25 May SAVING PARKING IN BROOKLYN?
When it comes to parking, a number of questions can occur. We will discuss one of the questions. Am I allowed to save a spot for my friend by standing in the spot in the street?
Obviously, the first thing that would need to be verified is if according to NY City or State law this would be permitted or not. I don’t know the answer. Maybe one of the esteemed readers can let me know. Assuming there would be no problem according to secular law, we now need to verify what Halacha’s position is.
This would be similar to a case where one person gets onto a bus early on the bus route. He immediately saves a seat for his friend who will get on the bus in a few stops. Is this permitted?
To answer this you need to explain the concept of “Zachin leAdam shelo befanav.” This means: I can acquire something on behalf of someone else, even if the other person is not here, so long as it is for the other person’s benefit.
It would seem from the above that saving a seat would be permitted. But there is one catch: while you are being helpful to one person is it detrimental to another? If so, it is prohibited. This is called “Aval lo bemakom sheChav leAcheirim.”
The exception to the above rule is in a place where the saver gets it from “hefker.” (Hefker refers to an ownerless object.) In this case, the Gemara says that you may obtain the object even at the detriment of someone else.
There is an argument between Tosfos and Rambam concerning when the object is hefker, why if it comes from hefker you could be mezakeh in a place where it is chav leAcheirim? Tosfos holds, the reason is because he could take it for himself so it’s as if he took it for himself and gave it to his friend. The Rambam holds that it is not considered at the expense of someone else if there is no money owed to others.
In the case of saving a seat; if everybody pays money for seats and there aren’t enough seats, then you would not be allowed to save the seat.
In the case of a parking spot; it would seem that the spot is considered coming from hefker, so it would depend between Tosfos and Rambam. Rambam would hold that one can save the spot since there is no money owed to anyone. However, according to Tosfos we could try to analyze if one can obtain a parking spot for himself without a car. Since it wouldn’t be feasible to “park” without a car, it is impossible to save a spot for yourself. You are therefore prohibited from saving it for someone else, since it is detrimental to others.
For a final ruling please consult your own Rabbi.