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Building a lechi near a wall

In order to allow carrying in an alleyway open on its fourth side one must build a lechi at its opening. According to most poskim the lechi must be built within three tefachim of a wall . A number of reasons are given for this halacha: 1) If the lechi is more than three tefachim off the wall, a small animal can squeeze in between the lechi and the wall which would nullify its status as a halachic barrier. 2) A lechi is supposed to serve as a reminder not to carry into the reshus harabim. It will only be a reminder if it is attached to the wall. 3) A lechi can only serve as a barrier if it is next to other barriers.

[ שו"ע שסג, ו, משנ"ב כב, ושעה"צ יג; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 20]
A practical difference between the abovementioned reasons would be whether a tzuras hapesach would also need to be built within three tefachim of a wall. The first reason that there cannot be a space that would allow an animal to squeeze by would also apply to a tzuras hapesach. However, the other reasons are not applicable to a tzuras hapesach. A tzuras hapesach is an actual halachic barrier, it does not merely serve as a reminder not to carry into the reshus harabim (reason #2). It also does not need to be assisted by the other walls (reason #3).

[ משנ"ב שסג, כג, וראה שעה"צ טז; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 23-20, וראה שם, 24]
As mentioned, a lechi may be built out of any material and is not required to be a specific width. The poskim mention various options for building a lechi. Some options are: 1) gluing together a few broken pieces of wood 2) using stones jutting out from the edge of the wall 3) plastering the edge of the wall with a thick coating of plaster. The plaster must reach within three tefachim of the floor. The side posts of a tzuras hapesach may also be built by plastering the wall, and the crossbeam should then be placed on top of the plaster. The poskim disagree if stones sticking out of the side of the wall are valid for side posts of a tzuras hapesach.

[ שו"ע שסג, ז, ומשנ"ב כד, כו, כז ו־כח; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 27-25]
  • A lechi must be at least ten tefachim tall. The poskim disagree if it may sway in the wind.

  • A lechi is valid if it was formed on its own i.e. a small section of a broken wall remains standing. It must however, be decided before Shabbos that the remnant will be relied upon as a lechi.

  • A slanted tzuras hapesach may be invalid, since the crossbeam is not directly on top of the side posts.

  • Using a remnant of a wall as lechi

  • A lechi four amos wide

  • Using a forbidden object as a lechi
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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