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An Alleyway with a Narrow Opening
According to some Rishonim, an alley that is open less than three tefachim does not have to be “fixed” by a lechi or a korah. Other Rishonim maintain that any opening up until four tefachim does not have to be closed off. There is no clear consensus between these opinions. However, all opinions agree that if the entire width of the alleyway is less than four tefachim, then no fix is necessary since it is classified as a makom ptur.

שו"ע שסג, כח, משנ"ב קיז, ושעה"צ צא

A bridge over a river

A riverbank may serve as a halachic partition, provided that it is either ten tefachim deep at its edge, or it slopes on a ten tefach angle over a distance of four amos . Therefore, an alleyway, that opens into a river like this, does not need to be closed off by any other partition. If, however, the alleyway opens into a bridge that people use to walk to the other side of the river, then, the riverbank cannot be considered a partition, since people nullify the wall (in this case the riverbank) by walking over it. The poskim disagree if any size bridge would nullify the wall or only one that is ten amos or larger.

שו"ע שסג, כט, משנ"ב קיח, שעה"צ צג ו־צה, וביה"ל ד"ה מבוי; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 108 ו־111 ;וראה עוד שם

Relying on a seashore as a partition

The poskim disagree if a sea shore can also serve as a halachic partition. Shulchon Aruch rules that it can. The Rema however, rules that it cannot. He explains that there is a possibility that the tides may change and the sea may recede which would cause the wall to wash away. Therefore, one may never rely on the shore to serve as a wall, even if it is presently ten tefachim, because the water may recede without one realizing that it had occurred. For the same reason, one may also not rely on a riverbank that dries up during the summer months. The poskim disagree if a frozen riverbank is a valid partition.

שו"ע שסג, כט, משנ"ב קכ-קכא, ושעה"צ קד; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 118
  • An atypical alley, in which the width is the same size as the length, has the halachic status of a courtyard. The reverse is also true; a courtyard that is built according to the specifications of an alleyway (rectangular) has the status of an alleyway, provided that the courtyard opens into the alleyway.

  • It has become the accepted custom, for many generations, to rely only on a tzuras hapesach to close the opening of alleyways and streets, and not to rely on a korah, a lechi or a pas daled.

  • A diagonal korah

  • An uneven mavoi

  • A korah placed on a slight angle
PLEASE NOTE: The information in this email is for learning purposes only. Please review the Mishna Berura and Biurim U'Musafim before making a halachic decision. Hebrew words are occasionally transliterated to enable a smoother reading of the text. Common Ashkenazi pronunciation is generally used in these cases.
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