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Trespassing or a legitimate shortcut?


Rabbi Moshe Leib Halberstadt

Av 8, 5774
Shalom Harav, Say one needs to get from Point A to Point B on a regular basis, and the two routes are 1. cutting through the lobby that connects two buildings (sort of like an indoor passage between them) and 2. walking around the block, around the buildings. Taking into account that: 1. This lobby is usually empty, 2. This person walks through quickly, without making any noise or littering, 3. There are entrances to each building separately from inside that lobby - you don't directly pass anyone’s private door, 4. It is not an enormous time difference between the routes, since the buildings are not huge, is it ok to take the first route regularly? Is it considered Ze Nehena Veze Eino Chaser or is it trespassing since it’s not an official passageway to Point B? Thank you
In a case where the neighbors agree explicitly, it is certainly permitted. In a case where the neighbors stated publicly that they oppose the passage of strangers, then it is forbidden, and it is not considered "Ze Nehene Ve'ze Lo Chaser" (One derives benefit and the other sustains no loss), because the multiplicity of passers-by can certainly be considered loss due to noise, dirt etc. The question is where we do not know whether the neighbors agree or oppose the passage of strangers. It seems that in a case such as you described where there is no noise and dirt and there are not many passers-by, one can assume that the neighbors are not opposed and it is permitted to pass through, but not to turn on the building's light and it should not be done regularly. If one would like to pass there on a regular basis, he should ask permission (Pitchei Choshen laws of Geneivah & Ona'ah 7, 9 note 29. Minchat Yitzchak vol. 8, 29).
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