Using the bathroom in middle of Davening

Using the bathroom in middle of Davening:[1]

Introduction:

It is forbidden to begin praying if one has an urge to urinate or defecate and one is thus required to relieve himself prior to Davening. If one did not do so, then in certain cases his Davening is invalid, and he must pray again.[2] In such a case, certainly he would be required to stop and go to the bathroom in middle of Davening.[3] Hence, the discussion below is only referring to a case that the urge came suddenly during the prayer, and was not felt prior to prayer. The question of whether one may, or must, relieve himself in the midst of Davening is first debated amongst the Rishonim[4], and then later debated amongst the Poskim[5] in Shulchan Aruch, regarding how to arbitrate the dispute. Admur discusses this question in several areas both in his Shulchan Aruch and Siddur, with there being several discrepancies of the final ruling between his different writings.[6] The final ruling of Admur follows that of his Siddur, which was his most latest writings on the subject, and this is the final ruling brought next.  

The law:

Before Baruch Sheamar:[7] If prior to saying the blessing in Baruch Sheamar one feels an urge to defecate or urinate, then he is obligated to do so. This applies even if withholding his needs will not transgress Bal Tishaktzu.

Between Baruch Sheamar and Shemoneh Esrei-Defecating:[8] One who did not feel the need to use the bathroom before Davening and then suddenly in middle of Davening became aroused with a desire to relieve himself[9], then even if he is in the middle of the blessings of the Shema, or is in the middle of Pesukei Dezimrah, after the blessing in Baruch Sheamar[10], then he may not[11] stop to relieve himself [for a bowel movement[12]] if he can withhold his bowels until after the prayer [i.e. Shemoneh Esrei]. [This applies even if withholding one’s needs will cause him to transgress Bal Tishaktzu.[13] This follows the ruling of Admur in his Siddur. However, according to the Mishneh Berurah[14], one who feels a need to urinate or defecate, must always do so prior to beginning Birchas Shema, or Shemoneh Esrei, unless she can withhold himself for a Shiur Parsa.]

Between Baruch Sheamar and Shemoneh Esrei-Urinating:[15] If one has an urge to urinate during Davening, then he may stop to urinate even in middle of Kerias Shema [and certainly during Pesukei Dezimra], although he is not obligated to do so, and may withhold his needs until after Shemoneh Esrei, if he chooses. [This follows the ruling of Admur in his Siddur. See above for the ruling of the Mishneh Berurah]

During Shemoneh Esrei:[16] If one has already begun Shemoneh Esrei, he may not relieve himself at all, neither to defecate or urinate, even if he has a very strong urge [and will transgress Bal Tishkatzu].[17]

Summary:

If one is prior to saying the blessing in Baruch Sheamar, then he is obligated to defecate or urinate if he feels an urge to do so. One who did not feel the need to use the bathroom before Baruch Sheamar, and then suddenly in middle of Davening became aroused with a desire to relieve himself, then the law is as follows:

Defecate: If he needs to defecate, then if he is past Baruch Sheamar, he is to hold himself in until after Shemoneh Esrei, if he is able to do so.  

Urinate: If he feels the need to urinate, then he may stop and urinate even if he is in the midst of Birchos Kerias Shema, although is not obligated to do so.

Ø  Ruling of Mishneh Berurah: The above follows the ruling of Admur in his Siddur. However, according to the Mishneh Berurah, one who feels a need to urinate or defecate, must always do so prior to beginning Birchas Shema, or Shemoneh Esrei, unless she can withhold himself for a Shiur Parsa.

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[1] See Admur Basra 3:11; Kama 92:2; Siddur Admur; Michaber 92:2; M”A 92:2; M”B 92:9; Kaf Hachaim 92:8-9; Piskeiy Teshuvos 92:3

[2] Admur 92:1

[3] See M”B 92:9; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid

[4] Terumas Hadeshen versus Rashba regarding using bathroom in middle of Shemoneh Esrei: There is a dispute amongst the Rishonim regarding whether one may/must use the restroom, if he feels the need, in middle of Shemoneh Esrei. Some Rishonim rule that one may not use the bathroom in middle of Shemoneh Esrei. [Rashba 1:131] Other Rishonim rule that one is obligated to do so, if he feels the need. [Terumas Hadeshen 16] See M”A 92:2

[5] The ruling of Michaber-Forbidden during Shemoneh Esrei; Optional beforehand: The Michaber 92:2 rules that if one is in middle of Shemoneh Esrei he may not stop to relieve himself, whether to defecate or urinate, as rules the Rashba ibid. If, however, he is prior to Shemoneh Esrei, in middle of Birchas Shema, then one may choose to withhold himself, or he may choose to urinate if he desires. [The M”B 92:9 explains this allowance of Michaber ibid applies even to a bowel movement; However, Admur in 92:2 argues, as will be explained] Thus, the Michaber ibid rules like the Rashba regarding Shemoneh Esrei and makes a compromise between the Rashba and Terumas Hadeshen regarding Birchas Kerias Shema.

The ruling of Rama-Permitted even during Shemoneh Esrei: The Rama 92:2 rules that in truth there is no dispute between the Rashba and Terumos Hadeshen, and if one has such a strong urge that he will transgress Baal Tishaktzu, then according to all he must do his needs [even during Shemoneh Esrei-M”A ibid; M”B 92:11].

The ruling of M”A: The M”A 92:2 argues against the Rama and rules that one may rely on the simple ruling of the Rashba, and not go to the bathroom.

[6] The ruling of Admur in 92:2: Admur in 92:2 rules that during Shemoneh Esrei one may never stop to do his needs. [This follows the ruling of Rashba/Michaber/M”A ibid] However, if he is before Shemoneh Esrei, during Birchas Shema (or past Baruch Sheamar) then Admur differentiates between urine and bowel movement and the amount of urgency one has. He rules as follows: If he is able to withhold himself without transgressing Baal Teshaktzu, even if he cannot hold himself in for a Parsas distance, then regarding an urge to urinate he may choose to urinate or may choose to hold it in. However, if he has an urge to defecate then he is required to hold himself in until he is no longer able to [meaning he will transgress Baal Teshaktzu if he holds it in any longer]. If, however, his urge to urinate or defecate is so strong that if he withholds himself he will transgress the prohibition of “Baal Teshaktzu”, then he is required to stop in middle of prayer and urinate or defecate. [Thus regarding prior to Shemoneh Esrei Admur rules like Michaber regarding if one has no urgency, and like Rama/Terumos Hadeshen regarding if he has urgency].

The ruling of Admur in Basra 3:11: In Basra 3:11, Admur rules that one who is in the midst of Davening, even in middle of Birchas Shema, the Sages did not uphold their decree of Baal Tishaktzu in a case of Kavod Habrios. He does not write whether one is obligated to do so, or if this is optional.

Ruling of Admur in Siddur: In the Siddur, Admur plainly rules that one who is in middle of Davening, past Baruch Sheamar, must always withhold himself from going to the bathroom when he is able to. He does not stipulate this on the basis that he does not transgress Bal Teshaktzu. This implies that according to the Siddur one is to withhold himself even if he will transgress Bal Teshaktzu, and even if he is before Shemoneh Esrei. This ruling of the Siddur is like the Rashba and extends the ruling of the Rashba to any time of Davening, past Baruch Sheamar and not just Shemoneh Esrei. [Ketzos Hashulchan 18 footnote 27]

Other Opinions in Siddur of Admur: The Ashel Avraham Butchach [Mahadurah Tinyana 3] suggests that perhaps the ruling in the Siddur only applies in a case that one will take a very long time to use the bathroom. If, however, he can do so quickly then even according to the Siddur he may stop.

[7] Admur 92:1-2

[8] Admur in Siddur; Ketzos Hashulchan 18:7

Other opinions and Ruling of Admur in 92:2: Some Poskim rule one is obligated to defecate in middle of Davening, if he feels the need to do so. [Terumas Hadeshen 16] Other Poskim rule one is obligated to urinate/defecate in middle of Davening, if withholding oneself will transgress Baal Tishaktzu. [Admur 92:2; Rama 92:2; P”M 92 M”Z; Kaf Hachaim 92:9] If withholding oneself will not transgress Baal Tishaktzu, then by urine, it is optional for one to relieve himself, while by a bowl movement, it is forbidden to relieve oneself. [Admur 92:2; M”A 92:2; Kaf Hachaim 92:9] Other Poskim rule that while one is never obligated to urinate or defecate, he may do so if he chooses. [Michaber 92:2, as explains M”B 92:9 that this applies even to defecate] Some Poskim rule that this allowance to withhold oneself only applies if one is in middle of Birchas Kerias Shema, however, if one is prior to Birchas Kerias Shema he must relieve himself if he has an urge to do so. [Implication of Admur in Basra 3:11 and Michaber ibid; P”M 92 A”A 2; Mishneh Berurah 92:9 regarding if he cannot withhold himself a Shiur Parsa]

The Sephardi ruling: According to the Michaber ibid, one who is in middle of Shema may choose to defecate if he desires, even though he is not obligated to do so. However, the Kaf Hachaim ibid rules like Admur in 92:2 that if he has reached the point of Baal Tishaktzu, then he must urinate or defecate, while if he has not then he may not defecate.

[9] Admur 92:2

[10] Siddur; Admur 92:2 in parentheses; Omitted in Basra 3:11 and in Michaber ibid; Not mentioned in previous Poskim

Other Opinions: Some Poskim rule that if one is prior to Birchas Kerias Shema he must relieve himself if he has an urge to do so, and the allowance to withhold oneself only applies during Birchas Shema. [Implication of Admur in Basra 3:11 and Michaber ibid; P”M 92 A”A 2; Mishneh Berurah 92:9 that if one cannot hold himself in for a Shiur Parsa then he must relieve himself. So also seems to be the reason why Admur in 92:2 left this matter in brackets as he was in question of the ruling.] If, however, he can hold himself in for Shiur Parsa then he is not required to stop. [M”B and P”M ibid]

If he is between Yishtabach and Yotzer: Some Poskim rule that even according to Admur in the Siddur, one may stop to go to the bathroom between Yishtabach and Yotzer Oar, as this is considered a Mitzvah need. [Tehila Ledavid 92:2; Ishei Yisrael 10:14 in name of Poskim]

[11] Admur in Siddur; Admur 92:2 regarding if will not transgress Baal Tishaktzu [See Background]; Ketzos Hashulchan 18:7

The ruling of Admur in Basra 3:11: In Basra 3:11, Admur rules that one who is in the midst of Davening, even in middle of Birchas Shema, the Sages did not uphold their decree of Baal Tishaktzu in a case of Kavod Habrios. He does not write whether one is obligated to do so, or if this is optional.

[12] Ketzos Hashulchan 18:7

[13] Implication of Admur in Siddur; Ketzos Hashulchan 18 footnote 27; Rashba, as explains M”A 92:2

Other opinions and ruling of Admur in 92:2: In 92:2 Admur rules that if one will transgress Baal Tishaktzu by withholding his needs, then he is obligated to use the bathroom. See Background!

[14] See M”B 92:9 and Piskeiy Teshuvos 92:3 that although it is optional to use the bathroom during Pesukei Dezimra or Shema, he may not begin the next part of Davening [Shema; Shemoneh Esrei] until he does so, unless he can hold himself in for a Shiur Parsa

[15] Admur 92:2; Ketzos Hashulchan 18 footnote 28 that so applies even according to Admur in Siddur [as there is no opinion prior to Admur, not even the Rashba, who holds that one is to hold in urine until after Davening. Hence Admur in the Siddur must have only been referring to bowel movement when he discussed withholding oneself.]; Michaber 92:2

Must one urinate if he will transgress Baal Tishaktzu? Some Poskim rule that one is obligated to urinate if he will transgress Bal Tishaktzu. [Admur 92:2; Rama 92:2] It is unclear according to the Ketzos Hashulchan ibid if Admur in the Siddur would hold one must urinate if his urge is so strong that he will transgress Baal Tishaktzu, as rules Admur in 92:2. Seemingly however even in such a case it is not an obligation, as so is the implication from the Rashba, who Admur rules like in the Siddur.

[16] Admur 92:2; Basra 3:11; Michaber 92:2; Rashba 1:131; M”A 92:2; Elya Raba 92:4; Chayeh Adam 25:2; Beis Oveid 37; Shisilei Zeisim 92:4; Ben Ish Chaiy Mishpatim 3; Kaf Hachaim 92:8; See Background for other opinions!

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule one is obligated to defecate in middle of Shemoneh Esrei, if he feels the need to do so. [Terumas Hadeshen 16; Rama 92:2 and Darkei Moshe 92:1 regarding if he will transgress Baal Tishaktzu, as explains M”A 92:2; M”B 92:11;]

[17] The reason: Even if he will transgress Baal Tishaktzu he may not relieve himself, as Baal Tishaktzu is Rabbinical and the Sages stated that when one is in middle of Shemoneh Esrei he is to ignore their prohibition of Baal Tishaktzu. [92:2]

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