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Determining the Techum

Outside of a City

  1. If a person is alone in the desert, the Techum extends 2000 amot beyond the 4 amot area him. If one is in a house, the Techum is 2000 amot from outside the house.[3]
  2. If a person starts Shabbat outside a city he can determine the directions of his techum and have 2000 amot in each of those directions. He also is allowed to travel until the end of 2800 amot in the direction of the corners of the square he choose. However, it is only allowed to carry until the end of 2800 amot if he decided on his square.[4]
  3. If one's Techum includes the entire length of a city, which is defined above, the city is only considered 4 amot and one may walk beyond that city for the rest of one's 2000 amot. For example, if one's dwelling place is 500 amot from a city and the city is 1000 amot long, the city is only considered 4 amot. Therefore, one is able to walk another 1496 amot after the city. However, if one's Techum ends in the middle of the city, the city is not considered 4 amot and one may not walk beyond one's Techum.[5]
  4. A city is considered like 4 amot whether or not it is a walled city.[6]

Techum of a City

  1. If one is in a village, town, or city, one may have 2000 amot from the outer bounds of the city, depending on the density of the houses.[7] If there are 6 homes each within 70.66 amot of another home are considered a city and the Techum would begin from 2000 amot outside the group of houses. Any home that is within 70.66 amot of the established city is included in the city, however, a house which is more than 70.66 amot from other houses is not included in the city and the Techum for residents of that house is only 2000 amot from the edge of that house. Therefore, a suburban area with houses separated more than 70.66 amot are not considered part of a city and residents of a house only have 2000 amot from that house. [8]
  2. Many cities have 2000 from the edge of the city which are drawn as a rectangle along the directions of a compass, from the edge of the northern most house, eastern most house, southern most house, and western most house. However, if the city is already rectangle, L-shaped, or arc shaped may not have this extension of squaring off the city.[9]
  3. Because the laws of establishing a Techum and extending the Techum with a Eruv Techumin are complicated one should consult a local Orthodox Rabbi. [10]

Squaring Off a City

  1. Chazal learn from the Torah that a city is considered as having corners which are drawn according to the cardinal directions of the world.[11]
  2. A city that is a square or rectangle is not squared off because it already has corners, even though its corners do not align with the cardinal directions.[12]
  3. A city that is a circle, triangle, pentagon, hexagon, or more sides are squared off.[13]
  4. A city with two parallel sides, with one side that is wider and one side that is shorter, such as a trapezoid, is squared off by making the shorter side as long as the longer side.[14]
  5. A city which has houses within 70.6 amot jutting out on one side, when squaring off the city, the city is measured by the furthest house in that direction.[15]
  6. A city that is shaped like an L or a semicircle, if the ends are within 4000 amot, it is all considered one city and the area between its two ends is considered as though it was filled in with houses. If the ends are 4000 amot or more between the ends of the city, each branch of the city are considered separate and the area between them is not considered part of the city.[16] Some are lenient to consider that area part of the city if from the line drawn between the two ends up to the city between its two ends is less than 2000 amot. Additionally, some are lenient that if the ends gradually spread apart to consider the section of the ends where they are less than 4000 amot apart to be considered filled in.[17]
  7. There is a dispute whether a L shaped or triangular shaped city is squared off according to the cardinal directions or by the side that is straight.[18]

Joining Cities

  1. If two cities are within 141.3 amot of each other they are considered like one city and the techum is drawn around both of them.[19]
  2. If when drawing the square around a city that would include another city the two cities are considered one large city and the techum is drawn around both of them.[20]

Moving Packages Received on Shabbat

  1. If one isn't sure if an item was brought from beyond the techum one has to be strict not to move beyond 4 amot even though techum is rabbinic.[21]
  2. Even if the package was delivered from outside of the techum if the package was placed in a house or building then it can be moved within the house since the house walls are considered 4 amot.[22]
  3. If a package was delivered from outside the techum on Shabbat for a Jew he cannot benefit from it on Shabbat or even after Shabbat the time it would take to bring it from beyond the techum. He is allowed to move the package up within 4 amot or if it is in a building within the walls of the building.[23]

Walking to the edge of the Techum

  1. It is forbidden to walk to the edge of the Techum in order to leave on a journey quickly after Shabbat. However, if the action one is going to do after Shabbat could theoretically have been done on Shabbat, it is not forbidden to walk tot the edge of the Techum waiting for the end of Shabbat. For example, one may walk to the edge of the Techum in order to bring one's animal back because theoretically one could have done this on Shabbat if there were houses extending the Techum. Also one may walk to the edge of the Techum in order to collect fruit which fell before Shabbat and aren't Muktzeh because theoretically one could have done so on Shabbat if there were walls surrounding the path (which would permit carrying on Shabbat). [24]
  2. One may walk to one's garden within the Techum in order to pick fruit after Shabbat since it is not evident that one is walking there for that purpose.[25]

Techum above Ten Tefachim

  1. There is an unresolved discussion in the Gemara whether there is techum above ten tefachim. We are lenient if a person started Shabbat above ten tefachim that he doesn't have a techum of two thousand amot as long as he didn't yet land or reach a place that is connected to the ground.[26] This is relevant to a person who was on a boat at the beginning of Shabbat.[27]
  2. A wagon is considered within ten tefachim of the ground since the wheels rest on the ground and the wagon itself if bigger than 4 tefachim.[28]

Techum of Property

  1. A barrel that belongs to two people that was split up on Yom Tov, each part has the techum of the owner of that half even though it was only split up on Yom Tov.[29]


  1. Some permit getting on a boat before Shabbat even though the boat will travel more than the techum on Shabbat because the traveler isn't walking or moving himself, rather the water is moving the boat.[30] However, most rishonim disagree and hold that traveling more than the techum on a boat is forbidden.[31] Nonetheless, there are other leniencies about traveling beyond the techum on a boat:
    1. If the boat is always above 10 tefachim from the seabed there is no prohibition to go in the boat beyond techum since there is no techum above 10 tefachim in the water, according to many poskim.[32]
    2. Some permit getting on a boat more than 3 days before Shabbat even though it is known that it will continue to travel on Shabbat more than the techum, even if it is within 10 tefachim.[33]
    3. Nonetheless, it is forbidden to get on a boat on Shabbat itself.[34]
    4. If someone was on a boat from before Shabbat and it was always above 10 tefachim, he may get off the boat. Once he gets off the boat he only can walk 2000 amot. Some are strict to hold that he may not get off the boat.[35]

Airplane that Landed on Shabbat

  1. It is forbidden to go on a plane that will land on Shabbat.[36]
  2. If someone was in an airplane that landed on Shabbat, because of circumstances beyond his control, there is a discussion if it is permitted to get off the plane because of techum. Some allow getting off the plane into the walkway that is attached to the plane and airport. Still one may not leave the airport unless it is included in the techum of the city.[37]

Someone who came from beyond the techum

  1. Someone who was brought against his will from beyond the techum and was brought against his will back into a walled area that area is considered like 4 amot.[38]


  1. See a summary of the halacha's of Techum with pictures on
  2. פניני הלכה, שבת פרק ל


  1. Shulchan Aruch O.C. 396:1, 495:1, 611:1. Peninei Halacha discusses why the allowance for ochel nefesh doesn't permit going beyond the techum on Yom Tov even for ochel nefesh.
  2. Shulchan Aruch O.C. 397:1, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 95:1. Mishna Brurah 397:1 writes that some hold that walking beyond 12 mil on shabbat is a biblical prohibition, while others consider it a rabbinic prohibition. Magen Avraham 404:1 quotes a dispute between the Maharalbach 28 and Maharam Elshaker 41 whether 12 mil is deoritta for kelim. Ramban Eruvin 43a clearly hold it is deoritta even for kelim. Biur Halacha 404:1 is lenient to rely on Maharalbach since either way many rishonim hold that 12 mil is not deoritta.
  3. 39 Melachos (Rabbi Ribiat, vol 4, pg 1386-7)
  4. Chazon Ish 110:24 based on Gra 345:1, Mishna Brurah 345:5. This is the opinion of the Rambam. According to the Rabbenu Tam (Eruvin 51a, Yoma 67a a person always can travel until 2800 amot even without choosing the square. However, Rashbam held that one's square is automatically determined to correspond with the north-south directions of the earth and then one can walk until the end of those corners. Tosfot Yoma and Rosh Eruvin reject Rabbenu Tam.
  5. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 95:12
  6. Tur 398:9, Bet Meir 398:1, Chayey Adam 76:11, Shaar Hatziyun 408:13
  7. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 95:2
  8. 39 Melachos (Rabbi Ribiat, vol 4, pg 1387-9). Rabbi Ribiat quotes the Minchat Shabbat who explicitly writes that we do have the halachic category of chatzerot nowadays in order to form a city. We still require that there's 2 houses to create a chetzer but if there's 6 houses we have a city. Torat Shlomo Eruvin 19:19 p. 144 explicitly writes that even though we don't use the chatzerot today like rooms you can create a city without chatzerot. (See Chazon Ish OC 110:20 who might support this.) However, Rav Hershel Schachter (Shabbat Shiur 99 (very end) and Shabbat Shiur 100 (beginning)) holds that nowadays we don't have a city for techum since we don't use our chatzerot today like a room of the house. Therefore, since we need 3 chatzerot to form a city (S"A 398:10) we can't have a city today. This is based on the Rama, Chazon Ish OC 65:52, and is discussed by Imrei Baruch Eruvin 40-41. The definition of a city is relevant to techum and eruv. See, however, Magen Avraham 398:15 who implies that an established city doesn't need 3 chatzerot.
  9. 39 Melachos (Rabbi Ribiat, vol 4, pg 1391-2)
  10. 39 Melachos (Rabbi Ribiat, vol 4, pg 1393)
  11. Eruvin 55a, Shulchan Aruch O.C. 398:3
  12. Eruvin 55a, Shulchan Aruch O.C. 398:1
  13. Eruvin 55a, Shulchan Aruch O.C. 398:2
  14. Eruvin 55a, Shulchan Aruch O.C. 398:4
  15. Eruvin 55a, Shulchan Aruch O.C. 398:6
  16. Eruvin 55a, Shulchan Aruch O.C. 398:4
  17. Rama 398:4
  18. Shulchan Aruch Harav 398:3 and Chayei Adam 68:14 hold that a city that is a triangle or L shaped city is squared off by the cardinal directions. However, Chazon Ish 80 s.v. tos 54a and 110:23 maintains that a city which has one side that is straight is squared off in accordance with that side and not according to the cardinal directions.
  19. Shulchan Aruch O.C. 398:7
  20. Minchat Yitzchak 8:33 explains that since the squaring of a city is taken into account before we add the 70 amot of the city if the squaring off of a city includes another city everything should be considered one large city. His proof is the concept of Eruvin 55a that the arms of a bow-shaped city join as long as they are within 4000 amot of each other. The Chazon Ish 110:16 wasn't sure whether or not the cities join when the squaring off of each other join. Rav Chaim Kanievsky in Shoneh Halachot 398:19 and 21 writes that Chazon Ish held that they do join but left it unresolved (הדבר צריך הכרע). Zecher Tzvi (Techum Shabbat p. 21) holds that one can be lenient based on Chazon Ish. Dirshu 398:21 quotes Rav Dovid Landau who holds that since Chazon Ish left this unresolved one must be strict. Dirshu 398:21 cites Rav Wosner (Kitzur Hilchot Medidat Techumin) as holding that one can be lenient, but Rav Elyashiv as holding that one should be strict. Mechzeh Eliyahu 1:74 and 77 is lenient. Machneh Yisrael of Rabbi Dimitrovsky p. 19-22 writes that one who is lenient has what to rely upon and supports this from the Rambam and Meiri. He also cites Rav Elyashiv as being strict.
  21. Beitzah 24b, Shulchan Aruch O.C. 515:1
  22. Shulchan Aruch O.C. 405:1 writes that people who leave the techum only have 4 amot. Shulchan Aruch 405:9 applies these laws to objects as well. Shulchan Aruch 405:6 writes that if a person left the techum accidentally or was forcibly was moved by non-Jews and ended up beyond the techum within a walled area the entire walled area is considered like 4 amot. However, if a Jew left the techum intentionally he only has 4 amot. However, with respect to objects that left the techum, Mishna Brurah 405:50 writes that if the objects left the techum and entered a walled area they can be moved within the entire walled area whether they were moved there intentionally or unintentionally.
  23. Shulchan Aruch O.C. 325:8. Shulchan Aruch quotes two opinions about whether he must wait until the time it takes to bring it from beyond the techum in order to eat it. Mishna Brurah 325:40 implies that he is strict about this question, though he doesn't require waiting until Sunday morning the time it takes to deliver it from beyond the techum like the opinion Rama quotes.
  24. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 90:3
  25. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 90:3
  26. Gemara Eruvin 43a-b, Shulchan Aruch OC 404:1
  27. Shulchan Aruch 404:1
  28. Shoel Umeishiv 5:3
  29. The Gemara Beitzah 37b records a dispute between Rav and Shmuel whether we hold of the concept of berierah. Berierah is that we can view an eventual decision as though it already happened to clarify what is the case now. Rav holds of it and Shmuel does not. The gemara’s conclusion (38a) is that for derabbanan concepts we hold of Berierah. This is codified by the Rambam (Yom Tov 5:20) and Shulchan Aruch 397:10.
  30. Rashbam cited by Tosfot Eruvin 43a, Ramban Eruvin 43a, Rashba Eruvin 43a
  31. Rabbenu Chananel Shabbat 19a, Rambam (teshuva 308-310), Ritva Eruvin 43a, Rif Shabbat 7b according to Bet Yosef 248. Maharik 45 understands that Rif can hold like Rashbam. Chazon Ovadia v. 1 pp. 127-130 proves that the poskim don't accept the Rashbam and that's how he holds.
  32. Rabbenu Chananel Shabbat 19a, Rambam (teshuva 308-310), Rif Shabbat 7b, Shulchan Aruch 248:2
  33. Maharik 45, Rama 248:1, Shulchan Aruch Harav 248:3
  34. Mishna Brurah 248:21
  35. Gemara Eruvin 43a has a unresolved question about whether there is techumin above 10 tefachim. Rambam (teshuva 308) and Ramban (Eruvin 43a) are lenient if the question is only rabbinic. Rosh, however, is strict that there is techumin above 10 tefachim. According to Rambam and Ramban, it is permissible to get off the boat if he was on there from before Shabbat since his techum didn't begin while he was on the boat above 10 tefachim. According to Rosh he may not get off the boat. Shulchan Aruch 404:1 holds like Rambam and Ramban. Mishna Brurah 248:22 writes that it is permissible to disembark from the boat and go up to 2000 amot if he was on the boat from before Shabbat.
  36. Igrot Moshe OC 3:97
  37. Igrot Moshe OC 3:97 holds that even if there’s no techum while the airplane is moving, there is techum once it lands. Since from the point it landed until the terminal is more than 2000 amot, it is forbidden to get off the plane. He's discussing leaving from the plane onto the tarmac. Techumei Shabbat p. 48 is lenient in extenuating circumstances to get off the plane into the walkway attached to the plane since it is all like 4 amot. See also Tzitz Eliezer 1:21:18.
    • Rosh (perek mi shehotziyhu 10) holds that in order for the city to count like 4 amot for techumin it must have walls made for living. This is true both when acquiring techum at the beginning of Shabbat and if brought from beyond the techum and put into walls.
    • Rabbenu Yerucham (cited by Beit Yosef 405:6) holds that in order for the city to count like 4 amot it must have walls made for living only when brought from beyond the techum. However, when acquiring techum at the beginning of Shabbat walls aren't necessary. Biur Halacha (405:8 s.v. im) rules in according with this view. Dirshu 405:17 also infers this from Shaar Hatziyun 408:13.
    • Ramban (Eruvin 41a) holds that walls are never necessary for a city to be considered 4 amot. Biur Halacha (405:6 s.v. mukfet) writes that in an extenuating circumstance you can rely on this opinion, unlike Shulchan Aruch O.C. 405:6 who rules unlike Ramban.