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Unread 09-26-2011, 09:38 AM   #1
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Reshus ha'rabbim — legal status?

Sorry for a very ignorant question. What is the ownership status of reshus ha'rabbim in Halacha?

E.g., first scenario: I live in E"Y in the times of Roman occupation. Whom does the "street" belong to al pi Halacha? Is it ownerless? Is it a property of the emperor (as Roman law dictates, and since dina d'malchusa dina, therefore, that's the halachic status)?

Second scenario: nowadays, the philosophical legal idea is that the street belongs somehow to everyone (to the public), but since the government represents the will of the public (presumably), it can do things like tow my car parked in front of a hydrant, even though I really parked it on the property that belongs to me (plus many others). To a lot of people it doesn't make sense to say that "all the people" own the land in some meaningful way, but here is not the place to discuss it.

How does Halacha view that land? Does it say it belongs to the government, or to the people collectively, or to nobody (so, it's basically hefker)?

Also: a side question relating to the first example above. Historically, at what point did the Romans (and other invaders) stop being a bunch of criminal thugs that invaded the country and started being "the government" whom one must obey acc. to "dina d'malchusa dina" concept? How did this transition happen?

Rambam states that one shows that he assents to the rule of the government when he uses its currency, but actually, Roman currency was used in the region long before the Romans officially invaded (same way, because English coin was very stable in the medieval times, it was used throughout Europe; as is American dollar nowadays...).
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