If one lives in an area like the Hamptons in NY where the distant between houses are more than 70 2/3 amos, do we start counting our 2000 amos from each individual house, or do we view the homes as part of the "city of" Hampton and therefore draw the square, etc.
If the former is correct, than it may be that one cant go to shul on shabbos as the shul is a far walk from the homes.
Tzvi Stern, rbs
Thanks for your question.
First let me note that I am about to discuss the theoretical issue, but not the practical application. For practical application it is also necessary to know that actual situation for miles around, something that cannot be done from here. Thus you must contact your LOR.
The issue you raise is correct. If the houses are not within 70 + Amos we cannot combine them, thus must begin counting the 2000 Amos from the house. The question is can we in anyway consider the yards (assuming they are fenced in) as part of the houses, thus solving the problem. This issue is very complex, since first we have to establish the status of a city, meaning at least three yards of two houses within 70+ Amos. Only after we have a nucleus of a city can we take it from there, and try to consider additional yards within 70+ Amos. This is discussed at length in the Chazon Ish OC 110b:20. He quotes a Yerushalmi who raises the issue of the status of the yard, but does not reach any conclusion. He does quote some Poskim who would consider the yards as houses in certain conditions. However his bottom line is that it is clear from the Shulchan Aruch and other Poskim that a yard cannot be treated as a house, thus he feels there is no room for leniency in any case.
In the event that the shul is further than 2000 Amos from the house, one should make an Eiruv Techumin on Erev Shabbos, to enable him to walk to shul on Shabbos (provided his house is not more than 4000 Amos from the shul).