May someone cordon of an area of a public place for his own use and not let others come within that area.

1- May one make a show performance etc. in a public place and only allow people who pay to come?

2- May one make a large gathering for some people in a public place and keep others out?

3- May one stake out a place for a large picnic in a public place, and claim that other people who come within that area are disturbing his rightful use of that area?

May someone rope of a part of a public waterway for boat or swimming races, (or for recreational swimming or boating), and keep others from entering the waters there?

  • I can't fathom someone being allowed to prohibit the public entry into a public area unless he has been given a permit for private use. As for using picnic tables in a public park, there's an understood "first come; first gets" policy. You can't rope off your picnic area at will, though. Others are still allowed to pass through your picnic area.
    – DanF
    Jul 11, 2018 at 16:42
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    +1 Your question is relevant only to הפקר places, not רשות היחיד and not רשות הרבים. To my understanding, there's no "unaffiliated public place" today, instead, the state administers all non-private areas in the country - maybe a sort of a שיתוף. As anything ממונות the use of those paces is a subject to the conditions all the people agreed on (דינא דמלכותא).
    – Al Berko
    Jul 11, 2018 at 17:18
  • @DanF Just like i can stop others from sitting at the table where my family is sitting because it infringes on my right to use the public tables, how much area can i claim is an infringement of my own "right to use"? Jul 11, 2018 at 17:25
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    "Just like i can stop others..." - depends exclusively on local laws. It could be all the way around - you can't stop anyone from sharing the table you occupied.
    – Al Berko
    Jul 11, 2018 at 19:38
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    I thought that with all laws regarding Choshen Mishpat, the final answer is going to be KeMinhag HaMedina - it depends on local laws and customs. So the answer to your question would be: it depends on where you live; call up the local municipality and ask them. Jul 12, 2018 at 11:12

1 Answer 1


I decided to turn my comment into an answer:

  1. To my best knowledge, the Torah only recognizes one type of property - private property (also הקדש which is Hashem's private property, and הפקר which is a lack of possession :). Private property can be shared between partners, but it is a Machlokes (source needed) whether each one owns a part of it, or both own the whole.

  2. The status of what we call "Public places" is a very interesting issue, as Judaism does not truly recognize democracy especially in a Goyish country. But by the way of elimination, we can say: it is not a הפקר cause people cannot acquire it, not a הקדש, not a King's property, not a private property, but people can, in fact, use it - so it is a sort of a partnership.
    In ancient times some places outside of the towns were הפקר, but today all non-private property "belongs" to the state (correct me if I'm wrong).

  3. Use of shared property is subject to the original contract between the parties. In a democratic country that is the federal/provincial/municipal law, in our terms, it is דינא דמלכותא. The local people decide who will be officially in charge of managing all those places and that person(s) decide on permits. Those permits are Halachicly valid as דינא דמלכותא דינא.

  4. Therefore, based on that, if the law allows one to cordon off an area by a permit - so be it, if it disallows - so be it. If it only allows that to a certain group of people (local taxpayers or LGTB or Jews) - so be it etc.

  5. When you ask "can he keep other out", in our reality this is a basic idea behind the local Police force - to follow the local laws and guide the public accordingly. Of course, I can have a gun and not let others in, but that's not what you mean I suppose.

  • Only read through your first line, and it's already self-contradictory. Is it that the "Torah only recognizes one type of property", or many types of property, such as " הקדש which is Hashem's private property, and הפקר "? Also, dosn't look like your answer has any sources. Jul 12, 2018 at 16:42
  • @Salmononius2 Does it answer the question? Yes. Does it explain why? Yes. Do you have anything that contradicts what I wrote? Write a better answer.
    – Al Berko
    Jul 12, 2018 at 18:07
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    @AlBerko You give no source at all for this "new type" of property status, other than dina demalchusa which does not always apply. If you concoct a completely new concept as an answer it is mandatory that you give sources. Jul 12, 2018 at 22:05
  • @AlBerko You wrote "today all non-private property "belongs" to the state (correct me if I'm wrong)." You may be wrong. Under what halachic statute does it "belong" to the state? Also dina dmalchusa? If a state decides that they want to own a hefker property, dina dmalchusa gives them ownership rights??? source pleeeeease! Jul 12, 2018 at 22:09
  • Don't kill the messenger. I said there's nothing new in partnership, however, it is not fully an ownership, as nobody can sell it or make it הפקר. Public places fall under federal/provincial/municipal kinds of partnership which are not explicitly covered by our Halacha. Judaism says almost nothing on running a city, let alone a country. It all goes under דינא דמלכותא.
    – Al Berko
    Jul 12, 2018 at 22:29

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