The kashrus and quality of an eruv depend on regular and thorough inspection of the eruv and timely, effective repairs.
The size of the eruv, the nature of its construction and the availability of checkers will help determine the most feasible checking schedule for a given eruv. The most common schedule options are:
A. The entire eruv gets checked weekly.
B. Half or a quarter of the entire eruv is checked weekly. Thus, the entire eruv is inspected on a two-week or monthly basis.
C. Each Tzuras HaPesach is checked weekly. Other parts of the Eruv, which are less likely to break, are checked on a routine schedule (e.g. a checker walks a different portion of the eruv for an hour each week).
D. Each Tzuras HaPesach is checked weekly. The rest of the eruv is checked on a set but infrequent schedule (e.g. every three months, six months, or annually).
It is vital for a checking schedule to be put in place- regardless of which schedule is selected (consult your Posek). It should be noted that when there is a infrequent schedule for checking an euv, it is common for the supposed checking to be delayed or even pushed off indefinitely, compromising the kosher status of the eruv.
Checking and Repairs Process
A. Lone Checker
Procedure: The checker (usually a community member) inspects the eruv. He reports all problematic and questionable spots to the Rav HaMachshir (certifying rabbi in charge of maintaining the eruv’s standard of kashrus). When necessary, the Rav HaMachshir will personally inspect these areas to determine whether repairs are required. When a need for a repair is identified, a repairman is dispatched to the specific problematic location. When the repair is completed, the checker revisits the site to ensure that the repair was done correctly. If the repair is found to be faulty, the repairman must return and again attempt to repair it properly. Again, the checker revisits the site to ensure that the repair was done correctly.
Pros: A repairman is only called, and paid, in the event that a repair is needed. The checker only needs to be skilled in identifying problems, not actually repairing them.
Cons: 1. There is a significant time lapse between identifying a problem spot and the problem being repaired. Checking may need to be done earlier in the week to allow time for repairs to be completed before Shabbos. 2. The location of the problem needs to be communicated to the repairman. Miscommunications can easily occur, wasting valuable time and money. 3. The repairman may not be available when needed. 4. The checker is his own driver- it can be extremely difficult and hazardous to attempt to check thoroughly and drive at the same time.
B. Lone Checker/Repairman
Procedure: The checker is the repairman and is equipped to make repair on the spot, as needed. Any questions are directed to the Rav HaMachshir.
Pros: Repairs can be made immediately and don’t need to be communicated to anyone.
Cons: 1. The checker must be skilled in repairs, limiting the pool of potential checkers. 2. The checker is his own driver- see above.
C. Checker-Repairman Duo
Procedure: The checker is driven by the repairman (in his truck) and the repairman is equipped to make any repairs. Any questions are directed to the Rav HaMachshir.
Pros: The checker can collaborate with the repairman to fix the problem correctly the first time. Repairs can be made immediately. The checker can concentrate on checking thoroughly because someone else is driving.
Cons: 1. Significant time commitment required of two individuals instead of just one individual. 2. Cost of hiring the repairman whether or not repairs are needed.
D. Rav HaMachshir-Repairman Duo
Procedure: The checker is the Rav HaMachshir and is driven by the repairman.
Pros: Questionable areas are dealt with immediately, since the Rav is on site to determine whether repairs are needed. The checker can collaborate with the repairman to fix the problem correctly the first time. Repairs can be made immediately. The checker can concentrate on checking thoroughly because someone else is driving.
Cons: 1. The Rav HaMachshir must have time to check the eruv regularly. 2. Substitutes are not as easy to find because they are replacing the Rav- if the Rav is unavailable to check on a particular week. 3. Significant time commitment required of two individuals instead of just one individual. 4. Cost of hiring the repairman whether or not repairs are needed.