Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Land Theft II

By Rabbi Daniel Travis

"And there was a quarrel between the herdsmen of Avram and the herdsmen of Lot." (Bereshith 13:7)

The previous essay discussed the issues of an outright act of stealing land and border manipulation. A subtler act of land theft is taking a shortcut through a private estate. The halachoth of such a shortcut depend on the circumstances surrounding its formation.

If the property owner originally consented to allow the path to traverse his land, then he has forfeited his rights to it. If at some point he were to take it back, refusing to let people use it, he would be committing an act of theft (1). The owner does not have the right to replace this path with another one on the side of his property. Nevertheless, if he does offer an alternate path, the public has the right to use the new path, while retaining the right to use the original path (2). Even if people forgo their right to use the original path, it still belongs to them (3).

If the owner of the land was not consulted when people began using a section of his land for a shortcut, even if he never contested the creation of the path, he retains the right to protest its use at any time. Thus, if at first he did not need the land and only later decided that he needs it, or if the number of people using the path has increased to the point that it is disturbing him, then he has the right to prevent people from traveling through his property. According to this halachah, if the hallway or stairwell of a building has become a shortcut for public use, the building’s residents retain the right to protest (4).


1. Mordechai, Bava Metzia 506; Rema, Choshen Mishpat 377.
2. Bava Bathra 99b; Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat 377. The Maharshal adds that nowadays this halachah would be subject to the law of the country in which the question arose.
3. Bava Kama 28a.
4. Mishpatei HaTorah 2:69.


Text Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org


 

ARTICLES ON BAMIDBAR AND SHAVUOS:

View Complete List

Man Plans and The Almighty Laughs
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5766

What's For Desert?
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766

The Desert and Beyond
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5758

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The Wilderness:Key to Grandeur
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5774

More Than Just Stars and Stripes
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5760

Enjoy the Ride
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5762

> At Any Given Moment
Rabbi Label Lam - 5762

To Be Amongst The Counted
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5758

The Book of Numbers Teaches Us A Lesson in Counting
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5770

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Hitting the Bull's-Eye
Rabbi David Begoun - 5766

Anonymous Jews Produce Redeemers
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5763

Numbered for Redemption
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5771

ArtScroll

Everyone Loves a Parade
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5759

A Mystical Idea May Help Us Understand the Incomprehensible
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5772

Children - Reason to Live
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5759

Souler Musings
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5773



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information