- Question: [Tuesday 7th Teves, 5781]
There is a strange smell of spoiled food in our Beis Midrash, and we have tried to discover its source unsuccessfully. My question is whether it is permitted for us to continue learning and Davening in the area? The smell is very pungent.
It is forbidden to learn Torah or pray in the vicinity of the smell. So, you’re left with two choices: 1) Search harder until you find the source of the smell [Yagata Umatzasa Taamin. If you have a fridge in the area, I suggest checking all foods in the fridge, as well as in the back of the fridge which sometimes gathers liquid which can spoil and release a pungent smell into the whole room.] 2) Open the windows and spray air freshener periodically in order to blend out the smell.
Sources: See Admur 79:8-9 and 86:1 that spoiled water is treated like actual feces and requires one to distance himself four Amos from the area that the smell ends [if it is not covered, otherwise distancing oneself until he can no longer smells it suffices] and that it should not be within his sight, and the same would apply to all spoiled food as rules M”B 79:23 in name of Chayeh Adam; Piskeiy Teshuvos 86:1; 79:5 regarding air freshener and that it is valid for use when the source of the smell is covered