Taking a shower on Yom Tov

Taking a shower on Yom Tov?[1]

Hot water:

Water heated on Yom Tov:[2] It is forbidden to bathe [or shower[3]] one’s entire body with water that was heated on Yom Tov.[4] This applies even out of a bathhouse. This applies even if the water was heated [in a permitted method, such as] for the sake of drinking.[5] This applies even if one does not bathe his entire body simultaneously, but rather bathes one limb at a time.[6] It is however permitted for one to wash one’s face, hands and feet[7] [and according to some Poskim[8], even minority of one’s body] with the water, even if it was heated on Yom Tov.[9] [It is debated as to whether the water in a boiler which is automatically heated by the sun or a timer is defined as heated before or during Yom Tov.[10] Practically, one is to be stringent not to bathe majority of one’s body in such water, even if he does so one limb at a time.[11]]

Water heated before Yom Tov: Some Poskim[12] rule it is permitted to bathe [or shower] one’s entire body simultaneously, using water that was heated before Yom Tov.[13] Other Poskim[14] however rule it is forbidden to bathe (or shower[15]) the entire body on Yom Tov, even if the water was heated before Yom Tov, and even outside of the bathhouse.[16] However, even according to this opinion, the prohibition only applies against bathing one’s entire body simultaneously. However, one may wash his entire body through washing one limb at a time, even if the water was heated before Yom Tov.[17] Practically, although the main opinion follows the former approach in all these matters[18], nevertheless, it is already accustomed in these provinces [Ashkenaz] to follow to be stringent like the latter opinion, and one may not swerve from this custom.[19] [Furthermore, there are even some Sefaradi communities who are stringent in this matter, and each community is to follow their custom.[20]]

Bathing in a bathhouse:[21] The above allowances only apply outside of a bathhouse, however in a bathhouse, it is forbidden for one to bathe [i.e. enter the limb into the water, such as in a bathtub] even his face, hands and feet in hot water, even if the water was heated before Yom Tov.[22] It is likewise forbidden for him to shower his entire body simultaneously, even if the water was heated before Yom Tov.[23] [However, to shower one’s entire body one limb at a time, seemingly remains permitted if the water was heated before Yom Tov. Our bathtubs today have the status of a bathhouse.[24]]

Heating up water on Yom Tov for bathing purposes: It is permitted for one to heat water on Yom Tov for the sake of washing one’s face, hands and feet[25] [or in a time of need, other limbs, so long as it is minority of one’s body[26]].[27] [This applies even if the water in not drinkable.[28]] It is however forbidden to heat water on Yom Tov for the sake of bathing one’s entire body.[29] According to some Poskim[30], this latter prohibition is only Rabbinical.[31] According to other Poskim[32], this latter prohibition is Biblical.[33] [This applies even today.[34] Nonetheless, even according to this opinion, there are cases that heating the water for bathing the entire body is only Rabbinically forbidden.[35] Some of the ramifications between these opinions is regarding a case that one transgressed and heated the water, or asking a gentile to heat the water in a time of need, or heating the water for the sake of an ill person.[36]]

Turning on the hot water faucet:[37] It is permitted to open the hot water faucet on Yom Tov, so long as it does not cause an automatic ignition of gas or electricity to heat up the water in the boiler [i.e. automatic boiler].

Cold water:[38]

The Sages did not decree against bathing in cold water on Shabbos [or Yom Tov[39]] and it is thus permitted to do so from the letter of the law.[40] Nevertheless, the custom in the Ashkenazi provinces is to avoid doing so being that there are many bathing restriction involved which people are not aware of.[41] [However, if one is bothered by the heat or the perspiration then he is allowed to shower in cold water.[42]]

Warm water:[43]

Whenever it is permitted to shower one’s entire body in cold water it is permitted to do so even using warm water for this purpose.[44] Warm water is defined as water which is below body temperature, and its heat is not felt in it, as explained in Q&A 

Turning on the hot water faucet: It is permitted to turn on the hot water tap warm in order to achieve warm water in a shower, so long as it does not cause an automatic ignition of gas or electricity to heat up the water in the boiler [i.e. automatic boiler].

 

The restrictions one must beware of when showering on Yom Tov:

Whenever it is permitted for one to bathe or shower on Yom Tov, one must beware of the following matters

  1. Not to squeeze one’s hair.[45]
  2. Not to swim in the water if entering a Mikveh or river.
  3. Not to splash away debris in the water.
Summary:

Hot shower: It is forbidden to take a hot bath/shower on Yom Tov. This applies even if one is using water that was heated before Yom Tov. However, if the water was heated before Yom Tov, one may shower one limb at a time, even if he ends up showering his entire body in this method. One, however, may not bathe even minority of his body in the bathtub, and only showering is permitted. If the water was heated on Yom Tov, it may only be used to wash one’s face, hands and feet, and in a time of need, other limbs of the body, so long as it is minority of the body in total, and one does not immerse the limb in a bathtub.

Cold/warm shower: One may shower the entire body in cold, or lukewarm, water if one feels extreme discomfort by the heat. If one is not in a state of discomfort he may not shower in even cold water, just as is the law on Shabbos.

Q&A

What is defined as warm water as opposed to hot water?[46]

There is room to learn from Admur and the Poskim[47] that so long as the water is less than Yad Soledes then it is not considered hot and is thus allowed. Practically, however, the Poskim[48] rule that even less than Yad Soledes is considered hot[49], and so long as the water is warmer than body temperate [37 Celsius; 98.6 F], or its heat is felt in it, then it is forbidden just like hot water. Others[50] however write that since the measurement of hot water is not recorded, it most likely refers to all waters that people call hot, [and not necessarily to water that is above or below body temperature].

Is water that was heated on its own on Yom Tov [i.e. solar boiler, or electric boiler on timer] defined as water heated before Yom Tov?[51]

Some Poskim[52] rule that water which became heated on its own on Yom Tov has the same status as water that was heated before Yom Tov, and it is hence permitted for one to bathe one’s entire body in such water one limb at a time. Other Poskim[53] rule the water is defined as heated on Yom Tov, and it is hence only permitted to bathe minority of one’s limbs in such water. Practically, one may not bathe majority of one’s body in such water, even if he does so one limb at a time.[54]

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[1] See Admur 511/1; Michaber 511/2; Piskeiy Teshuvos 511/4-6; Nitei Gavriel 31/7

[2] Admur 511/1; Michaber 511/2; Rambam 1/16; Mishneh Shabbos 38b

[3] Admur ibid parentheses in original; Tosafus ibid; Rashba Shabbos 40a

[4] The reason:

[5] Admur ibid; M”A 326/6

[6] Admur ibid; Michaber 511/2; Braisa Shabbos 40a; Avodas Hakodesh 3:5; Magid Mishneh 1:16; Kneses Hagedola511; Shulchan Gavoa 511:4; Mamar Mordechai 511:1; M”B 511:11; Kaf Hachaim 511:16

[7] Tzaruch Iyun as to the exact measurement of one’s hand and feet. [SSH”K 14 footnote 23 in name of Rav SZ”A]

[8] Biur Halacha 511 “Aval”; Kaf Hachaim 511:14 based on implication of Rosh, brought in Beis Yosef 326 and Y.D. 299:6; Beir Moshe 8:169 in a time of need

Other opinions: Some Poskim however rule one may not heat water to bathe the other limbs of the body, and the allowance is limited to the face, arms and feet. [Shach Y.D. 199:12 in name of Masas Binyoman 5; Aruch Hashulchan 511:6] The Kaf Hachaim ibid concludes to only be lenient in a time of need

[9] Admur ibid; Michaber ibid; Mishneh Beitza 21b

[10] See Q&A

[11] Piskeiy Teshuvos 511:5

[12] 1st opinion in Admur ibid “Therefore, even Rabbinically, it is permitted to bathe the entire body in water that was heated before Yom Tov.”; Michaber 511/2; Rambam 1/16; Rif Beitza 11a

[13] The reason: As according to this opinion, Biblically, since extending a fire and cooking was permitted for the sake of eating and drinking, therefore, it was also permitted for bathing on Yom Tov. Accordingly, we do not suspect that if we permit one to bathe in hot water on Yom Tov that perhaps one will come to heat up water on Yom Tov, being that heating water on Yom Tov is only Rabbinically forbidden, and we do not make a Gezeira Legezeira. [Admur ibid; Taz 511:3; Kaf Hachaim 511:24]

[14] 2nd opinion in Admur ibid; Rama 511/2; Tur 511; Ran in opinion of Tosafus Shabbos 39b; Rosh 3/8 in name of Riva

[15] Admur ibid parentheses in original; Tosafus ibid; Rashba Shabbos 40a

[16] The reason: As according to this opinion, Biblically, since extending a fire and cooking was permitted for the sake of eating and drinking, therefore, it was also permitted for bathing on Yom Tov. Accordingly, we suspect that if we permit one to bathe in hot water on Yom Tov that perhaps one will come to heat up water on Yom Tov for the sake of bathing his entire body, and transgress a Biblical prohibition. [Admur ibid; Taz 511/4; Ran ibid]

[17] Admur ibid; Elya Raba 511:1; Rashba and Ritva ibid; Braisa Shabbos 40a; M”B 511:18; Kaf Hachaim 511:28

The reason: As every limb that he washes is being washed in a permitted method. There is no reason to decree that this may lead one to heating the water on Yom Tov itself, as even if he does, it is permitted to heat up water for the sake of bathing a single limb. The prohibition of heating water only applies if one heats water for the sake of bathing his entire body, being that it is only needed for the pampered. [Admur ibid]

[18] Admur ibid; Ran Beitza ibid

[19] Admur ibid; Rama ibid; Levush 511; M”B 511:18

[20] Kaf Hachaim 511:30

[21] Admur ibid; Michaber 511/1; Ran Beitza 11a; Aterez Zekeinim; Shulchan Gavoa 511:6; M”B 511:9; Kaf Hachaim 511:25

[22] The reason: This is due to a decree that one may come to heat up the water on Yom Tov [i.e. Gzeiras Habalanim]. Even minority of the body is forbidden due to a decree that one may come to bathe his entire body. [M”B 511:9; Kaf Hachaim 511:25 and 27]

[23] Admur ibid; Beis Yosef in name of Ran ibid; Shulchan Gavoa 511:6; Mamar Mordechai 511:3; M”B 511:16; Kaf Hachaim 511:26

Other opinions: It is permitted for one to shower in the outer room of the bathhouse [Beis Hachitzon] with water that was heated before Yom Tov. [Poskim ibid]

[24] See Piskeiy Teshuvos 511:4

[25] Tzaruch Iyun as to the exact measurement of one’s hand and feet. [SSH”K 14 footnote 23 in name of Rav SZ”A]

[26] Conclusion of Kaf Hachaim 511:14

Background: Some Poskim rule it is permitted to heat water on Yom Tov to bathe any limb, so long as it is minority of one’s body. [Michaber Y.D. 199:6; Implication of Rosh, brought in Beis Yosef 326; Rashba Shabbos; Noda Beyehuda Tinyana 25; Machazik Bracha 511:3; Shaareiy Teshuvah 511] Other Poskim however rule one may not heat water to bathe the other limbs of the body, and the allowance is limited to the face, arms and feet. [Shach Y.D. 199:12 in name of Masas Binyoman 5; Aruch Hashulchan 511:6] The Kaf Hachaim ibid concludes to only be lenient in a time of need

[27] Admur 511/1; Michaber 511/2 [hands]; Beis Hillel Mishneh Beitza 21b [feet]; Rambam 1:16 and in Pirush Hamishneh; Kol Bo 58; Rokeiach 299; Levuh 511; Beis David 290; Shulchan Gavoa 511:2; Biur Hagr”a; Bigdei Yesha; Kaf Hachaim 511:12

The reason: As since extending a fire was permitted for the sake of eating, therefore, it was also permitted for even other non-food needs, so long as it is a Yom Tov need. Therefore, it is permitted to heat up a little bit of water on Yom Tov for the sake of bathing with it one’s face, arms and feet. [Admur ibid and 495/3; Beis Yosef 511] Alternatively, the washing of the face, arms and feet is considered a matter of equal necessity to all people, and therefore is permitted under the pretense of Lechol Nefesh Yeiaseh Lachem. [Rashba Avodas Hakodesh 3:4; Kaf Hachaim 511:10]

[28] Rashba Avodas Hakodesh 3:4; Rabbeinu Yerucham; Elya Raba 511:3; M”B 511:8; Kaf Hachaim 511:10

[29] Admur 511/1; Michaber 511/1; Rambam 1/16

The reason: See next that this is dependent on whether the prohibition is Biblcial or Rabbinical.

[30] 1st opinion in Admur ibid; Ran in opinion of Rif; Rambam ibid; Shita Mekubetzes Beitza ibid in name of Ritva

[31] The reason: As Biblically, since extending a fire and cooking was permitted for the sake of eating and drinking, therefore, it was also permitted for bathing on Yom Tov. [Admur ibid]

[32] 2nd opinion in Admur ibid; Rama 511/2; Tur 511; Tosafus Shabbos 39b; Rosh 3/8 in name of Riva

[33] The reason: As the bathing of the entire body is not a need of every person, but rather only for the pampered and spoiled, and the Torah only permitted doing work even for the sake of food, if the work is the need of every person. If, however, it is only needed by the pampered, then it is forbidden to do on Yom Tov. [Admur ibid; Beis Yosef 511 in name of Tosafus ibid; Taz 511:2; M”A 511:4]

[34] SSH”K 14 footnote 21; Beir Moshe 8:159; Piskeiy Teshuvos 511:5

[35] Such as if one places all the water on the fire in one shot, and intend sto use the water to also wash his hands feet and legs. [Admur ibid in parentheses]

[36] See Kaf Hachaim 511:13

[37] Piskeiy Teshuvosw 511:7

[38] 326/1 and 6; Michaber 326/1; Shabbos 40a

[39] Piskeiy Teshuvos 511:7

[40] Water in a vessel: It is permitted to do so even if the cold water is within a vessel. [Setimas Haposkim that only prohibit the hot springs that are within a vessel and not cold water; Implication of M”A 326/8]

Other opinion: Some Poskim rule it is forbidden to bathe in cold water that is in a vessel. [Mordechai, brought in M”A ibid]

[41] Admur 326/6; M”A 326/8; Bach; Maharil 139; Terumos Hadeshen 255; Beis Yosef Y.D. 199; M”B 326/21

Other opinions and Sefaradic custom: Some Poskim rule that today the custom has spread to allow bathing in cold water. [Olas Shabbos 326/16] Accordingly, some Sefaradi Poskim rule it is permitted to bathe in cold water. [Or Letziyon 2/35-2; Implication of Rav Poalim 4/12 and Y.D. 15 regarding a shower, however see Yaskil Avdi 6/1 who is stringent] Practically, each community is to follow his custom. [Kaf Hachaim 326/25 and 31] This custom is omitted by the Michaber and Rama, although is mentioned by the Beis Yosef ibid

When does the custom apply? Admur ibid writes “Due to that not everyone knows to beware in all the below mentioned matters, therefore the custom spread in these provinces to not bathe at all on Shabbos.” From this wording it is implied that only when all these suspicions are applicable are we accustomed to avoid bathing, however from the concluding wording of Admur “therefore the custom spread in these provinces to not bathe at all on Shabbos, not even with cold water” it is implied that the custom spread to all items. Perhaps this is because the main worry which brought about this custom is that one may come to squeeze the hair, and so writes Beis Yosef and M”B ibid; However see Ketzos Hashulchan 133 footnote 8 that the decree only applies when all the suspicions are applicable.

[42] The reason: Being that in any event from the letter of the law it is allowed, and it is only a custom to be stringent, and in a case of pain this stringency need not be kept. [Poskim ibid] 

[43] Piskeiy Teshuvos 511:5

[44] Supplement from Mahadurah Basra chapter 259 Page 884 in the new Shulchan Aruch regarding water heated before Shabbos, and the same would apply here to water heated on Yom Tov, which has the same status as before Shabbos; Chacham Tzevi 11 which forbids for women to immerse in water on Shabbos that is called hot, rather it must be cold or slightly warm; Nodah Beyehudah Tenyana Orach Chayim 24 that women may bathe in warm Mikvaos but not hot Mikvaos; Aruch Hashulchan 326/3; P”M 511 M”Z 5; Ashel Avraham Butchach 326; Tehila Ledavid 326/3; Minchas Shabbos, brought in Ketzos Hashulchan 133 footnote 1; Shevisas Hashabbos Mivaehseil 125; M”B 326/7; Igros Moshe 1/126; SS”K chapter 14 footnote 3; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid; Shabbbos Kehalacha ibid;

Other Poskim: Some Poskim rule that warm water is forbidden to bathe in just like hot water [Beis Meir Y.D. 197/3; Rambam brought in Biur Halacha; However the M”B himself 326/7 writes that bathing in warm water is allowed [for Mikveh]. Some however write that in truth the M”B holds that only water in which some coldness is felt is allowed, and it is by this warmth that he allows to bathe, however water which its heat is felt is forbidden as writes the Rambam, as he brings in Biur Halacha. [Az Nidbaru, brought in Piskeiy Teshuvos 326/2].   

[45] 326/6

[46] See Shabbos Kehalacha 18/29; Piskeiy Teshuvos 326/1 and footnote 14

[47] In Halacha 4 [brought above in Halacha 1C] regarding water heated on Shabbos Admur mentions “even if it will not be heated to Yad Soledes”, implying that before Shabbos only water that is heated to Yad Soledes is forbidden. [Ketzos Hashulchan ibid] See Shabbos Kehalacha ibid 18 Tosefes Biur 1

[48] Tehila Ledavid 326/3; Ketzos Hashulchan 133 footnote 1 in name of Minchas Shabbos; Minchas Yitzchak 4/44; Or Letziyon 2/35-3; See SS”K chapter 14 footnote 3; Piskeiy Teshuvos 511/4-6; Nitei Gavriel 31/7 based on Tehilah Ledavid 326/3

[49] As the Rashba explicitly writes that people do not generally bathe in hot water that is above Yad Soledes.

[50] Aruch Hashulchan 326/3; This ruling is also found in the Chacham Tzevi 11 which forbids for women to immerse in water on Shabbos that is called hot, rather it must be cold or slightly warm; Zera Emes 71

[51] See Piskeiy Teshuvos 326:2 and 511:5

[52] Tehila Ledavid 326/3 regarding water heated by sun; See also regarding water placed on fire before Shabbos: Rav Akiva Eiger on M”A 326/4; Setimas Harishonim; SSH”K 14/3 in name of Rav SZ”A; Final position of Shevet Halevi 3/33; 4/31; 7/32; Shabbos Kehalacha 18/34; Piskeiy Teshuvos 326/2; See Shabbos Kehalacha 18 Biurim 5

[53] See Admur 326/4 that even if the water was heated Biheter on Shabbos it has the status of heated on Shabbos; Implication of Admur in Supplement from Mahadurah Basra chapter 259 Page 884 in the new Shulchan Aruch regarding solar heated water; Implications of M”B 511:12; SSH”K 14 footnote 17 and so concludes Piskeiy Teshuvos 326/2 and 511:5

[54] So is the ruling of Admur ibid; Piskeiy Teshuvos 511:5

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