Shabbat Parashat Terumah| 5764
Distancing Damages - Part VII - Damage of Sight
One of the harder to define damages that one can protest is hezek r’eeya (damage caused by what one sees). There are different elements to this type of damage. In certain cases, there can be outright breaches of modesty. (See Rashi on Bamidbar 24:5, that Bnei Yisrael are praised for ensuring that one could not see into his neighbor’s home). Another element is that there are times that one farmer, with too good a view of his neighbor’s successful crops, can cause damage through ayin hara (Bava Batra 2b).
The most standard type of hezek r’eeya is a general lack of privacy, which, for whatever reason, bothers many normal people. Thus, if two people break up a previously jointly owned courtyard, one can force the other to take part in erecting a fence between the two sections of the courtyard (Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat 157:1).
Thus far, we have dealt with someone who wants to be out of the eye of others outside his family. However, even when there is no possibility or desire of full privacy, one may still demand partial privacy. One application is that people in a courtyard can force their neighbors to take part in the construction of a guard booth to prevent people from the reshut harabim (large, public domain) to be able to see into the relatively private courtyard (Bava Batra 7b; see Rashi on mishna).
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