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It is Rabbinically prohibited to carry from one Torah domain to another (reshus harabbim to reshus hayachid or vice versa) on Shabbos via a makom petur (an insignificant domain) as a safeguard to prevent transgressing by carrying directly from one domain to another. The Shulchan Aruch 346:1 cites two opinions regarding carrying an object from a Rabbinically forbidden domain to another (karmelis to reshus hayachid or reshus harabim and vice versa) via a makom petur. The first opinion is that it is forbidden just like from Torah domains, but the second opinion maintains that the Rabbis did not enact this safeguard for Rabbinic domains.

The Shulchan Aruch (355:1) discusses carrying water from a water source that is a karmelis to a reshus hayachid, which, Rabbinically, is considered carrying from one domain to another and rules that although, usually, some measure of mechitzos (halachic barriers, albeit of lesser quality than is usually acceptable) are required to convert the area from which the water is drawn to a reshus hayachid, on a boat [where one cannot construct as on land], if its walls are ten tefachim above the surface of the water [necessitating lifting the water in the air over ten tefachim above the karmelis, which is a makom petur], he may extend even a small board over the top of the wall of the boat, and draw the water through a hole in the board.

The Biur Halachah (355:1 s.v. Avir) cites the Mogen Avrohom who explains that this leniency for a boat is even according to the stringent opinion regarding carrying from Rabbinic domains via a makom petur, because the required protrusion serves as a halachic differentiation from normal cases of carrying via a makom petur and is not subject to the safeguard. However, the Gra disagrees and holds that the leniency of drawing water via the protrusion on a boat is only according to the lenient view in Siman 346 who permits carrying from Rabbinic domains via a makom petur.

However, the Mishnah Berurah (355:3 §30) writes that the opinion of the Gra is that even those who permit carrying from Rabbinic domains via a makom petur require the object to 
‘rest’ in the makom petur before continuing to the second domain. If so, how can the Gra explain that these opinions permit drawing water via the protrusion over the walls of a boat because it is carrying from a Rabbinic domain via a makom petur – he does not seem to fulfill the requirement that the water ‘rest’ on the protrusion before entering the boat?

Answers to the questions will be published in Issue #56. Answers should be emailed to daf-hayomi-behalacha@dirshunj.org or faxed to 732-987-3949 by י' אדר ב' / March 17th to be entered into a raffle for a set of Dirshu Mishnah Berurah. When submitting your answers to the Question of the Month, please include your full name spelled in both Hebrew and English together with your address.

Using a remnant of a wall as lechi

A lechi that was built for reasons other than to allow carrying in an alley is valid. Examples include erecting a pole to strengthen the wall or planting a tree near the opening of the alley. One must decide before Shabbos that he wishes to use the structure as a halachic lechi. If there is no other lechi in place before Shabbos, it is as if it was decided, before Shabbos, to rely upon this structure. If it was decided before Shabbos not to rely on this structure, it is not valid. If there was already a proper lechi in place it is as if it was decided not to use the structure. Therefore, if the first lechi falls down on Shabbos, the other structure may not be relied upon. Many poskim allow a remnant of a wall to be used as a lechi.

[ שו"ע שסג, יא, משנ"ב לז-לט, ושעה"צ כח-כט; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 31 ו־33]

A lechi four amos wide

A lechi that was created without intent is only valid if it is not four amos wide. The reason for this rule is as follows; the minimal length of an alley that must have a lechi is four amos, therefore, if there is a section of wall that is situated along the length it would not appear as a lechi. Rather, it would appear as a part of an alley and it too would need its own lechi to allow carrying. If, however, the lechi was built in order to permit carrying it would be valid regardless of its width. When a lechi is built with a specific intention there is an awareness as to its purpose regardless of its width. 

[ שו"ע שסג, יב, ומשנ"ב מ-מג]

Using a forbidden object as a lechi

A forbidden object that is destined to be destroyed can be used as a lechi. For example, a lechi may be built using wood from a tree that was used for idol worship. In most areas of halacha an object that is destined to be destroyed is as if it is already destroyed and (when applicable) lacks the minimal size that it may need. Why then is a lechi built from forbidden materials valid? There are two reasons mentioned in the Rishonim :1) A lechi does not have a minimal size regarding its width. 2) A pile of ashes is a valid lechi. Therefore, even if it is as if its destroyed it would still be valid. There is also no issue with benefiting from a forbidden object, since the lechi does not generate a direct enjoyment.

[ שו"ע שסג, ח, ומשנ"ב כט-ל; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 28]
  • According to most poskim the lechi must be built within three tefachim of a wall.

  • A lechi may be built by gluing together broken pieces of wood. Stones jutting out of a wall may also be used a lechi.

  • Building a korah across an opening of an alleyway

  • A korah built for a different purpose

  • Building a lechi into the street
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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