Sunday, October 02, 2005

The Brilliant Chiddush of the Chazon Ish

Since many people are under the impression that the Chazon Ish’s chiddush ― that there are no cities today that would be classified as a reshus harabbim ― is based only on mechitzos habatim we would like to elaborate on his approach.

The Chazon Ish (O.C. 74:10, 107:4-7) states since, me’d’Oraysa, a break in an enclosure that is omed merubeh does not negate the enclosure, when a street which continues through a city ends, either with houses or a dead end, the whole length of that street with the mechitzos habatim on both sides and its dead end would be considered omed merubeh on three sides, and me’d’Oraysa, a reshus hayachid. As a result, the intersections of that street, which were pirtzos, would halachically be termed k’omed dami, closed. Consequently, all streets that run perpendicular through this street ― which now has three mechitzos and halachically closed intersections ― would in turn be surrounded with three mechitzos themselves, their own mechitzos habatim on both sides of the street and a third wall, the omed of the intersection. This creates a spiraling effect throughout the whole city. The Chazon Ish concludes that there never would be in large cities a reshus harabbim because we would always find one street that is enclosed by three walls. This Chazon Ish is one of the reasons why in Eretz Yisroel eruvin are maintained (Rav Yisroel Yaakov Fisher zt”l in Even Yisroel, 8:36; Kinyan Torah, 4:40, and Rav Chaim Kanievsky shlita in Shoneh Halachos, siman 363).