From the Mishna in Eruvin, it's clear that if a bunch of houses are in an enclosed courtyard, the courtyard is technically one big resuht hayachid -- private domain -- but because it looks like a public space, the rabbis require an eruv chatzerot whereby all residents of the courtyard have some communal food in which they can partake, thus reminding people of its "private" nature.

With regards to apartments within an apartment building (assuming there is no broader community eruv), I've heard one (Manhattan-born) rabbi state that the same is true, the people of the apartment need to get together and form an eruv chatzerot before they can carry between apartments in the building. Does everyone agree to this? Which halachic authorities have said such (or differed with it)?

  • This doesn't precisely answer your question, but see part III of aishdas.org/rygb/eruvp1.htm.
    – msh210
    Commented Feb 21, 2011 at 8:21
  • 1
    This, too, doesn't answer your question, but my understanding is that standard operating procedure is for apartment-dwellers to make an eruv.
    – msh210
    Commented Feb 24, 2011 at 3:35

2 Answers 2


I'd think that it parallels the case of a מרפסת (which Rashi, Eruvin 59b, defines as an outdoor corridor onto which several upstairs apartments open, and from which they go down to the courtyard by steps). Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 375:1) cites this description and rules that the people whose apartments open onto the מרפסת have to make an eruv among themselves (or they can join in the courtyard's eruv).

In an apartment building, in much the same way, the hallways on each floor are used by all of the residents of that floor. Conceivably, then, each floor could be considered a separate domain and could make its own eruv (assuming that indoor stairwells are similar in this regard to outdoor ones), or they could all join together in one building-wide eruv (since the people on higher floors of the building use the hallways on the lower floors to get in and out - although that latter point might not apply in a building that has multiple wings).

This is all my $.02, though; I'm not familiar with what recent posekim say about this.


Updated: the biography of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein at the beginning of Igrot Moshe Volume 8 states that as de facto rabbi of the Lower East Side,

He made sure that the apartment buildings had eruvs.

So at this point I guess the question is if any rabbi felt it didn't need an eruv.

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    For those who are looking, it's a long introduction. This excerpt is found on page 28. Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 23:30

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