- Question: [Tuesday, 17th Mar Cheshvan, 5781]
You have written in the past on numerous occasions that time that a mikvah is not available it is permitted for a man who is a Baal Keri to take a shower for several minutes. I want to inform you that in truth a shower is not valid as it is not a vessel and in order to perform the 9 Kavim properly it needs to be done through a vessel. Second off, even if one were to define it as a vessel, it ends up that one is pouring more than 3 times as every hole is like a different pouring. I was informed by a witness that the Tchebiner gaon said a shower is invalid. And if it matters to you, I heard the same From Maran Rav Aharon Kotler that it is invalid. Most moray horoah challenged with these 2 points do not have a coherent answer.
It is correct to state that there exist Poskim who challenge the validity of a shower in place of a mikvah to fulfill the option of 9 Kavim. This is however primarily not due to the reason you mention but rather due to that according to the Raavad the water must be poured by a human, known as Koach Gavra, and that in the opinion of the Poskim toAs invalidate a shower, we rule like the Raavad. Nonetheless, the vast majority of responses that I’ve seen by Gedolei Yisrael and Gedolei Haposkim already from the previous generation have all defended the use of showers in a time of need. This is likewise the ruling of all Rabbanim that I have spoken with. Practically, even if you were correct, and even in accordance to those opinions who invalidate a shower, one who does not have the ability to go to a Mikveh has nothing to lose by using a shower. What sin has he done by trying to purify himself in the only method available which is valid according to the vast majority of Poskim and Gedolei Yisrael. Even you should be stringent like this opinion, as you have nothing to lose by doing so. What is the gain of discouraging others to use the shower method? To note, that when the Lubavitcher Rebbe was addressed this question, he stated that there are valid arguments to be made on both sides in regards to whether the shower should be viewed as valid for 9 Kavim or not. I think it is clearly understood that the way your question was written is not the most respectful to the great Poskim who all defended its allowance ability, and seemingly you yourself are not a Morah Horah, and should not be involving yourself giving Halachic arbitrations to others. I highly question whether you have indeed even reviewed the many responses of the Gedolei Haposkim which defend the use of a shower to which you could claim that they have no coherent answer. Certainly, we do not make Halachic rulings based on hearsay in the name of Rabbanim, and certainly not to override the vast majority of the opinions, especially when there is nothing to lose in even you being stringent. Also, for the future, I advise you to read our article in full including the footnotes where we usually try to cover all the opinions on the subject as well as list all of the opinions that we based our conclusion on.
Sources: Regarding Tishe Kavim for a Baal Keri: Admur 88:1; 606:11; Taz 88:1; Olas Tamid 88:2; M”A 606:9; Elya Raba 606:11; Mishneh Mikvaos 3:4; Poskim who defend the validity of a shower: Taharas Mayim [Telushkin] page 325 [there he states that the famed Chassid rabbi itch Der Masmid argued to invalidate the shower]; Kinyan Torah 1:33; Tzur Yaakov 9; Chelkas Yaakov 3:61 Minchas Yitzchak 4:51; Vayaan Yosef 1:45; Divrei Yaatziv Likkut 13; Beir Moshe 6:74; Shraga Hameir 1:16; Sheivet Halevi 1:24; Piskeiy Teshuvos 88:5; Poskim who invalidate a shower: Mishneh Halachos 3:2-6; 3:8; 5:19-22; 6:23; Opinion of the Chazon Ish recorded in Daas Noteh page 245 and so is the opinion of rabbi Chaim Kanievsky. The Rebbe’s opinion: Igros Kodesh 22:350