Thursday, February 02, 2006

Are City Streets Considered 16 Amos Wide?

As a snif l’heter there are poskim who maintain that our streets themselves, even those that are very wide, would not meet the criterion of a reshus harabbim. There is a requirement that the whole 16 amos must be suitable for people. Since the streets are designated for cars, the streets and the sidewalks on either side of the street are not considered connected to form one contiguous 16 amos (Tikvas Zechariah, p. 40 and Divrei Yatziv, 2:172:13; see also Oim Ani Chomah, siman 63). Additionally, the parked cars themselves serve as mechitzos as they separate the sidewalk from the street, and therefore, the streets are not considered 16 amos wide (see Nesivos Shabbos, 3:1:2).