Carrying on a College Campus on Shabbat

Question:

Can I carry on Shabbat in a fenced-in campus, where the front gate is always left open? There are two other gates that are open on weekdays, but are locked at night and on Shabbat/Chagim. The front gate is never closed; it is open 24/7.


Answer:

1. According to some Poskim (Rashba, Avodath haKodhesh, Beth Netivot 3:1; Hakham Tzvi 37 et al), the campus has the status of Reshuth haRabim due to the open areas where people gather within the campus, similar to a town square. According to this view, carrying within the open areas is asur min haTorah.


2. Even discounting this view, Rambam (MT Eruvin 1:1) and others hold that the campus fence would render it a Reshuth haYahid only if all gates are closed at night.


3. Even if it is Reshuth haYahid, an Eruv is required to be able to carry there. For a number of reasons I am not at all sure that this is feasible. Others who live on campus, non-Jews or secular Jews, would have to mevatel or rent their "reshuth" to you or someone representing all the religious Jews. This might be achieved if the university authorities were willing to sign off on such a thing. Frankly, I doubt it.


4. Have you asked the campus rabbi about this? He may know something regarding the facts that I don't.


17th of Tamuz, 5770 Tuesday, 29 June 2010

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