Shulchan Aruch Michaber & Rama-Summary: Chapter 43: Bathroom laws relating to Tefillin

Chapter 43: Bathroom laws relating to Tefillin[1]

9 Halachos

Halacha 1: Entering a bathroom with Tefillin

  • While wearing the Tefillin: It is forbidden to enter a bathroom with a toilet [i.e. Beis Hakisei Kavua] while wearing tefillin even if one only plans to urinate.
  • While holding the Tefillin: He may however enter them into a bathroom if he is not wearing them [and they are properly covered].
  • Entering a urinal and urinating while wearing tefillin: It is permitted to urinate while wearing tefillin if one is not in a bathroom used for defecation. However, according to the Rambam it is forbidden to ever urinate while wearing tefillin, and therefore one should be stringent.
  • Urinating while holding Tefillin in ones hands: It is forbidden to urinate while holding Tefillin [if the tefillin are not in their bag].

Halacha 2: The definition of a bathroom [i.e. Beis Hakisei Kavua]

  • A bathroom [i.e. Beis Hakisei Kavua] is defined as an area which contains feces which does not descend right away deep into a pit.

Halacha 3: The definition of a urinal [i.e. Beis Hakisei Araiy

  • A urinal bathroom [i.e. Beis Hakisei Araiy] is defined as an area which is used only for urinating and not feces.

Halacha 4: Using the bathroom if the Tefillin is wrapped in one’s clothing

  • If the tefillin are not on the person but are being held in one’s bosom while he is wearing a belt, or if they are bound in his clothes, then he may urinate or defecate with them.

Halacha 5: Distancing four Amos from bathroom when removing/rewearing the Tefillin:

  • Distancing when entering bathroom: Prior to entering the bathroom to defecate he is to remove the Tefillin at a four-cubit distance from it.
    • Distancing when entering not for defecation: Some Poskim rule that Prior to entering the bathroom even not for defecation, he is to remove the Tefillin at a four-cubit distance from it. Practically, it is proper to be stringent like this opinion.
  • Distancing when leaving bathroom: When leaving the bathroom after defecation he is to only re-wear the Tefillin at a four cubit distance from the entrance.
  • Making sure to cover the straps: When entering a bathroom with tefillin wrapped in one’s clothing one must be careful to cover the straps in a way that they do not extend a handsbreadth from one’s hand.

Halacha 6: Entering bathroom without intent to re-wear Tefillin afterwards:

  • When entering a bathroom with Tefillin without intent to re-wear them afterwards, then one should remove them at a distance of at least four cubits from and place them in an undesignated bag or a bag that is a handsbreadth in size.

Halacha 7: Entering Tefillin into a private bathroom at home

  • The allowance to bring tefillin into a bathroom while they are in a bag only applies by a public bathroom, however by a bathroom at home it is forbidden to enter the Tefillin even while they are in their bag being that it is possible to put them in a safe place.

Halacha 8: Defecated while wearing Tefillin

  • If one forgot that he was wearing his tefillin and defecated, he should cover them with his hand until he is done his first line of defecation and then leave the bathroom and remove them, and then reenter.

Halacha 9: Carrying potty while wearing tefillin

  • A doctor is permitted to carry a urine potty while wearing head-tefillin. Although a Baal Nefesh should be stringent.

[1] See “The Laws of Tefillin” Chapter 5 Halacha 15 and Chapter 6 Halacha 11 and our Addendum on Tefillin and bathrooms

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