SECTION 76 The Obligation to be Mindful of Feces when Reciting the Shema. (1–11)

סימן עו לְהִזָּהֵר מִצּוֹאָה בִּשְׁעַת קְרִיאַת שְׁמַע וּבוֹ י"א סְעִיפִים:

1 It is permitted to recite [the Shema] in view of feces1 covered by a glass lantern,2 even though they are visible through its panes. [The rationale is that] the Torah made [the prohibition against reciting holy words in the presence of] feces dependent on [whether they were] covered, as it is written,3 “You shall sit and cover your excrement,” and in this instance it is covered.

א צוֹאָה בַּעֲשָׁשִׁית2 – מֻתָּר לִקְרוֹת כְּנֶגְדָּהּ,1 אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁרוֹאֶה אוֹתָהּ דֶּרֶךְ דָּפְנוֹתֶיהָ, לְפִי שֶׁבְּצּוֹאָה תָּלָה הַכָּתוּב בְּכִסּוּי, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר:א,3 "וְשַׁבְתָּ וְכִסִּיתָ אֶת צֵאָתֶךָ", וַהֲרֵי הִיא מְכֻסָּה:ב

2 If feces are in a hole in the ground, one may place his sandal4 over the hole and recite [the Shema], for [the feces] are [thus] considered covered, provided [their] foul odor does not reach him, as will be explained in sec. 79[:2, 6]. It is not argued that the sandal is considered subsidiary to the wearer’s foot.5 [Were that logic to be accepted, just as one’s] foot itself is not effective in covering the feces in a hole beneath it, because then his “camp” would not “be holy”6 since there was no covering interposing between his body and the feces in the hole, [so, too,] the sandal would not be considered a covering. [This logic is not followed.] Rather, the sandal is considered a covering interposing between them.

Nevertheless, the sandal is considered as subsidiary to the foot in that it may not touch the feces in the hole.7 For if [the sandal] is touching them, there is reason for concern that possibly might be considered as if he was touching them with his foot, since the sandal is a subsidiary and auxiliary for his foot with regard to this contact. [After all,] the foot is touching the feces via the sandal, for [the foot] positioned the sandal on the feces. Thus it is considered as if the foot itself is touching the feces. Even according to the authorities who permit [the Shema to be recited] if one has feces on his skin, provided that they are covered by his clothing,8 the sandal would not be considered a covering for the feces on it. Hence, this situation does not constitute “a holy camp.” [Since] the moot point [involves the observance of] a Scriptural [commandment], a stringent ruling is followed.9

If there are feces on the inner side of one’s clothes, by contrast, one’s camp is considered holy,10 because they are covered by one’s clothes. It is not argued11 that the clothes are subsidiary to one’s body and hence this is regarded as if his body is touching the feces via the clothes, because the garment is not serving the body by touching the feces. Therefore, since no foul odor reaches him, he is permitted to recite [the Shema] and Shemoneh Esreh while wearing these clothes. Nevertheless, it is pious conduct to change these clothes at the time of prayer, as will be explained in sec. 98[:4].12

ב צוֹאָה בַּגֻמָּא – מַנִּיחַ סַנְדָּל4 עַל גַּבֵּי הַגֻּמָּא וְקוֹרֵא, שֶׁעַל יְדֵי כֵן חֲשׁוּבָה כִּמְכֻסָּה.ג וְהוּא שֶׁאֵין רֵיחַ רַע מַגִּיעַ אֵלָיו,ד כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן ע"ט.ה וְאֵין אוֹמְרִים שֶׁהַסַּנְדָּל בָּטֵל לְגַבֵּי רַגְלוֹ5 וְאֵינוֹ חָשׁוּב כִּסּוּי, כְּמוֹ שֶׁהָרֶגֶל עַצְמָהּ אֵינָהּ מוֹעֶלֶת לְכַסּוֹת צוֹאָה שֶׁתַּחְתֶּיהָ בַּגֻּמָּא, מִשּׁוּם דְּאֵין זֶה "מַחֲנֶיךָ קָדוֹשׁ"6 כֵּיוָן שֶׁאֵין הֶפְסֵק כִּסּוּי בֵּין גּוּף הָאָדָם לַצּוֹאָה שֶׁבַּגֻּמָּא, אֶלָּא הַסַּנְדָּל הוּא חָשׁוּב כִּסּוּי וְהֶפְסֵק בֵּינֵיהֶם.ו

וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם, (א) בָּטֵל הוּא לְגַבֵּי רַגְלוֹ לְעִנְיָן שֶׁצָּרִיךְ שֶׁלֹּא יִהְיֶה נוֹגֵע בַּצּוֹאָה שֶׁבַּגֻּמָא,ז,7 שֶׁאִם הוּא נוֹגֵעַ בָּהּ – יֵשׁ לְהִסְתַּפֵּקח וְלוֹמַר שֶׁהֲרֵי זֶה כְּאִלּוּ נוֹגֵעַ בְּרַגְלוֹ, מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהַסַּנְדָּל הוּא טָפֵל וּמְשַׁמֵּשׁ לְרַגְלוֹ בִּנְגִיעָה זוֹ, שֶׁהָרֶגֶל נוֹגֵעַ בַּצּוֹאָה עַל יְדֵי הַסַּנְדָּל, שֶׁהִיא מַעֲמִידָה אֶת הַסַּנְדָּל עַל הַצּוֹאָה, וַחֲשׁוּבָה כְּאִלּוּ הִיא עַצְמָהּ נוֹגַעַת בַּצּוֹאָה. וְאַף לְהַמַּתִּירִים בְּצוֹאָה עַל בְּשָׂרוֹ וּמְכֻסָּה בְּבִגְדוֹט,8 – אֵין הַסַּנְדָּל נֶחְשָׁב כִּסּוּי לַצּוֹאָה שֶׁעָלָיו, וְאֵין זֶה "מַחֲנֶיךָ קָדוֹשׁ". וּסְפֵקָא שֶׁל תּוֹרָה לְחֻמְרָא.י,9

אֲבָל צוֹאָה שֶׁעַל בְּגָדָיו מִבִּפְנִים, כֵּיוָן שֶׁהוּא מְכֻסֶּה בִּבְגָדָיו – הֲרֵי זֶה "מַחֲנֶיךָ קָדוֹשׁ".יא,10 וְאֵין אוֹמְרִים11 שֶׁהַבֶּגֶד בָּטֵל לְגַבֵּי גּוּפוֹ וּכְאִלּוּ גּוּפוֹ נוֹגֵעַ בַּצּוֹאָה עַל יְדֵי הַבֶּגֶד, כֵּיוָן שֶׁאֵין הַבֶּגֶד מְשַׁמֵּשׁ לַגּוּף בִּנְגִיעָה זוֹ שֶׁהַבֶּגֶד נוֹגֵעַ בַּצּוֹאָה,יב כֵּיוָן שֶׁאֵין רֵיחַ רַע מַגִּיעַ אֵלָיו – מֻתָּר לִקְרוֹת וּלְהִתְפַּלֵּל כְּשֶׁהוּא לָבוּשׁ בִּבְגָדִים אֵלֶּה. וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם מִדַּת חֲסִידוּת לְהַחֲלִיפָם בִּשְׁעַת הַתְּפִלָּה, כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן (צ"א) [צ"חיג]:12

3 Even [if] feces are merely passing [in front of] a person reciting [the Shema] or She­moneh Esreh, e.g., they are floating on water or someone carrying a chamber pot passes before him, he must stop13 until they pass from his immediate presence to a distance of [at least] four cubits to his side, or out of his sight if they are in front of him,14 as is the law regarding stationary feces, as will be explained in sec. 79[:1]. It is therefore forbidden to recite the Shema in view of a pig’s mouth even if it is passing by, because [a pig’s mouth] is considered as feces that are in motion.15 [This ruling applies] even if [the pig] comes up out of a river. The washing does not change its status,16 because it is [always] considered like a chamber pot. And it is forbidden to recite [the Shema] in sight of [a chamber pot] even if it does not contain feces, since it is designated for that purpose, as will be explained in sec. 87[:1].

ג צוֹאָה אֲפִלּוּ הִיא עוֹבֶרֶת,יד כְּגוֹן שֶׁצָּפָה עַל פְּנֵי הַמַּיִם,טו אוֹ שֶׁאֶחָד נוֹשֵׂא גְּרָף שֶׁל רְעִי וּמַעֲבִירוטז לִפְנֵי הַקּוֹרֵא אוֹ הַמִּתְפַּלֵּליז – צָרִיךְ לְהַפְסִיק13 עַד שֶׁתַּעֲבֹר מִכְּנֶגֶד פָּנָיו ד' אַמּוֹת לִצְדָדִין אוֹ לְפָנָיו כִּמְלֹא עֵינָיו,14 כְּמוֹ בְּצוֹאָה מֻנַּחַתיח כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן ע"ט.יט לְפִיכָךְ פִּי חֲזִיר אָסוּר לִקְרוֹת קְרִיאַת שְׁמַע כְּנֶגְדּוֹ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא עוֹבֵר, מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא כְּצוֹאָה עוֹבֶרֶת.כ,15 וַאֲפִלּוּ הוּא עוֹלֶה מִן הַנָּהָר – אֵין הָרְחִיצָה מוֹעֶלֶת לוֹ,כא,16 מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא כִּגְרָף שֶׁל רְעִי שֶׁאָסוּר לִקְרוֹת כְּנֶגְדּוֹ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין בּוֹ רְעִי, הוֹאִיל וְהוּא מְיֻחָד לְכָךְ,כב כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן פ"ז:כג

4 [Some authorities maintain that the recitation of the Shema and Shemoneh Esreh should not be forbidden] when there are feces on one’s skin17 and they are covered by his clothing, even if his clothing touches them.

[The same ruling applies if] one extended his hand into a lavatory, but did not perceive any foul odor; e.g., there is a wall between him and the walls of the lavatory and he extended his hand through a hole in the wall. Otherwise, it would be forbidden [to recite the Shema], because [one is within sight] of the lavatory itself even though it is enclosed by walls, as will be explained in sec. 83[:1].

[In the above instances,] one would consider forbidding [the recitation of the Shema] only because of the hand which is in the lavatory or because of the place on one’s skin where the feces are located beneath his clothes, for the phrase “and your camp shall be holy” cannot be applied to these places. [In these two instances, the above-mentioned authorities base their lenient ruling on] the verse,18 “All souls shall praise G‑d.” [They hold that] the mouth and the nose are included in the [act of] praise, but not the other organs.19 Hence, even if [those other organs] are not clean, one is permitted [to recite G‑d’s praise].

Other authorities forbid [reciting the Shema in either of the instances mentioned above, basing themselves on] the verse,20 “All of my limbs21 shall say, ‘G‑d, who is like You?’”

Yet other authorities maintain that those who granted license did so only when the filth on the skin are located in places where they are covered regardless, even without a garment, e.g., in the armpits. With regard to actual practice, it is advisable to follow the view of those who forbid [the recitation of the Shema] in all [these] situations.

Even with regard to semen on the skin, it is advisable to follow the stringent view as with feces notwithstanding the fact that [the semen] is covered by clothes,22 even though according to the letter of the law it is not comparable to feces at all. Nevertheless, it is not necessary to wash with water unless it is already dry. If, however, it is still moist, it is sufficient to remove it with a cloth.

When does the above apply? To [semen] on one’s skin. If, however, it is on one’s clothes and is covered, [reciting the Shema] is permitted even with regard to feces, as explained above.23 Certainly this applies with regard to semen, for it is not comparable to feces at all according to the letter of the law. Nevertheless, certain of the pious men of the early generations would engage in intimacy naked24 so that semen would not attach to their clothes even though it would be covered from above. Similarly, they would be vigilant that their clothes would not [be soiled by] even a drop of urine, and certainly not by a drop of feces.

ד הָיְתָה צוֹאָה עַל בְּשָׂרוֹכד,17 וּמְכֻסָּה בִּבְגָדָיוכה אֲפִלּוּ הַבֶּגֶד נוֹגֵעַ בָּהּ,כו וְכֵן אִם הִכְנִיס יָדוֹ לְבֵית הַכִּסֵּא וְאֵינוֹ מֵרִיחַ רֵיחַ רַע,כז וּכְגוֹן שֶׁיֵּשׁ מְחִצָּה בֵּינוֹ לְבֵין מְחִצּוֹת בֵּית הַכִּסֵּא וְהִכְנִיס יָדוֹ לְבֵית הַכִּסֵּא דֶּרֶךְ חֹר שֶׁבַּמְּחִיצוֹת, דְאִם לֹא כֵּן אָסוּר מִשּׁוּם בֵּית הַכִּסֵּא עַצְמוֹ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ מְחִיצוֹתכח כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן פ"ג,כט אֲבָל עַכְשָׁו שֶׁאֵין לֶאֱסֹר אֶלָּא מִשּׁוּם הַיָּד בִּלְבַדָּהּ שֶׁהִיא בְּבֵית הַכִּסֵּא, אוֹ מִשּׁוּם אוֹתוֹ מָקוֹם בִּבְשָׂרוֹ שֶׁהַצּוֹאָה מֻנַּחַת עָלָיו תַּחַת בְּגָדָיו, שֶׁאוֹתוֹ מָקוֹם אֵין אֲנִי קוֹרֵא בּוֹ "וְהָיָה מַחֲנֶיךָ קָדוֹשׁ וְגו'" – (ו)יֵשׁ אוֹמְרִיםל שֶׁאֵין לֶאֱסֹר בִּשְׁבִילָם לִקְרוֹת וּלְהִתְפַּלֵּל, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר:לא,18 "כֹּל הַנְּשָׁמָה תְּהַלֵּל יָהּ", הַפֶּה וְהַחֹטֶם הֵם בִּכְלַל הַהִלּוּל וְלֹא שְׁאָר אֵיבָרִים.לב,19 וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינָם נְקִיִּים – מֻתָּר, וְיֵשׁ אוֹסְרִים,לג מִשּׁוּם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר:לד,20 "כָּל עַצְמֹתַי21 תֹּאמַרְנָה ה' מִי כָמוֹךָ". וְיֵשׁ אוֹמְרִיםלה שֶׁלֹּא הִתִּירוּ הַמַּתִּירִים בְּצוֹאָה שֶׁעַל בְּשָׂרוֹ אֶלָּא בְּמָקוֹם שֶׁהִיא נִכְסֵית מֵאֵלֶיהָ בְּלֹא מַלְבּוּשׁ, כְּגוֹן בֵּין אַצִּילֵי יָדָיו. וּלְעִנְיַן מַעֲשֶׂה נָכוֹן לַעֲשׂוֹת כְּדִבְרֵי הָאוֹסְרִים בְּכָל עִנְיָן.לו

וַאֲפִלּוּ בְּשִׁכְבַת זֶרַע שֶׁעַל בְּשָׂרוֹ – נָכוֹן לְהַחֲמִיר בָּהּ כְּמוֹ בְּצוֹאָה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִיא מְכֻסָּה בְּבִגְדוֹ,לז,22 אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁמֵּעִקָּר הַדִּין אֵינָהּ כְּצוֹאָה כְּלָל.לח וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם אֵין צָרִיךְ לִרְחֹץ בְּמַיִם אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן הִיא יְבֵשָׁה כְּבָר, אֲבָל אִם עֲדַיִן הִיא לַחָה מְקַנְּחָהּ בְּמַפָּה וְדַיּוֹ.לט בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים כְּשֶׁהִיא עַל בְּשָׂרוֹ, אֲבָל עַל בִּגְדוֹ וּמְכֻסָּה שֶׁמֻּתָּר אֲפִלּוּ בְּצוֹאָה כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר לְעֵילמ,23 – כָּל שֶׁכֵּן בְּשִׁכְבַת זֶרַע שֶׁאֵינוֹ כְּצוֹאָה כְּלָל מִן הַדִּין.מא וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם מִקְצָת חֲסִידִים הָרִאשׁוֹנִים הָיוּ מְשַׁמְּשִׁים מִטּוֹתֵיהֶם עֲרֻמִּים,24 שֶׁלֹּא תִּדְבַּק שִׁכְבַת זֶרַע בַּחֲלוּקֵיהֶן, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא מְכֻסֶּה מִלְמַעְלָה.מב וְכֵן הָיוּ מַחֲמִירִים עַל עַצְמָן שֶׁלֹּא יִהְיֶה עַל בִּגְדֵיהֶם אֲפִלּוּ טִפֵּי מֵימֵי רַגְלַיִם, וְכָל שֶׁכֵּן טִפּוֹת צוֹאָה:מג

Alter Rebbe's Shulchan Aruch (Sichos In English)

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5 When one’s hands are soiled from cleaning [himself] in the lavatory, if there are no tangible feces upon them, but only dry filth which is no longer malodorous, he is permitted to recite the Shema even though [the dirt] is exposed on his hands.25

ה מִי שֶׁיָּדָיו מְטֻנָּפוֹת מִקִּנּוּחַ בֵּית הַכִּסֵּא, אִם אֵין בָּהֶם מַמָּשׁוּת צוֹאָה אֶלָּא לִכְלוּךְ בְּעָלְמָא וְהִיא יְבֵשָׁה וְהָלַךְ רֵיחָהּ – מֻתָּר לִקְרוֹת אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִיא מְגֻלָּה עַל יָדָיו:מד,25

6 According to all opinions, it is forbidden to recite [the Shema] when there are feces in their [usual] place, i.e., in the anal opening, even if it is covered.26 Even those authorities who grant license when there are covered feces on one’s skin concede with regard to feces in their [usual] place, because there they are particularly offensive, for they are warm, they have not been exposed to the atmosphere, and their odor has not diffused.

This [prohibition] applies provided [the feces] would be visible were one to be standing or even if they would not be visible when he stands, but only when he sits. If, however, they would not be visible at all, [reciting the Shema] is permitted, because “the Torah was not given to the ministering angels.”27

All of the above applies to the person himself. Another person is permitted to recite [the Shema] near [that person] when [the feces] are covered with his clothes.28

ו צוֹאָה בִּמְקוֹמָהּ הַיְנוּ בְּנֶקֶב פִּי הַטַּבַּעַת אֲפִלּוּ הִיא מְכֻסָּה – אָסוּר לִקְרוֹת לְדִבְרֵי הַכֹּל,26 שֶׁאַף הַמַּתִּירִים בְּצוֹאָה מְכֻסָּה עַל בְּשָׂרוֹ – מוֹדִים בְּצוֹאָה בִּמְקוֹמָהּ, מִפְּנֵי שֶׁזֻּהֲמָתָהּ מְרֻבָּה,מה שֶׁחַמָּה הִיא וְלֹא יָצְאָה לָאֲוִיר וְאֵין רֵיחָהּ מִתְפַּזֵּר.מו וְהוּא שֶׁאִם הָיָה עוֹמֵד הָיְתָה נִרְאֵית, וַאֲפִלּוּ לֹא הָיְתָה נִרְאֵית כְּשֶׁהוּא עוֹמֵד אֶלָּא כְּשֶׁהוּא יוֹשֵׁב. אֲבָל אִם לֹא הָיְתָה נִרְאֵית כְּלָל – מֻתָּר, מִפְּנֵי שֶׁלֹּא נִתְּנָה תּוֹרָה לְמַלְאֲכֵי הַשָּׁרֵת.מז,27 וְכָל זֶה לְאוֹתוֹ אָדָם עַצְמוֹ, אֲבָל אַחֵר מֻתָּר לִקְרוֹת אֶצְלוֹ כְּשֶׁהוּא מְכֻסֶּה בִּבְגָדָיו:מח,28

7 If a person suffers from hemorrhoids whose constant bleeding is accompanied by a foul and fetid malodorous fluid, he is forbidden to recite any holy words as long as [this] discharge continues.

[Different rules apply] if it does not have a rank odor. If the blood or the fluid emerges by being forcefully discharged intermittently, it is emanating from the digestive tract, and the person can correct his situation by washing the site of the filth. If, however, the discharge is not forced but constant and spontaneous, it comes from the anal opening. There is no need to correct the situation, for it is like the blood of a wound.

ז מִי שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ חֳלִי הַטְּחוֹרִים וְזָב מִמֶּנּוּ דָּם תָּמִיד, וְאַגַּב הַדָּם יוֹצֵא מִמֶּנּוּ לֵחָה סְרוּחָה וּמְעֻפֶּשֶׁת וְיֵשׁ לָהּ רֵיחַ רַע – אָסוּר בְּכָל דָּבָר שֶׁבִּקְדֻשָּׁה כָּל זְמַן שְׁלֵחָה סְרוּחָה שׁוֹתֵת מִמֶּנּוּ.מט וְאִם אֵין שָׁם רֵיחַ רַע, אִם הַדָּם אוֹ הַלֵּחָה יוֹצֵא בְּדֶרֶךְ דְּחִיָּה בְּסֵרוּגִין – מִן הַמֵּעַיִם הֵם, וְיֵשׁ לוֹ תַּקָּנָה לִרְחֹץ מְקוֹם הַזֻּהֲמָא. וְאִם שׁוֹתֵת וְיוֹרֶדֶת תָּמִיד מֵעַצְמָהּ שֶׁלֹּא בְּדֶרֶךְ דְּחִיָּה – מִפִּי הַטַּבַּעַת הִיא, וְאֵין צָרִיךְ תַּקָּנָה דַהֲוֵי כְּדַם מַכָּתוֹ:נ

8 If a small amount of feces is in one’s sight, he can nullify it29 by spitting onto it. He may [then] recite [the Shema].30 [This applies] provided the spittle is thick, so that the feces will not be visible. Similarly, water that [covers] feces is not considered a covering unless it is murky so that the feces are not visible in it.

Nullifying with spittle is only effective immediately. If one does not recite [the Shema] immediately thereafter and the spittle is dissolved and absorbed, [the feces] are not nullified.31

ח הָיָה לְפָנָיו מְעַט צוֹאָה – יָכוֹל לְבַטְּלָהּ29 בְּרֹק שֶׁיָּרֹק בָּהּ וְיִקְרָא.נא,30 וְהוּא שֶׁיִּהְיֶה הָרֹק עָבֶה,נב שֶׁלֹּא תְּהֵא הַצּוֹאָה נִרְאֵית.נג וְכֵן מַיִם שֶׁעַל גַּבֵּי צוֹאָהנד אֵינָם חֲשׁוּבִים כִּסּוּי,נה אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן הֵם עֲכוּרִים שֶׁאֵין הַצּוֹאָה נִרְאֵית מִתּוֹכָם. וְאֵין בִּטּוּל הָרֹק מוֹעִיל אֶלָּא לְפִי שָׁעָה, אֲבָל אִם לֹא יִקְרָא מִיָּד וְהָרֹק נִמּוֹחַ וְנִבְלָע בָּהּ – לֹא בְּטֵלָה:נו,31

9 If there is doubt as to whether there are feces in a house, it is permitted to recite [the Shema],32 for we operate on the assumption that there are no feces in a home. If there is doubt as to whether or not there are feces in a garbage heap even when it is in a home, it is forbidden [to recite the Shema], for we operate on the assumption that there are feces in a garbage heap.33

Even in another place where it is not known whether there are feces present, e.g., [in the empty space] in front of homes where feces are commonly found, it is forbidden [to recite the Shema]. Needless to say, this ruling applies in a courtyard, unless it is known that feces are not commonly found there.

By contrast, it is permitted [to recite the Shema in a place,] even in a garbage heap, where it is not known whether there is urine present, for the Torah did not forbid the recitation [of the Shema] in view of urine except while it is actually being excreted. Once it has reached the ground, it is permitted according to Scriptural Law to recite [the Shema] in view of urine even if it is exposed.34

[This is derived from] the verse,35 “And you shall have a designated place outside the camp to which you will go out.” A covering was not required for [urine], as for feces, for [only] with regard to [the latter] is it stated, “And you shall cover your excrement.” Nevertheless, our Sages ordained that [it is forbidden to recite the Shema in sight of urine] as a safeguard [to prevent this being done in view of] feces. However, this safeguard was to apply only when one is certain that [urine is] present, not in a case of doubt.

ט סָפֵק אִם צוֹאָה בַּבַּיִת – מֻתָּר לִקְרוֹת,נז,32 שֶׁחֶזְקַת בַּיִת שֶׁאֵין בּוֹ צוֹאָה.נח סָפֵק אִם צוֹאָה בָּאַשְׁפָּה אֲפִלּוּ אִם הוּא בַּבַּיִת – אָסוּר, שֶׁחֶזְקַת אַשְׁפָּה שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהּ צוֹאָה.נט,33 וַאֲפִלּוּ בְּמָקוֹם [אַחֵר] שֶׁסָּפֵק אִם יֵשׁ שָׁם צוֹאָה, כְּגוֹן לִפְנֵי הַבָּתִּים שֶׁדֶּרֶךְ לִהְיוֹת שָׁם צוֹאָה – אָסוּר, וְכָל שֶׁכֵּן בֶּחָצֵר, אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן יָדוּעַ שֶׁאֵין דֶּרֶךְ לִהְיוֹת שָׁם צוֹאָה.ס אֲבָל סְפֵק מֵי רַגְלַיִם – אֲפִלּוּ בָּאַשְׁפָּה מֻתָּר, מִפְּנֵי שֶׁלֹּא אָסְרָה תּוֹרָה לִקְרוֹת כְּנֶגֶד מֵי רַגְלַיִם אֶלָּא כְּנֶגֶד עַמּוּד שֶׁל קִלּוּחַ, אֲבָל לְאַחַר שֶׁנָּפְלוּ לָאָרֶץ מֻתָּר לִקְרוֹת אֶצְלָן מִן הַתּוֹרָה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהֵם מְגֻלִּים,34 שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר:סא,35 "וְיָד תִּהְיֶה לְךָ מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה וְיָצָאתָ שָּׁמָּה חוּץ". וְלֹא הִצְרִיכָן כִּסּוּי כְּמוֹ בְּצוֹאָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בָּהּ: "וְכִסִּיתָ אֶת צֵאָתֶךָ", אֶלָּא שֶׁחֲכָמִים גָּזְרוּ עֲלֵיהֶן גְּזֵירָה מִשּׁוּם צוֹאָה, וְלֹא גָּזְרוּ אֶלָּא בְּוַדָּאָן – אֲבָל לֹא בִּסְפֵקָן:סב

10 If one finds feces, whether in a home or in a garbage heap, and there is a question whether they are human feces or dog feces,36 we assume they came from the most likely source, regardless of whether this leads to a more lenient or more stringent ruling. Thus, if young children are found there more frequently than dogs, it is forbidden even in a house [to recite the Shema].37 If dogs are found there more frequently than children, even in a garbage heap, we assume it came from the dogs.

י מָצָא צוֹאָה בֵּין בַּבַּיִת בֵּין בָּאַשְׁפָּה, וְסָפֵק אִם הִיא צוֹאַת אָדָם אוֹ שֶׁל כְּלָבִים36 – תּוֹלִין בַּמָּצוּי, בֵּין לְהָקֵל בֵּין לְהַחֲמִיר,סג שֶׁאִם מְצוּיִין בָּהּ תִּינוֹקוֹתסד יוֹתֵר מִכְּלָבִים – אֲפִלּוּ בְּבַיִת אָסוּר,37 וְאִם אֲפִלּוּ בָּאַשְׁפָּה מְצוּיִין כְּלָבִים יוֹתֵר – תּוֹלִין בַּכְּלָבִים:

11 If, [without first investigating,] a person recited the Shema or Shemoneh Esreh in a place where there was reason to consider the possibility of [finding] feces, and afterwards found feces there, he must recite [the Shema] and Shemoneh Esreh again.38 [The rationale is that] he was negligent in not checking the place before reciting [the Shema] or Shemoneh Esreh. To [his prayer] we apply [the words of censure],39 “The offering of the wicked is an abomination.” ([The laws that apply] if one recited the Grace after Meals or other blessings [in such a situation] will be explained in sec. 185[:5].) If, by contrast, there was no reason to consider the possibility of [finding] feces in that place, there is no need to recite [the Shema] and Shemoneh Esreh again.

If one finds urine, even in a place where there was reason to consider the possibility of [finding it], there is no need to recite [the Shema] and Shemoneh Esreh again, because in this instance the prohibition is only Rabbinic in origin.

יא קָרָא קְרִיאַת שְׁמַע אוֹ הִתְפַּלֵּל בְּמָקוֹם שֶׁרָאוּי לְהִסְתַּפֵּק בּוֹ בְּצוֹאָה וּמְצָאָהּ שָׁם אַחַר כָּךְ – צָרִיךְ לַחֲזֹר וְלִקְרוֹת וּלְהִתְפַּלֵּל,סה,38 לְפִי שֶׁפָּשַׁע בַּמֶּה שֶׁלֹּא בָּדַק הַמָּקוֹם קֹדֶם שֶׁקָּרָא אוֹ הִתְפַּלֵּל, וַהֲרֵינִי קוֹרֵא בּוֹ39 "וְזֶבַח רְשָׁעִים תּוֹעֵבָה"סו (וְאִם בֵּרֵךְ בִּרְכַּת הַמָּזוֹן אוֹ שְׁאָר בְּרָכוֹת – יִתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן קפ"הסז). אֲבָל אִם אֵין הַמָּקוֹם רָאוּי לְהִסְתַּפֵּק בּוֹ בְּצוֹאָה – אֵין צָרִיךְ לַחֲזֹר וְלִקְרוֹת וּלְהִתְפַּלֵּל.סח וְאִם מָצָא מֵי רַגְלַיִם אֲפִלּוּ בִּמְקוֹם שֶׁרָאוּי לְהִסְתַּפֵּק בָּהֶם – אֵין צָרִיךְ לַחֲזֹר וְלִקְרוֹת וּלְהִתְפַּלֵּל, הוֹאִיל וְאֵין אִסּוּרָן אֶלָּא מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים:סט