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The g'mara on Eiruvin 82b explains that a man can make an eiruv for his minor children and Canaanite slaves without their consent, but for adult children, his wife, and Hebrew slaves they must consent. A wife can "not consent", it says, by making her own eiruv. (This makes me wonder what could be going on in the household to lead to that, but that's not my question.)

So a woman can make an eiruv for herself at least, and a man can make one for his household, including his minor children. Can a woman who has no husband make an eiruv for her minor children, or does she need to find a man to do this for her? I'm asking about her ability to make the eiruv, not about consent.

Is the answer different depending on why she has no husband (widow versus divorced versus unmarried mother)? If she can't make an eiruv for her children, who can?

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You mean: can she make an eiruv for them without their consent or at all? –  Double AA May 30 '13 at 20:31
    
@DoubleAA at all. I'm wondering if the principle is "parent can act on behalf of minors" or "a man needs to do it". (Then, if she can, questions about consent become relevant.) –  Monica Cellio May 30 '13 at 20:34
    
So your question is about her making an eruv for her minor children but also for anyone who wants her to do it for them? –  Double AA May 30 '13 at 20:38
    
@DoubleAA, what motivated the question was: (a) a man can make on behalf of minors; (b) a woman can make; (c) it doesn't actually say a woman can make on behalf of minors -- can she? It's not at all clear to me whether she can or whether she (or the children) need to go find a man to do it. (Should I spell that out more in the question?) I hadn't really thought about the case of others asking her to do it. I understand that a woman can't be an agent for a mitzvah for an adult man; is my understanding incorrect? (So we're down to children and Canaanite slaves.) –  Monica Cellio May 30 '13 at 20:41
    
Ahh. I at least read your question as one of does a single mom have the same special parental rights of the dad in regards making eruvin for the children. If you are asking about women making eruvin on other's behalf with their consent you should IMO clarify or perhaps even ask it separately and clarify this to be the other way; I don't want to invalidate Shalom's answer and I suspect he read your question like me. (btw I don't see why a women would be different from a man regarding making an eruv for anyone given their consent to do so.) –  Double AA May 30 '13 at 20:45

1 Answer 1

We're discussing making an eruv techum. That type says "my home vis-a-vis where I can walk on shabbos isn't here, it's some place east of here where I dropped off some matza." That gives you plenty of walking space to the east, but then limits your walking distance to the west more so than had you made no eruv. As making such an eruv limits you in some ways, you can only make an eruv for someone with their consent (unless they're a minor and thus incapable of granting consent). We assume a wife consents unless we hear otherwise.

Rambam Eruvin 6:21 points that children under the age of 6 are automatically assumed to be stuck to mom (the same rule of thumb comes up in custody cases).

The case where husband makes one eruv and wife makes another could be quite simple: he makes one to the east as he'd like to visit some friends who live that way, and she makes one to the west to visit some friends of hers. They don't have to be joined at the hip, you know!

Back to your original question, I'd strongly assume (though I don't have a source off-hand) that the rule of thumb here is basically guardianship. If you're responsible for the minor kids, we assume they travel with you. That would mean if the kids trade off between parents each weekend, whoever's watching them that shabbos would cover them with their eruv. The same would apply for any sort of single mom, or for that matter adopted (minor) children.

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