meal for Friday night and it is eaten fully, the eruv remains valid. If you made an eruv of a meal for Friday night and it is not eaten but spoils, the eruv remains valid since it was edible at some point.
- You can technically eat matzah during bein hashmashot - after Shabbos starts, and before the d'oraita ban on matzah starts.
- You can therefore make a meal of matzah during bein hashmashot
- Since the matzah is edible for that meal (you know - the one we intend to eat when we start shabbos so early that we're home from shul, make kiddush, wash, and eat fully by twilight?), it's fine.
I am dissatisfied by this because that meal does not actually exist. I am also dissatisfied because it relies on two definitions of "night" in order to work. It feels strategic rather than genuine.
Is there a better answer as to why using matzah for an eruv on erev Pesach is valid?