Chapter 11: Tzoa-Davening and learning near feces and urine
- The Biblical prohibition:
- It is Biblically forbidden for one to pray, say the Shema, or learn Torah, within the sight, or close proximity, of feces [i.e. Tzoa].
- The source in scripture: This prohibition is derived from the verse in Scripture “Vehayah Machanecha Kadosh Velo Yiraeh Ervas Davar.”
- Torah Thoughts: One may not even think words of Torah within the sight, or close proximity, of feces [i.e. Tzoa].
- Sight of feces:
- It is forbidden to daven or learn Torah if the feces is within ones sight, even if it is very far away, past one’s four Amos. Thus one must walk away from it until it is no longer in his sight or turn around.
- Blind: Even if one is blind, he must distance himself from the feces the same distance as one who is able to see. Thus one must walk away from it until person who could see would no longer be able to see it, or is to turn around.
- Night: At night one must distance himself from the feces the same distance required during the day. Thus one must walk away from it until he would no longer be able to see it even during the day, or is to turn around.
- Feces behind one’s body: Behind one’s body is not considered within one’s sight.
- Feces by one’s sides: One’s sides are judged based on their angle. Any area within one’s sight is considered to be in front of him, even if the feces is not directly in front of him but more to the side. Thus, one’s front side is considered within his sight. If the feces is directly by one’s side, it is initially to be distanced to the point one does not see it, although in a time of need he can consider it out of his sight.
B. Not to be within 4 Amos of the feces:
- It is forbidden to pray or learn Torah within a four-cubit radius of feces.
- Feces behind person: This prohibition prohibition applies even if the feces is not within one’s view, such as if it is behind the person.
- No smell: This prohibition applies even if the feces contains no smell.
- Inside house: If one is distanced 4 amos from the feces and it is behind one’s view, he may learn Torah and Daven even if he is within the same room as the feces.
- If the feces gives off a foul odor, one may not pray or learn Torah within 4 amos of the smell. Meaning even if one is more than four Amos of the Tzoa, if he is within four Amos of the smell, it is forbidden to Daven or learn.
- Within the sight of the smell: One may Daven or learn within sight of the area which contains the smell, so long as the feces is not within sight.
- One who cannot smell: One may not Daven or learn within 4 amos of the smell of Tzoa even if he is unable to smell, such as he has a cold or a stuffed nose.
2. Dry Tzoa:
- Even if the feces is as dry as earthenware, it is still defined as feces regarding the prohibition of studying Torah or praying in its view or proximity.
- Dry to point that will break: If, however, the feces is so dry that if one were to roll it on the ground then it would break to many small pieces, then it loses its Tzoa status. If, however, it will only break into two pieces, then it retains its status of feces.
- Tzoa is covered:
- If the feces is covered, then it is permitted to Daven or learn even within its four Amos and within its sight. This allowance is learned from the verse which states “and you shall cover it”.
- Glass: This applies even if it is covered with glass.
- If Tzoa smells: If the Tzoa is covered but releases a foul odor, one must distance himself until he no longer smells the odor. [However, it is not required for him to distance himself 4 amos from where the smell ends.]
- Tzoa on a high or low surface:
- If there is tzoa in an area, or on an item, that is 10 tefach tall, or ten Tefach deep, and the surface is 4×4 Tefach, then there is no need to distance oneself 4 amos from the feces and it may likewise be within one’s sight. However, there are opinions which forbid having the feces within one’s sight even if they are in a different domain. [However even according to this opinion there is no need to distance oneself 4 amos from the feces.] Practically the main opinion is like the former opinion, however it is best to be stringent like the second opinion.
- Cannot see the feces: If the feces is in a different domain, then if he cannot see it such as if it is nighttime or one closes his eyes, then according to all it is permitted to learn Torah and Daven even if the feces is front of him.
- Smell: The above is only allowed if one cannot smell the feces. If one can smell the feces, then according to all opinions it is forbidden to learn or Daven even if the feces are in another room.
- Urine: If urine is on a surface that is 10 tefach high or steep, then even if the surface is not 4×4 Tefachim it is considered to be in a different domain.
- Having Sefarim or Tefillin near Tzoa: One may not place revealed Tefillin or Sefarim within the same room as revealed Tzoa, unless the Sefarim are 10 Tefachim high [even if not 4×4] from ground or is covered.
- Tzoa in next room-May one pray or learn in a room if he can see feces from his open door/window?
- If a person is in one room and the feces are in another room, then even if the door is opened between the two rooms and he is sitting by the opening which is near the feces, nevertheless it is permitted to read the Shema in that area so long as he does not smell the feces. If one can smell the feces, then according to all opinions it is forbidden to learn or Daven even if the feces are in another room. However, there is an opinion that rules it is forbidden to read the Shema while the feces is within one’s view, even when it is in a different domain. Practically, the main ruling follows the former opinion. [Thus, the feces may be within 4 amos of the person outside the room and the door may be open with the visible feces.] Nevertheless, it is proper to suspect for the latter opinion [and not have the feces within one’s sight].
- According to all it suffices to close one’s eyes when inside the house even if one is facing it, and at night, if one cannot see the bathroom due to lack of light, it is permitted to pray or learn in ones house even if one is facing it through an open window or door.
- Tzoa on the skin and body:
- It is forbidden to Daven or learn Torah if there are feces on one’s skin.
- This applies even if it is covered over by clothing.
- If the feces on one’s skin is dry and it has no substance or smell, meaning it is a mere stain, it is permitted to Daven and learn with it on him.
- Anus: By the anus area, if feces can be seen when sitting, then according to all it is forbidden to Daven and learn Torah.
- Tzoa on one’s clothing:
- If one has feces on his inner clothing, then if it is covered by outer clothing, it is permitted to Daven and learn with it on him.
- Nevertheless, it is a Midas Chassidus to change from such clothes, even if it only has urine on it.
- If there is Tzoa stuck under one’s shoe then it is forbidden to Daven or learn.
- Tzoa of a child:
- Lechtachila: During prayer and learning it is best to distance oneself from the feces of even a one-day old child.
- Letter of law: From the letter of the law, only if a child is able to eat a Kezayis of grain within Kdei Achilas Peras [4 minutes] is his feces and urine like the Tzoa of an adult. If, however, he cannot consume this amount in this amount of time, then from the letter of the law his Tzoa is Halachically meaningless.
- If the child was able to eat this this amount even one time in his life, then even if he later became weak and can no longer do so, his Tzoa is like that of an adult.
- Even if the child has never eaten grain but is old enough to do so, his feces receive the same law as that of an adult.
- Baby made in a diaper: If the child is not old enough to digest grain, then from the letter of the law it is permitted to daven near him even if he smells. If, however, the child is old enough to digest grains, then if it smells one must distance himself to the point that he cannot smell the Tzoa, although he does not need to distance himself four Amos from the smell, if the diaper is covered. If one does not smell anything, then if the diaper is covered one may Daven next to him.
- May one Daven near a bag of used diapers? If the bag is closed, it is permitted to do so. However, this is only on condition that one does not smell the diapers.
- Animal and bird Tzoa:
- The general rule-no bad scent: In general, the feces of animals and birds do not have the status of Tzoa and there is hence no need to distance oneself from it at all unless the feces has a bad scent dissipating from it, as will be explained. It is therefore permitted to pray and learn Torah even if it is next to one’s feet and within one’s view. There are however several animals and birds which are of exception to this rule and their feces have the same status as human feces, as will be explained.
- Has a bad scent: If the animal feces have a bad scent dissipating from it then one must distance himself from it until he can no longer smell it. However, there is no requirement to distance oneself 4 cubits from where the smell ceases and rather simply distancing oneself until the smell can no longer be scented suffices. [Likewise, there is no requirement to distance oneself from it until it is no longer in his sight.]
- The animals and birds whose feces have the same status as human feces: The feces of the following animals and birds have the same status as human feces, of which the law is that one must distance himself four cubits from the feces, and if they have a bad scent then one must distance himself four cubits from the area in which its scent ceases, and it may not be within his view, while praying or learning Torah. The reason for this is because their feces generally have a terrible stench just like feces of a human. Nonetheless, they retain the status of human feces even if they happen to not smell.
- The soft feces and urine that are expelled by a donkey after returning from travel.
- The feces of a cat.
- The feces of a rodent.
- Corpse: The corpse of an animal [Niveila] which smells bad has the same Halachic status as human feces.
- The feces of an English red hen have the same status of human feces.
- Chicken coop and barn: A chicken coop has the same status as human feces due to their intense bad smell. [The same applies for a barn and any area of animals. Accordingly, one is to beware not rent a vacation home in such vicinities where the stench of a barn reaches one’s nose. If one already did so, then during times that one can smell the awful stench of the barn one is to avoid learning Torah or praying until the stench leaves or he enters an area that does not smell, although in a time of need one may be lenient to spray air freshener in the room to overcome the smell. Likewise, in a time of need, one may be lenient if he is no longer conscious of the smell due to becoming accustomed to it.]
- Dog and pig excrement used for tanning leather: The feces of a dog or a pig receives the same status as human feces if one places leather into it [for the sake of tanning the leather, as in such a case it gives off a terrible stench]. However, regular feces of a dog or pig that is not mixed with leather, is not considered like human feces but rather like the feces of any other animal, and hence one may pray within its view, and next to it, so long as its smell does not reach one’s nose.
- Mouth of a pig: The mouth of a pig has the same status as human feces, being that they spend their time within feces and hence receive the status of a Geraf Shel Reiy.
- List of feces of animals that are not problematic: The feces of all animals and birds not listed above, do not have the status of human feces, and hence one is only required to distance oneself from them if the scent reaches one’s nose as explained above. This includes the feces of the following animals [a partial nonexclusive list]:
- Cow feces
- dog feces
- pig feces
- chicken feces
- bird droppings
- horse feces
- Identifying the source of the feces: Regular animal feces that is found on the ground is not assumed to be from one of the above problematic animals unless one can recognize it as such, or it has a bad stench and the problematic animal is commonly found in the area.
- Practical application regarding pets: Those who have pet animals and birds in their house must especially be careful in the above matter, not to pray or learn Torah near the feces of their pet, unless it is not in the list of problematic animals and birds, and the scent does not reach one’s nose. For example, one may pray next to his birdcage which contains bird droppings, or next to his aquarium which contains fish droppings. However, he may not pray near or within sight of feces that were dropped by his pet cat.
- Safek Tzoa:
- If there is a question as to whether there is Tzoa in one’s vicinity, then if one is in place that usually contains Tzoa, such as an open diaper garbage, then it is forbidden to daven and learn there until one does a thorough check. If the area does not usually contain feces, such as a typical room of a home, it is permitted to Daven and learn there without checking.
- Safek urine: If there is a question as to whether there is urine in one’s vicinity, it is permitted to Daven and learn even without checking the area.
- Doubt if Tzoa is of a dog or child: If there is doubt as to whether a certain Tzoa is from a human or dog, then one is to follow the more common form of Tzoa in that area.
- Davened and then found Tzoa:
- In general, prior to prayer or Torah study, one is not required to check his surroundings to make sure that it does not contain any feces. However, in an area where problematic feces is commonly found, one is required to check within four cubits of his surroundings prior to praying there to make sure that it is clean of feces. He however is not required to check further than his four cubits. The following will discuss the law if one did not do so and then found feces in his vicinity after the prayer.
- Within one’s four cubits: If one davened within four Amos of Tzoa of a human, then if this occurred in an area that should have been checked beforehand that it is clean of feces, then he must repeat the prayer of Shema and Shemoneh Esrei, including the blessings of the Shema. If however it was not in area that needed to be checked before the prayer, then there is no need to repeat the prayer even though in truth he had prayed within its four cubits.
- Past one’s four cubits: If after one’s prayer he notices that he was within sight of feces which were past his four cubits, then there is no need for him to repeat the prayer even if he prayed in an area that he should have checked beforehand.
- Urine: One who after his prayer found urine within his four cubits, is not required to repeat the prayer even if he prayed in an area that he should have checked beforehand.
- Other blessings: If one said a blessing, or recited Birchas Hamazon, within four cubits of feces, there is no need to repeat the blessing even if he said the blessings in an area that he should have checked beforehand.
- Animal Tzoa: All the above is regarding human feces, however, by animal feces, then even if it has the same status as human feces, one is not obligated to repeat Davening, as animal feces are prohibit prayer due to mere doubt, or only Rabbinically.
- Human urine has the same status as human Tzoa, and hence it is forbidden to pray or learn within its sight or within its four Amos.
- Nullifying the urine with water: If one adds a Revius of water into a single urination, the urine is considered nullified, and it is now permitted to learn and Daven in its presence and in its view and approximation. This applies whether one urinated a lot or a little, nonetheless a Revius of water is required and a Revius of water suffices.
- The same applies if one urinated into a Revius of water, then the urine is considered nullified if the water is not inside of a urinal or toilet.
- Urinated more than once-how much water is needed: A Revius of water is required for each session of urination. Thus, if one urinated twice, irrelevant of amount, it requires two Revius of water in order to nullify its state of feces. If one urinated three times then it requires three Revius of water, and so on and so forth forever.
- Urine absorbed within the earth: If one urinated over earth and the earth absorbed the urine, then if the urine is not Tofeiach Al Menas Lehatfiach, which means that there is not enough urine on the surface of the earth for it to be touched and then wet another item, then it is considered nullified even if one does not add any water to it and it is hence permitted to daven and learn Torah in its presence without nullifying the urine. If, however, it is wet to the above point, then it is forbidden to pray or study Torah near it or within its view until it is nullified. However, for this purpose it suffices to simply dampen it with any amount of water and a Revius of water is not required.
- Urine absorbed within clothing- external clothing: If urine got onto one’s outer clothing, then if the urine is Tofeiach Al Menas Lehatfiach, then it is forbidden to Daven and learn with this clothing until he nullifies the urine.
- In such a case it suffices to simply dab water on to the area, and one is then able to Daven and learn. There is no need for a Revius of water.
- If the urine on the clothing is not wet enough to be considered Tofeich Al Menas Lehatfiach, then it does not need to be nullified. However, it is a Midas Chassidus to change clothing even if it has a few mere drops of urine.
- On Shabbos one may not purposely place water onto the area of the urine, however, he may dry his hands on the wet area after washing them after using the bathroom, and it suffices.
- Urine absorbed within clothing-undergarments: If one urinated in his underwear, it is permitted for him to daven and study Torah so long as it is covered by an outer clothing.
- Urinated during prayer: If the urine is Tofeich even on the outer clothing, then by Shema one must change clothing, while in middle of Shemoneh Esrei one may continue Davening and does not even have to distance himself from a puddle of urine that is within his 4 amos.
- Mayim Seruchim-Foul water:
- Water which is very foul, such as water which had flax or cannabis soaked in it, has the same Halachic status as human feces being that they didn’t generally have a terrible stench. Hence one must distance himself four cubits from the area in which its scent ceases, and it may not be within his view, while praying or learning Torah.
- Same status as feces: A potty [made of materials to be explained] has the same status as Tzoa and prohibits one from praying or studying Torah within its presence, if it is within his view or within four cubits. This applies even if it is clean and does not smell. This applies whether the potty is designated for only urine or for only feces, and certainly if it is designated for both.
- Designated for other purposes: If the potty is designated for other purposes other than only urinating or defecating, then it does not have the status of feces if it is clean and does not smell.
- The materials-Earthenware or wood: A potty only retains the status of feces if it is made of earthenware or wood, and is designated only for that purpose, as earthenware and wood are very absorbent materials.
- The materials-Metal or glass: If, however, the potty is made of metal or glass, then it does not have the status of feces and one may pray and study Torah near it if it is clean and does not smell. The same applies to an earthenware potty that is glazed with glass.
- If a metal or glass potty is dirty but its feces is covered: If it is covered or turned over in a way that its opening is towards the ground, then even if it has feces in it, one may pray and learn in its presence, if it has no smell.
- What is the law of a plastic potty? It has the same status as does a glass and metal potty which when clean, and does not smell, may be prayed next to, being that plastic does not absorb the smell of the feces.
- If the potty is covered: A potty which is covered over with another vessel, may be in one’s presence when learning and praying, even if it is made of earthenware or wood.
- Must the covering cover over the entire potty? The covering does not need to be touching the ground. As long as it fully covers the potty at its top and is within three Tefachim from the ground, it is a valid covering.
- If the potty is upside down: However, if it is not covered by another vessel but is merely turned upside down, then its prohibition remains, with exception to a glass or metal potty, as explained above.
- If one places the potty under ones bed is it considered covered? If a potty is placed under a bed which its boards are within three Tefach of the ground, then its considered as if it is covered, as we apply the law of Lavud. If the boards are not within three Tefach of the ground, then it is not considered covered even if the blanket which covers the bed reaches close to the ground, unless it fully covers the potty from being seen.
- If the potty is behind a bookcase or the like, may one pray within four cubits of it? If the item that it is behind of was not placed there to serve as a wall, but rather was placed as a piece of furniture, then it only helps to consider the potty to be in a different room if the item goes from wall to wall. If, however, one specifically placed the item there to serve as a wall, then it works to consider the potty to be in a different room even if it does not go from wall to wall.
- If child is sitting on potty: If a child sits on a potty to go to the bathroom and completely covers the potty with his clothes to the point that no part of the potty is visible, then it is considered a valid covering to permit one to study Torah and pray in its presence if the smell does not reach the person.
- Mouth of a pig: The mouth of a pig has the same status as an earthenware potty, being that they spend their time within feces and hence receive the status of a Geraf Shel Reiy. It is thus forbidden to study Torah or pray opposite them even when they are coming out of the river after cleaning themselves.
A. The prohibition to think words of Torah or pray in a bathroom:
- It is Biblically forbidden to learn Torah or pray within a bathroom, just like it is forbidden for one to do so within [a four cubit radius] of excrement. This applies even if the bathroom is clean of feces or urine. It is forbidden to even think words of Torah without verbalizing them.
- May one think of the laws that pertain to a bathroom? In a bathroom it is forbidden to even learn the laws that relate to a bathroom. [However it is certainly permitted to think of a law pertaining to the bathroom in order to prevent one from sinning.]
- A new bathroom: If the bathroom is new and has yet to be used, then there is no biblical prohibition involved in doing so. Nonetheless, there is a rabbinical prohibition involved in verbalizing words of Torah or prayer even in a new bathroom that has never yet been used, being that since it has become designated for a purpose of filth it is therefore unbefitting to study Torah or pray to Hashem while there, even prior to it having become filthy for its first time. Nonetheless, most Achronim conclude that it remains permitted to think words of Torah while there, until the bathroom is used even one time.
- May one enter a bathroom during the midst of a Halachic discussion or analysis? Yes. This applies even if he will possibly continue thinking Torah in the bathroom. Nevertheless, one must do all he can to withhold himself from thinking of Torah while there. Certainly, he may not verbalize the Torah words in the bathroom. Some Gedolei Yisrael would bring a book with them to read in the bathroom in order to remove their minds from Torah.
- May one enter the bathroom if he can hear a Torah lesson that is taking place in the vicinity? Yes. However, one is to remove his mind from the Torah words. If one is listening to a Torah lesson on audio, he should turn it off prior to entering into the bathroom. Initially a Shul should not build a bathroom close enough to the sanctuary that the prayer or Shiurim can be heard.
- May one perform a Mitzvah in a bathroom? One may not initially perform a Mitzvah in a bathroom being that it is a belittlement to the Mitzvah. However, Bedieved, or in a time of need, it is permitted to perform Mitzvos in unclean areas such as a bathroom. One may even initially slaughter in animal in an unclean area. Likewise, one may even initially perform Mitzvos that relate to a man and his fellow, such as charity and kindness, in a bathroom. According to all one may not contemplate the laws of the Mitzvah while in the bathroom. Likewise, one may not say a blessing on the Mitzvah in that area.
- May one think of the logistics of performing a Mitzvah when he is in the bathroom? Some write that doing so is permitted. Others however rule it is forbidden to do so. Hence in their opinion one may not think about giving Tzedaka, building a Sukkah, or Shabbos needs while in a bathroom.
- What should one think about when he is in a bathroom? During the week: Being that it is forbidden for one to think Torah when he is in a bathroom, therefore when one enters a bathroom it is proper for him to think of the accounting of his finances in order so he not come to think words of Torah. On Shabbos: On Shabbos, being that it is forbidden for one to think of his business accounting, one should picture in his mind interesting structures and sculptures and the like, which attract one’s mind and will divert it from coming to think of holy matters.
- May one think about G-d in a bathroom? Being it is forbidden to think words of Torah in a bathroom it is certainly forbidden to think about G-d in a bathroom. However, there are Poskim that rule it is allowed to think of G-d in a bathroom and only words of Torah are forbidden.
- May one think of matters that bring one towards humility and humbleness in a bathroom? Yes.
- May one think of matters that help work on ones character in a bathroom? Yes. However, one must be careful not to think of Torah passages that relate to these matters while there.
- May one read Kosher books of philosophy and science in a bathroom? Yes. The Yaavetz would read secular philosophy books that have been accepted amongst Jewry, such as Sefer Hamidos of Aristotle, and science books written by the Radak and Rav Shmuel Ben Tivon.
- May one read stories of Tzaddikim in a bathroom? Stories from Tanach and the Talmud are forbidden to be read in a bathroom as they are actual words of Torah. However, stories of other Tzaddikim and Gedolei Yisrael seemingly may be read in a bathroom.
- May one answer a Halachic question in a bathroom? If one was asked a Halachic question in a bathroom, it is forbidden to answer the question. Furthermore, one may not even tell him the law that it is forbidden to answer these questions in a bathroom. [If however one was asked a question that is pertinent to the bathroom some Poskim rule one may answer him without mentioning the wording of a Halachic ruling.]
- May one tell someone a Halachic ruling in order to prevent them from doing a sin? If someone is doing a prohibited action in a bathroom, one is permitted to tell him that it is Halachically forbidden for him to do so. This may be said even in Hebrew. He may explicitly tell him that the matter is forbidden to be done and it is not necessary to merely say “do not do this.”
- May one mention a Halachic allowance in a bathroom? It is permitted for one to tell his friend to do a certain matter for him even if it is understood from this request that it is Halachicly permitted to be done in a bathroom. It is however forbidden to explicitly say that it is permitted to do this matter.
- May one think of Torah in order to prevent himself from thinking forbidden thoughts? It is permitted to think words of Torah in a bathroom in order to remove forbidden thoughts from one’s mind. Thus, if a woman entered into his thoughts, he may think words of Torah. [The same applies for any evil thought.]
- May one speak Hebrew in a bathroom? It is permitted to speak of mundane matters in Lashon Hakodesh [Hebrew] in a bathroom. However, it is an act of piety to be stringent [and avoid speaking Lashon Hakodesh at all in a bathroom].
- May one mention G-d’s name in a bathroom? One may not mention the name of G-d in a bathroom, whether in Hebrew or English. Some Poskim rule one may not mention even the metaphoric terms of G-d in Hebrew, such as Chanun and Rachum. However, these terms may be mentioned in English.
- The following terms may not be used in a bathroom:
- Rachmana or Rachmana Litzlan
- G-d or Thank G-d.
- Hakadosh Baruch Hu.
- Hashem or Baruch Hashem-see footnote.
- Regarding “Eibeshter” see footnote.
- The following terms may be used in a bathroom:
- The one above.
- Master of the world.
- May one say the word Shalom in a bathroom? Saying Shalom Aleichem: In a bathroom it is forbidden to greet a friend with the word “Shalom” [i.e. Shalom Aleichem], being that Shalom is the name of G-d.
- Calling one’s friend by the name Shalom: It is disputed whether one may mention the names of people who are called Shalom. Practically it is accustomed to being lenient and allow mentioning the names of people who are called Shalom.
- May one say the word Shabbos in a bathroom? Some Poskim write one is to avoid saying the word Shabbos within a bathroom, or bathhouse. Nevertheless, one may call his friend by the name “Shabsi.” One may also say the word Shabbo [without the “s”].
- Answering Amen: It is forbidden for one to answer amen [to a blessing or Kaddish] in a bathroom. [However, one may answer Amen to a mundane matter, such as if one heard someone bless a friend, then he may answer Amen.]
B. Learning near a bathroom:
- House bathroom-A bathroom which shares its walls with other rooms: A bathroom which does not have its own walls but rather shares walls with another room [i.e. a typical house bathroom], is not considered like feces and one may thus Daven or learn Torah next to. Thus, it is permitted to learn and pray near the walls or door of a bathroom that is in a house or building room [i.e. a typical house bathroom]. However, one may not pray or learn within two meters of the toilet if the bathroom door is open. Likewise one may not pray if the toilet is within his sight.
- An independent bathroom building-mobile bathroom: It is forbidden to pray within two meters of the walls of a mobile bathroom, or external bathroom building, just as it is prohibited to learn or pray within the sight or within four cubits of actual excrement. Likewise one may not pray or learn when this bathroom is within one’s sight. One is to thus turn his back to the bathroom walls to be allowed to pray and learn.
- A urinal: If the bathroom is only designated for urine, then its walls are not considered like feces even if it has its own walls. [If, however, it has a terrible stench of urine, then its walls are like feces.]
- A new bathroom: A new bathroom which was never yet used is not considered like feces and one may thus Daven or learn Torah next to it within its 4 amos, and with it within one’s sight, but one may not Daven or learn inside of it.
- Flatulence-Smell of feces but no feces in area:
- If there is no longer any feces in the house, but its smell is still there, such as if it was just removed from the home, then one who does not smell it may Daven or learn Torah in the area. However, one who still smells it, may not Daven or learn Torah in the area until the smell dissipates.
- Flatulence-Davening: A person who smells the scent of flatulence may not Daven. This applies whether he released the gas or it was released by another person, nonetheless he may not pray until the smell goes away. If this occurs in the middle of his prayer, then he must stop Davening until the smell passes.
- Flatulence-Torah learning: A person who smells the scent of flatulence may nonetheless continue to study Torah or begin studying Torah, if it came from another person. If, however, he smells the flatulence that he himself released then he may not learn Torah until it smell passes.
- Tzoa in shul:
- The law by the Chazan: If there is Tzoa in shul, then if it is within the four cubits of the chazzan, or if he can smell it, then he must stop Davening until the Tzoa is covered or removed. If it is not within his four cubits and he cannot smell it, then by Pesukei Dezimra he may continue to pray, while by Birchas Shema or Chazaras Hashatz he must stop the prayer until the feces is removed or covered being that he fulfills the obligation for the public.
- Scent of feces in Shul: If the Tzoa is covered [or cannot be found] then one is to spray air freshener or deodorant in the area and if the smell goes away then one may continue to Daven.
- Urine: If there is urine in the synagogue and it does not give off a bad smell, then the congregation may continue their prayer so long as they distance themselves four cubits from it.
- Laws of a Merchatz/bathhouse:
- New: One may daven inside a new bathhouse that has never yet been used.
- Middle room–changing area: In the middle room of the bathhouse in which some are naked, and some are not, is forbidden for one to verbally learn Torah or pray in the changing area of the bathhouse even if there is no one naked in sight. However, one may think words of Torah, and give a Pesak Halacha, and say Shalom to his friend, even when there are naked people present.
- One may give a Halachic ruling in the area without going into detail of its reasoning, as this is considered like thought. [Thus, if one is asked a Halachic question, he may answer that one is not allowed to talk words of Torah in this area.]
- Answering Amen: One may answer amen in this area.
- Bathing room: In the bathing room in which all people are naked, the following is forbidden:
- Torah: It is forbidden to think or speak words of Torah, or answer a Halacha, even in a language other than Hebrew.
- One may not speak or even think of the laws of a Merchatz while in the shower/washing room.
- Shalom: One may not say Shalom Aleichem in the shower or Mikveh area, as Shalom is the name of Hashem. One may be lenient to call a friend by the name shalom.
- One may think words of Teshuvah; Mussar; Kavanos etc even in the Mikveh.
- Names of Hashem: One may not say any of the seven names of G-d while in a bathhouse, even in the changing room. G-d’s name may not be said even in English. Thus, one may not say the word G-d.
- Hebrew: One may speak in Hebrew in a bathhouse, although it is Midas Chassidus to avoid doing so.
- Stopping a person from transgressing a prohibition: If someone is doing a prohibited action in a bathroom or bathhouse, then one is permitted to tell him that it is Halachically forbidden for him to do it, in order so he stop. There is no need for one to word his statement in a way that he avoids saying that it is an actual prohibition.
- General laws of Makon Tinofus-Dirty and smelly alleyways:
- Alleyways that have Tzoa and urine have the same status as a bathroom and Merchatz.
- One may not think Torah in them at all. One may not even think about these Halachos while in them.
- From letter of the law, one may speak Hebrew, but it is a Midas Chassidus to avoid doing so.
- One may not say G-ds name in any language while there.
 See Shulchan Aruch Chapters 76-87 [Admur, Michaber, Kaf Hachaim, and Piskeiy Teshuvos]; Ketzos Hashulchan Chapter 10:1-16; Ishei Yisrael Chapters 51-54; Tefila Kehilchasa Chapter 2:17-22
 See Admur 74:1; 79:1-2; 87:4; Ketzos Hashulchan 10:1
 See Admur 79:1; 81:3; Ketzos Hashulchan 10:2
 See Admur 76:1; Ketzos Hashulchan 10:3
 See Admur 79:4-5; Ketzos Hashulchan 10:4
 Ketzos ibid footnote 8
 Admur 79:5; Michaber 79:2
 See Admur 76:4-5; Ketzos Hashulchan 10:5
 Admur 76:2-4; Ketzos Hashulchan 10:5
 Admur 81:1-2; Ketzos Hashulchan 10:6
 Admur 76:3; 79:8-9; Ketzos Hashulchan 10:7; Piskeiy Teshuvos 79:6-7
 See Admur 76:10; 79:9; Ketzos Hashulchan 10:8
 See Admur 76:10; 81:3; 185; Ketzos Hashulchan 10:15
 Admur 76:4; 77:1-2; 78:1-3; 82:2; Ketzos Hashulchan 10:5, 9
 See Admur 86:1; Ketzos Hashulchan 10:7
 See Admur 87:1-4; Ketzos Hashulchan 10:10, 12
 See Admur 83:1-4; 85:4; Ketzos Hashulchan 10:11 and 16
 See Admur 79:3, 6, 11; Ketzos Hashulchan 10:11, 13
 See Admur 79:3; Ketzos Hashulchan 10:14
 See Admur 84:1; Ketzos Hashulchan 10:16
 See Admur 85:1; Ketzos Hashulchan 10:16
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