Matters of holiness in bathroom

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Performing holy matters in a bathroom: [1]

These laws are spread throughout chapters 76-87 in the Shulchan Aruch and belong to the section of laws dealing with Kerias Shema and prayer. Only those laws which pertain to a bathroom are brought in this Halacha. A more meticulous coverage of the subject will G-d willing be published in our work on “The Laws of Prayer”.


A. The prohibition to think words of Torah or pray in a bathroom:[2]

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.[3] This applies even if the bathroom is clean of feces or urine.[4] It is forbidden to even think words of Torah without verbalizing them.[5]

May one think of the laws that pertain to a bathroom?[6] 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.[7]]

The severity of the prohibition:[8] If one transgressed the above and recited Shema [or learned Torah] within the forbidden area, on him it says “Since you have disgraced the word of G-d… you shall be cut off..”.



May one enter a bathroom during the midst of a Halachic discussion or analysis?

Yes.[9] This applies even if he will possibly continue thinking Torah in the bathroom.[10] Nevertheless one must do all he can to withhold himself from thinking of Torah while there.[11] Certainly he may not verbalize the Torah words in the bathroom.[12] Some Gedolei Yisrael would bring a book with them to read in the bathroom in order to remove their minds from Torah.[13]


May one enter the bathroom if he can hear a Torah lesson that is taking place in the vicinity?[14]

Yes. However one is to remove his mind from the Torah words.[15] If one is listening to a Torah lesson on audio he should turn it off prior to entering into the bathroom.[16] Initially a Shul should not build a bathroom close enough to the sanctuary that the prayer or Shiurim can be heard.[17]


May one perform a Mitzvah in a bathroom?[18]

One may not initially perform a Mitzvah in a bathroom being that it is a belittlement to the Mitzvah.[19] However Bedieved, or in a time of need, it is permitted to perform Mitzvos in unclean areas such as a bathroom.[20] One may even initially slaughter in animal in an unclean area.[21] Likewise one may even initially perform Mitzvos that relate to a man and his fellow, such as charity and kindness, in a bathroom.[22] According to all one may not contemplate the laws of the Mitzvah while in the bathroom.[23] 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[24] write that doing so is permitted. Others[25] 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.


B. What should one think about when he is in a bathroom?[26]

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:[27] 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?[28]

Being it is forbidden to think words of Torah in a bathroom it is certainly forbidden to think about G-d in a bathroom.[29] However there are Poskim[30] that rule it is allowed to think of G-d in a bathroom and only words of Torah are forbidden.[31]

May one think of matters that bring one towards humility and humbleness in a bathroom?



May one think of matters that help work on ones character in a bathroom?[33]

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?[34]

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.[35]


May one read stories of Tzaddikim in a bathroom?[36]

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.[37]

Note: The laws to follow relate to speaking words that involve Torah in a bathroom. It was already explained, that one may not speak at all while using the bathroom, even of mundane matters. The laws here hence refer to a case that one is not doing his needs in the bathroom, such as if he is changing his clothing or doing some work there, or bathing himself or his children. The question here is regarding what matters he may speak of during this time.[38]


C. May one answer a Halachic question in a bathroom? [39]

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[40] rule one may answer him without mentioning the wording of a Halachic ruling.[41]]


D. May one tell someone a Halachic ruling in order to prevent them from doing a sin?[42]

If someone is doing a prohibited action in a bathroom, one is permitted to tell him that it is Halachicly 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”.[43]


E. May one mention a Halachic allowance in a bathroom?[44]

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.[45] It is however forbidden to explicitly say that it is permitted to do this matter.


F. May one think of Torah in order to prevent himself from thinking forbidden thoughts?[46]

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.[47]  [The same applies for any evil thought.[48]]


G. May one speak Hebrew in a bathroom?[49]

It is permitted to speak of mundane matters in Lashon Hakodesh [Hebrew[50]] in a bathroom. However it is an act of piety to be stringent [and avoid speaking Lashon Hakodesh at all in a bathroom].


H. May one mention G-d’s name in a bathroom?[51]

It is forbidden to mention any of the designated names of G-d in a bathroom. This refers to the seven names which may not be erased. [These names are:[52] Yud Kei Vav Kei[53]; Adniy; Keil; Eloka; Elokim; Elokaiy[54]; Shakaiy; Tzevakos[55]; Eh-yeh[56].]

Names of G-d in other languages:[57] It is forbidden to mention G-d’s name even in a foreign language. This refers to the word that is used to connote G-d in the language of every nation (such as Gu”t in German and Yiddish[58] and Bog”a in Polish and Russian; [and G-d in English; Dei”s in Spanish and Portugese; Allah in Arabic; Prussa in Chinese; Dio in Italian]).[59]

Kinuyim-Mentioning metaphoric terms used for G-d:[60] It is permitted to mention the metaphoric references of G-d in a bathroom. Thus from the letter of the law one may say “Rachum” [The merciful one] or “Chanun” [The gracious one]; “Neeman” [The trustworthy one] [as these names are not designated only for G-d] being that others are also referred to in such terms.[61] [However there are Poskim[62] who rule that this law is only with regards to using these terms in reference to a person, such as saying about a certain person that he is merciful. However these names may never be used in a bathroom in reference to G-d. Seemingly one should be stringent like this opinion.[63] Some Poskim[64] rule one may be lenient to mention the above metaphoric names in other languages.]



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:[65]

  • Rachmana or Rachmana Litzlan[66]
  • G-d or Thank G-d.[67]
  • Lord.[68]
  • Hakadosh Baruch Hu.[69]
  • Almighty.[70]
  • Hashem or Baruch Hashem-see footnote.[71]
  • Regarding “Eibeshter” see footnote.[72]


The following terms may be used in a bathroom:[73]

  • The one above.
  • Master of the world.


I. May one say the word Shalom in a bathroom?[74]

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.[75] 

Calling ones friend by the name Shalom:[76] It is disputed whether one may mention the names of people who are called Shalom. Practically it is accustomed to be lenient and allow mentioning the names of people who are called Shalom.[77] 



May one say the word Shabbos in a bathroom?

Some Poskim[78] write one is to avoid saying the word Shabbos within a bathroom, or bathhouse.[79] Nevertheless one may call his friend by the name “Shabsi”.[80] One may also say the word Shabbo [without the “s”].[81]


J. Answering Amen:[82]

It is forbidden for one to answer amen in a bathroom.


K. Praying and learning Torah near a bathroom:[83]

It is Biblically forbidden to learn Torah or pray within the sight or within a four cubit radius [i.e. two meters] of the walls of a bathroom, just as it is prohibited to learn or pray within the sight or within four cubits of actual excrement. This restriction however only applies to bathrooms that do not share walls with other rooms, such as mobile bathroom usually found by events, or bathrooms found in parks which are housed in their own designated building.[84] It is forbidden to even think Torah within the above area. This law applies even if the door of the bathroom is closed, and even if the bathroom is clean of any excrement.

A bathroom which shares its walls with other rooms: Any walled bathroom which shares its walls with other rooms, [such as a bathroom that is in a house of which the bathroom wall is also a house wall], do not have the Halachic status of a bathroom and it is thus allowed for one learn Torah or pray within a four cubit radius of its walls and within its sight. (Nevertheless one may not learn or pray [within four cubits of[85]] the actual toilet, or when he is facing the toilet and the toilet is within his




It is permitted to learn and pray near the walls of a bathroom that is in a house or building. 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. It is forbidden to pray within two meters of the walls of a mobile bathroom, or external bathroom building. Likewise one may not pray or learn when this bathroom is within one’s sight.



May one pray or learn Torah at a park if he can see the bathroom walls?[87]

If the bathroom in the park is its own structure, such as a mobile bathroom, or a building that is designated only as a bathroom, then one may not learn or pray within its four cubits [i.e. two meters]. Likewise one may not learn or pray if the bathroom is within one’s view, even if he is further than four cubits. One is to thus turn his back to the bathroom walls to be allowed to pray and learn.


May one pray or learn if the bathroom door of his house is open?[88]

If one can see the toilet or the floor, and the floor is dirty with urine, then one may not do so. Likewise if he is within two meters of the toilet, or the dirty floor, he may not do so. If one cannot see the toilet and is not within two meters of the toilet then it is permitted.


May one turn a bathroom into a regular room and hence allow learning and prayer in the room?

This can be accomplished by thoroughly cleaning the room and doing an action to the room that changes its bathroom state of look to that of a regular room.[89] If the above was done then one may learn and Daven in the room and the room is obligated to have a Mezuzah.[90] The following actions should be done to the room in order to accomplish the above:[91]

  1. The toilet and bathtub or shower is to be removed.
  2. Tiles are to be placed in an area that requires tiling.
  3. The walls are to be painted.
  4. The room is to be thoroughly cleaned.


[1] Shulchan Aruch 76-87

[2] 83/1; 74/1 regarding excrement; 85/1

[3] This is learned from the verse “Ki Hashem Elokecha Mis-haleich Bikerev Machanecha”. From this verse the Sages learned that in any area that Hashem walks with us, which is when one is in the midst of prayer and learning Torah, one’s encampment must be pure. [74/1]

[4] As once the bathroom has been used it is considered repulsive and is not a holy encampment. [83/1]

[5] 85/1; 83/1; 84/1 regarding a bathhouse; Michaber 85/2; This is despite the fact that one is obligated to learn Torah day and night. [85/1] The Yerushalmi rules that it is permitted to think words of Torah in a bathroom. See Kaf Hachaim 85/5

[6] 85/1; Rama 85/2; Levush; Soles Belula; This applies also according to the Michaber. [Kaf Hachaim 85/10]

[7] 85/4; So is also implied from the wording of Rama and Admur “to learn the laws of a bathroom” and not to think, [which was the case of the Michaber], as they are referring to actually learning for the sake of learning Torah.

[8] 85/1

[9] Rama Yoreh Deah 246/26; Radbaz 342; Birkeiy Yosef 85/2; Shaareiy Teshuvah 85/1; Kaf Hachaim 85/6

[10] The Beis Yosef writes that one who is in the midst of learning and continued doing so while using the bathroom is exempt from liability being that he is “Anus”. [brought in M”B 85/8] See Divrei Torah 4/90 that if a novelty in Torah entered into one’s mind while in the bathroom he should not automatically negate its authenticity.

Other Opinions: See Shach 246/28 from which it is implied that it is forbidden to enter into the bathroom until h clears his thoughts and thus if he knows that he will think words of Torah he must wait. Vetzaruch Iyun.

[11] Rama ibid; Shach 246/28; Radbaz 1/342; M”B 85/8; Kaf Hachaim 85/5; See Darkei Chaim Veshalom 8 that he would pace in order to calm his thoughts prior to entering the bathroom.

Reciting Hiskabdu Mechubadim: See Halacha 3 that many Poskim rule based on the Arizal and Kabala that one is to say this verse even today, prior to entering the bathroom each time as saying it is a Segula to save one from thinking words of Torah in the bathroom. [Oar Tzaddikim brought in Shaareiy Teshuvah 3/1]

[12] Birkeiy Yosef ibid; Yeshuos Yaakov; M”B ibid

Other Opinions: The Derisha 85/1 and Elya Raba 85/2 rule it is permitted to verbalize the words in a case that one cannot remove the Torah words from his thoughts. [See Kaf Hachaim 85/5]

[13] Sheilas Yaavetz 1/10 in name of Ramban and Chacham Tzevi

[14] Piskeiy Teshuvos 85/4

[15] Makor Chaim of Chavos Yair; Mili Dichasidusa 157 of Ashel Avraham Butchach

[16] Listening to music: Seemingly it is forbidden to enter a bathroom while listening to Jewish music that contains versus or Torah concepts. Now although the legal prohibition of this can be argued on the basis that one is not listening to the words and is merely enjoying the tune, nevertheless it is certainly not a proper area to listen to such music.

[17] Lev Chaim 3/6

[18] See Darkei Teshuvah 19/22; Piskeiy Teshuvos 76/1; Mishneh Halachos 5/18; Yeshuos Moshe 3/24

[19] Halachos Ketanos 2/57; Tov Ayin 18/37 based on Zohar brought in Darkei Teshuvah ibid

[20] Ikarei Daat 5/15; Halachos Ketanos 2/57; Mateh Efraim 588/5; Biur Halacha 588/2; Piskeiy Teshuvos 76/2. However see Mateh Efraim ibid that he should repeat the Mitzvah without a blessing in a clean area.

[21] Rama 19/1; See Darkei Teshuvah ibid who differentiates between voluntary Mitzvos that may even initially be done in a bathroom, and other Mitzvos.

[22] See Pischeiy Teshuvah Yoreh Deah 244/3; Lev Chaim 2/173; Halichos Shlomo 20/37

[23] Halachos Ketanos ibid

[24] Yesod Veshoresh Haavoda 1/7; Piskeiy Teshuvos 85/3

[25] Ben Ish Chaiy Vayeitzei 16

[26] 85/1; based on Sefer Chassidim 546; M”A 85/1; Shlah p. 81; Elya Raba 85/2

[27] Admur ibid brought in Shlah ibid; Elya Raba ibid; Reishis Chochmah brought in Kaf Hachaim 3/6; Soles Belula 3/1

[28] See Piskeiy Teshuvos 85/3; Vayivarech David 15

[29] Rebbe in Hisvadyos Naso 1983 p. 1601; Lehoros Nasan 1/1; Tzitz Eliezer 13/1; Levushei Mordechai Yoreh Deah 171; See Vayivarech David 15; This is also implied from the fact that in 85/1 [which is the Halacha dealing with what one should think about in a bathroom] no mention is made of thinking about G- G-dliness. To note that the Rebbe ibid concludes that “To say otherwise is a wild opinion, and no one even thought of saying such a thing…. Such an opinion opposes the fundaments of our faith.” See Nefesh Hachaim 3/3 that being that Hashem is found everywhere one may come to learn Torah in a bathroom.

Analysis on above: Vetzaruch Iyun from the fact that it is permitted to mention Hashem in a bathhouse so long as one does not mention one of His seven names, and hence one may say Chanun or Rachum [the merciful one]. [85/2] Thus seemingly the same would apply here that it is permitted to think about Hashem in an impure area [near feces] being that one is not mentioning any of Hashem’s Divine names. [Perhaps however the above Poskim only forbade contemplating about Hashem in an impure area while simply mentioning Him they would allow.] On the other hand however there are Poskim who rule that even Chanun and Rachum may only be said if it does not refer to Hashem himself and one is using it to refer to another person. [Kaf Hachaim 85/12 in name of Gur Aryeh] Vetzaruch Iyun as to the opinion of Admur [based on his wording in 85/2] in all this.

[30] Chochmas Shlomo 85 leaves this matter in question; See Sefer Hachassidim 157, commentary of Makor Chesed [Rav Reuvein Margolias]; Nachal Eshkol 12/28; Mishneh Sachir 2/23; Lev Avraham 53; Oar David 31; Eretz Tzevi 52; Piskeiy Teshuvos 85 footnote 10

[31] Eretz Tzevi ibid explains it is permitted think of Hashem in a bathroom being that a person’s body is considered a covering for the feces and it is only by learning Torah that we say one’s body is not considered a covering. Chochmas Shlomo learns from the Gemara in Yuma 7b that according to Rebbe Shimon the verse of Shevisi Havaya Linegdi Samid applies even while in the bathroom, and hence one must say it is permitted to think of Hashem even in the bathroom. 

[32] M”B 85/5; Noam Elimelech Ki Sisa; Maggid Meisharim Beshalach

[33] Piskeiy Teshuvos 85/3; See Halichos Shlomo 20/23 and Nefesh Hachaim 4/27

[34] Sheilas Yaavetz 10

[35] Rav Shmuel Even Tivon [1100] wrote the Mamar “Yikavu Mayim”. This Sefer however contains words of Torah and may not be learned in a bathroom

[36] Piskeiy Teshuvos 85/3; Vayivarech David 15

[37] ibid; To note that the sons of the Alter Rebbe read him stories of Tzaddikim while he was receiving medical treatment in the bathtub, seemingly in order to prevent him from thinking words of Torah. However when they came to talk of the Tzaddik Rav Shmelka of Nikulsberg Admur stated that of such a holy Tzaddik they cannot talk about in a bathroom. [Shmuoes Usipurim Vol. 1 p. 241]

[38] See Piskeiy Teshuvos 3/3 footnote 17

[39] 84/1 regarding the inner room of a bathhouse, and the same applies for a bathroom.

[40] Beir Moshe 3/16 based on Admur 85/4, brought in E, that one may say a matter in non Halachic terms.

[41] Meaning he may not say it is permitted or forbidden, but rather simply yes or no, or do it or don’t do it.

[42] 85/4; based on Gemara Shabbos 40b; M”A 85/5; Elya Raba 85/4

[43] Admur ibid based on Gemara Shabbos 40b; M”A 85/5; Elya Raba 85/4

Other Opinions: Some Poskim rule one may not say “It is forbidden to do such and such” and rather he must say “don’t do it”. [Chayeh Adam 3/35; mentioned in M”B 85/14; however see Biur Halacha there which completely negates his opinion.]

[44] 85/4 based on Ran; M”A 85/5; Soles Belula 85/4

[45] As there was no Halachic terms mentioned in this request and it is hence not prohibited due to Torah. [ibid]

[46] 85/4 based on Sefer Chassidim 28; brought in Olas Tamid 85/3; M”A 85/4; Elya Raba 85/2; Soles Belula 85/2; M”B 85/13; See Maggid Dvarav Leyaakov 183

[47] As this is similar to the permission to speak Torah in order to stop someone from sinning, as the Torah has the ability to save one from forbidden thoughts. [ibid]

[48] Peri Megadim 85 A”A 1; Chesed Lealafim 85/5; Kaf Hachaim 85/16

[49] 85/2; based on Sefer Chassidim 994; M”A 85/2; Soles Belula 85/2; Elya Raba 85/3; 

[50] Vetzaruch Iyun if Modern Hebrew is considered Lashon Hakodesh in this regard. If not, then according to all it is permitted to say it in a bathroomeven initially.

[51] 85/3; Michaber 85/2

[52] The list of names is found in the Gemara Shavuos 35a; Rambam Hilchos Yisodei Hatorah 6/2; Michaber 276/9. There are various versions and discrepancies between the Rambam and Shulchan Aruch as will be explained in footnotes below.

[53] May one recite the letters of this name or must he say Yud Kei Vav Kei? One is not to recite even the letters of the name and is rather to say Yud Kei Vav Kei. See Nagid Mitzvah in name of Arizal; Radbaz 5/1; Chasam Sofer Choshen Mishpat 192; Eretz Tzevi

[54] So writes Rambam Hilchos Yisodei Hatorah 6/2; not included in the list in Michaber 276/9; However see Kesef Mishneh ibid that brings another version of the Rambam which does not include Elokaiy, and so concludes Gr”a ibid to be the correct version.

[55] These are the seven names listed in Rambam Hilchos Yisodei Hatorah 6/2; See Kesef Mishneh that explains why the Rambam did not list the name Eh-yeh, and why the Rambam lists eight names if in truth they are seven. One explanation is that Adniy and Yud Kei are one name. Another explanation is that the true version of this Halacha in the Rambam omits the name Elokaiy.

May one say the name Tzeva-os? Yes. However in Eretz Yisrael some are accustomed to say Tzevakos. According to all one is to write Tzeva-os with a dash. See Sheivet Halevy 9/217; Kinyan Torah 3/110; Mishneh Halachos 13/198; Rebbe in Hisvadyos 1983 2/850 that so is the custom. The reason for this is because the name is also used for mundane purposes to refer to the legions of an army. [Rebbe ibid] or because the name is never used alone in the Torah and is always adjacent to another name. [Kinyan Torah ibid] See also Halichos Shlomo 22 footnote 32; Piskeiy Teshuvos 215/12

[56] Michaber ibid; Not listed in Rambam ibid, see Kesef Mishneh ibid

May one say the name Eh-yeh? One may do so if he does not intend to say Hashem’s name and is hence saying it for other reasons. See Halichos Shlomo 22 footnote 10; Piskeiy Teshuvos 215/12

[57] Admur ibid; This follows the ruling of the Bach 84; Olas Tamid 85/6; Ateres Zikeinim 84/3; Shach 179/11. [Kuntrus Achron 85/1] So rules also Kitzur SH”A 5/10; Chesed Lealafim 85/2

[58] This is also the name of G-d in Swiss; Swedish; Norwegian; Flemish; Danish; Dutch

[59] The reason for why the names of G-d in other languages may not be mentioned: Although the letters of the non-Hebrew names do not have holiness and hence may be erased, nevertheless it is disgraceful to mention these names of G-d in a bathroom. This is similar to the ruling regarding the word Shalom, which is permitted to be erased, and nevertheless since Hashem is referred to by this name, even though this name is not designated to Him, it is forbidden to be mentioned in a bathroom when intending on the concept of peace  [due to it being disgraceful]. Thus certainly names which are specifically designated in other languages to refer to G-d [are a disgrace to mention in a bathroom, and hence forbidden]. This especially applies in light of the fact that these names of G-d in foreign languages have the same Halachic status as the Hebrew names regarding certain matters, such as with regards to a swear and mentioning G-d’s name in vain, and cursing a friend (see Choshen Mishpat 27/1). (Regarding “blessing” G-d see Yoreh Deah 340/37). [ibid] This is also derived from the fact that Birchas Hamazon may be said in any language, even though one must mention Hashem’s name in it, as otherwise it is not considered a blessing. [Kuntrus Achron 85/2]

May one mention G-d’s name in other languages when he is outside a bathroom? It is forbidden to say a blessing using the name of

G-d, even in a foreign language, if doing so does not involve an experienced joy. See Seder Birchas Hanehnin 13/4; See also 85/3 that mentioning the names of Hashem in other languages consists of the prohibition of saying His name in vain; Likkutei Sichos 24/410; M”B 215/19; Piskeiy Teshuvos 215/12

May one write G-d’s names in foreign languages? It is forbidden to write the name of G-d on paper even in foreign languages. Thus one may not write the word G-d, or Gu-t in letters. Those that are accustomed to do so are mistaken and are doing a very grave sin. [One is to either place a dash between the words, or not spell the name in full. It is however permitted to write the full name of G-d in other languages on non-printable material, such as a blackboard. Likewise the names of G-d in other languages may be erased.] See Kitzur SHU”A 6/3; Ketzos Hashulchan 5/41; Nesivos Hamishpat Choshen Mishpat 27/2; Smeh; Aruch Hashulchan Choshen Mishpat 27/3. Igros Kodesh 23/36; 7/26; 9/62; In 85/3 Admur wrote the names of G-d in German and Russian with quotation marks within the word. [Gu”t; Bug”a]. The Rebbe in all his English letters writes “By the grace of G-d”, and so is written in all Jewish orthodox literature in English.

[60] 85/2; Michaber 85/2; Rambam Kerias Shema 3/5

Other Opinions: The Raavad ibid argues on the Rambam and rules one may not say the word Rachum in a bathroom, and so rules Bach.

[61] As it says “Rachum Vichanun Vitzadik” [in reference to man]. [ibid from Tehillim 112]

[62] Zekan Aaron 72; Gur Aryeh brought in Birkeiy Yosef 85/7; Kaf Hachaim 85/12; Piskeiy Teshuvos 85/1; Peri Megadim 85 A”A 3 that one may not pray using the names Rachum Vechanun, such as to say “May the merciful one have mercy on you”; M”B 85/11.

Opinion of Admur: Vetzaruch Iyun as to the opinion of Admur [based on his wording in 85/2] in this regard as he makes no distinction in the matter. Furthermore the simple implication in the Michaber ibid is that it is permitted to refer these names to Hashem, as otherwise they would have the same law as the seven designated names in a case that one refers them to Hashem. On the other hand Admur rules that one may not say the word Shalom in the bathroom even when it is simply in reference to peace, and certainly when it is in reference to Hashem. [see next Halacha] Hence certainly it should be forbidden to say the names Rachum and Chanun in reference to Hashem. This is further implied from the order of this Halacha by Admur: The entire Halacha here in Admur [85/2] is in continuation of that mundane matters may be spoken in Hebrew. Admur does not write this Halacha in 85/3 which discusses the seven names, and hence logically is where the Halacha should be written. Furthermore Admur, unlike the Michaber, split the topics of speaking in Hebrew and the seven names into two Halachas. This implies that Admur learns the discussion in this Halacha is only with regards to saying the mundane words Chanun and Rachum and not in reference to saying them about Hashem [as learns Zekan Aaron ibid]. See however Eretz Tzevi 52 that learns from Admur that the names may be used in reference of Hashem. Furthermore perhaps “Shalom” is more severe than the terms Chanun Verachum, being that in scripture Shalom is considered a name of G-d as oppose and not merely a Kinuiy. This is further implied from the fact that it does not state anywhere that it is forbidden to mention G-d in a bathroom, and only that one may not mention His name. Vetzaruch Iyun.

[63] See previous footnote for analysis of ruling of Admur. However practically the Rebbe states [Hisvadyos Naso 1983 p. 1601] that if it is forbidden to mention the names of Hashem in a bathroom, certainly it is forbidden to mention Atzmus Umehus [the essence of G-d]. Vetzaruch Iyun as according to this it would be forbidden to make mention of any reference to G-d irrelevant of term used. Perhaps however the Rebbe is discussing that one may not talk about G-d, while simply mentioning Him is permitted so long as a name is not used.

[64] M”B 84/10, being that the term is not designated only for G-d. This applies even according to the Raavad. [Bach; Ateres Zahav; Peri Chadash 85/2; Elya Raba 85/3; Kaf Hachaim 85/13]

[65] Piskeiy Teshuvos 85/1; See the analysis in Admur regarding using metaphoric names. Possibly however these words are even more severe as they are only used to refer to Hashem.

[66] See Seder Birchas Hanehnin 13/4 that the word Rachmana is considered the name of G-d in Aramaic.

[67] 83/3

[68] Likkutei Sichos 24/410 based on 83/3

[69] Ishei Yisrael 54 footnote 3 brought in Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid. See footnote regarding Hashem

[70] As it is similar to Lord, and is used in English in reference to G-d.

[71] Ishei Yisrael 54 footnote 3 brought in Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid writes it is forbidden to say it in a bathroom based on the above Poskim that prohibit saying Kinuyim in a bathroom when said in reference to Hashem. However Harav Asher Lemel Hakohen, Rav of Anash Beitar Ilit, said to me that the term may be used in a bathroom being that it simply means the name. See also Sdei Chemed Asifas Dinim Brachos 1/13; Likkutei Sichos 24/410 that the word Hashem is not considered a name at all [although no proof can be brought as it is nevertheless considered a Kinuiy]. Perhaps also only names or metaphoric terms written in the Torah are forbidden to be said in a bathroom, while other terms may be said. Vetzaruch Iyun.

[72] See Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid which leans to allow it due to it being in a foreign language. Vetzaruch Iyun Gadol, as if the term only refers to Hashem, what difference does it make if it is in another language, and so is implied from M”B 85/10 that since it is only used in reference to G-d it is forbidden. Harav Asher Lemel Hakohen, Rav of Anash Beitar Ilit, ruled to me that the term may be used in a bathroom being that it simply means the upper one. Perhaps also only names or metaphoric terms written in the Torah are forbidden to be said in a bathroom, while other terms may be said. Vetzaruch Iyun.

[73] Based on M”B 84/10 that one may mention Kinuyim of G-d in a foreign language if the words are also used for other purposes.

[74] 84/1 regarding the inner room of a bathhouse and all filthy areas; 85/3 regarding all filthy areas; M”A 85/3

The meaning of the name Shalom: G-d is called Shalom when He expresses Himself to the worlds in a way of Peace, as is the case with all His names, that they represent a certain type of His expression. [Toras Menachem 19th Teves 1982]

May one write the word Shalom? The name Shalom is not one of the seven names that may not be erased. However it is brought in sefarim that nevertheless one should not write this word in its entirety, being that it is one of G-d‘s names. [Michaber 276/13; Mahril; Mateh Efraim 581/9; Sdei Chemed Peas Hasadeh Alef Klal Kuf] Thus we see that the Alter Rebbe would not write the last letter (mem) when writing the word shalom. [see Igros Kodesh of Alter Rebbe p. 143 and 179; Igros Kodesh of Rebbe Rashab 1/259] However astoundingly, despite this, the Previous Rebbe would write the word fully. The leaders of Gur would also not write the word fully. [Meeting of Rebbe with Rosh Yeshiva of Sefas Emes brought in Toras Menachem 19th Teves 1982]

[75] As the verse states “And they called Him G-d Shalom”. [84/1]

[76] 84/1: “There are Poskim [Bach; M”A 84/2] that prohibit calling one’s friend by his name if his name is Shalom, and rather one is to call him by his name in a foreign language. Other Poskim [Taz 84/3] rule it is permitted being that one has no intention to mention the concept of Shalom [peace] and is rather simply calling the friends name. (Practically by Rabbinical matters one is to follow the lenient opinion and so is the custom.)” [parentheses in original]

[77] This final ruling of Admur is in parentheses. Ketzos Hashulchan 10/16 rules that practically the custom is to be lenient. To note that in 85/3 Admur simply states that the prohibition of mentioning the name Shalom is when one intends on mentioning the concept of peace, hence implying that this is Admur’s final ruling.

[78] Chesed Lialafim 84/1 brought in Kaf Hachaim 84/7; Bnei Yisaschar Mamarei Shabbasos 1/1; Some say that it is for this reason that Ashkenazim say Shabbes and not Shabbos in order not to verbalize the actual name in unclean areas. [Piskeiy Teshuvos 85 footnote 3]

[79] As the Zohar states that Shabbos is one of Hashem’s names.

[80] Yifei Laleiv 84/7 brought in Kaf Hachaim ibid

[81] Ruach Chaim 84/1

[82] 84/1 regarding the inner room of a bathhouse, and the same applies for a bathroom.

[83] 83/1 based on Taz 83/1 and so rules: Elya Raba 83/2; Soles Belula 83/1; Chayeh Adam 3/11; Chesed Lealafim 83/2; Ruach Chaim 79/2; Ketzos Hashulchan 10/11; Kaf Hachaim 83/4; M”B 83/5; Although many Poskim today are lenient for various reasons, as mentioned below, practically the Sheivet Halevy 4/10 rules stringently and so is implied from Admur and other Poskim above that do not mention the distinctions below.


The Michaber 83/1 rules that it is forbidden to pray or learn Torah near an area designated for bathroom use. If however the bathroom contains walls then it is permitted to learn or pray near the bathroom without hesitation. The Michaber does not differentiate between walls of a house or walls of a mobile bathroom, and thus according to him all bathrooms with walls do not have a status of feces. In the Beis Yosef he writes that even if the walls do not reach 10 Tefach from the ground it is permitted so long as one cannot see the floor of the bathroom. The Magen Avraham [83/1] argues on the Michaber and rules that one is to be stringent to forbid learning or praying near the walls of any bathroom even if the walls are ten Tefach high [and even if they share walls with other rooms]. Those that desire to be lenient may only do so if the walls are ten Tefachim high and the bathroom does not reek of feces or urine. The Taz [83/1] likewise argues on the Michaber and rules that it is forbidden to learn or pray even near a walled bathroom. However the Taz concludes that in his opinion this only applies by bathrooms that have their own walls as opposed to a bathroom found in a building that shares walls with other rooms. Admur, as well as all the Poskim listed above, rule like the Taz.

Other Opinions: The following Poskim are lenient that one may always learn and pray outside a bathroom, near the walls: Michaber ibid; Aruch Hashulchan 83/8 [being the walls are considered like walls of a house]; Eretz Tzevi 1/11 and Chazon Ish 17/1 [being the feces do not touch the actual walls of the bathroom]; Salmas Chaim 104 [being that the feces are flushed down right away and is hence not considered a bathroom]; Daas Torah and Halichos Shlomo 20/38 [Being that the walls today are made of a few sheets of plaster]; See also Shulchan Hatahor 83/2; Ashel Avraham Butchach; The Sheivet Halevy 4/10 agrees with ruling of Admur that it is forbidden and argues on the Chazon Ish saying one cannot novelize such a distinction between walls that become dirty and those that don’t. Piskeiy Teshuvos 83/2 rules leniently based on all the above Poskim.

Today’s bathrooms hat have the feces flushed down right away: In 83/4 Admur rules that a bathroom which is made in a way that the feces and urine immediately leave to a different area are not considered a bathroom. Some [Salmas Chaim; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid] rule based on this that our bathrooms are not considered bathrooms and it is hence permitted to learn Torah near them even if they are a separate building that do not share walls. Practically however one cannot compare our bathrooms to the above bathrooms in discussion being that the feces do not leave right away and remain in the toilet until it is flushed.

[84] The reason for distancing from the actual walls is because the walls themselves are considered like a “potty of feces” being that this is the use that they have been designated and used for. [ibid]

[85] Lit. near

[86] Parentheses in original; So writes also Piskeiy Teshuvos 83/2; See Chikrei Halachos 6 p. 42 for explanation of the doubt here in Admur; Vetzaruch Iyun as to the intent of Admur here: Is he referring to a case that the door is open and in such a case one may not be within four cubits of the toilet or within its sight, or does he refer to even a case that the door is closed? Also how does this ruling not contradict the ruling in 79/5 that when the Tzoa is in a different area one may be within four cubits of it, even if it is visible. Vetzaruch Iyun. To note the Ketzos Hashulchan ibid omits this ruling in his summary and simply writes one may learn and pray near such a bathroom.

[87] Based on above ruling

[88] See Piskeiy Teshuvos 83/2

[89] M”B 84/3 based on Panim Meiros 1/87, brought in Shaareiy Teshuvah 84; Ashel Avraham Butchach 83/1; Kaf Hachaim 83/2

[90] ibid

[91] See Piskeiy Teshuvos 83/1 in name of Sheilas David 3; Kochav Meyaakov 100; Kaf Hachaim ibid. However see M”B ibid; Panim Meiros ibid; Ashel Avraham ibid which imply that any action suffices, even a single action, and it is not necessary to do all the changes mentioned above.

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