SECTION 83 Laws Relating to a Lavatory with Regard to the Recitation of the Shema. (1–5)

סימן פג דִּינֵי בֵּית הַכִּסֵּא בִּקְרִיאַת שְׁמַע וּבוֹ ה' סְעִיפִים:

1 Just as it is forbidden by Scriptural Law1 to recite the Shema in view of feces, so, too, it is forbidden to recite [the Shema] in view of a functional lavatory, i.e., one that was used once for relieving oneself. [This applies] even if the feces were later removed. Since it was once classified as a lavatory, it is offensive and is not2 “a holy camp.”3 The prohibition is of Scriptural origin.

[This applies] even if its partitions4 are ten handbreadths high and thus demarcate a separate domain for whatever they encompass, and hence the feces are considered as being in a separate domain. Nevertheless, since these partitions are designated for this purpose, they are offensive, like a chamber pot.5 Even if the feces have been removed, one must distance oneself [at least] four cubits from [the partitions if they are behind him or to his side] and [step back] until they are out of sight if they are in front of him.

For this reason, one must take care not to recite [the Shema] or [Shemoneh Esreh] nor to think about words of Torah6 in a courtyard within sight of a lavatory, even if it is closed and the feces in it are not visible.

When does the above apply? If one constructed a room in his courtyard specifically for this purpose. If, however, one made a lavatory using the walls of a house or a courtyard, the laws pertaining to a lavatory do not pertain to these walls even though they also serve as the walls of the lavatory, since they are not designated solely for that purpose.7 It is permitted to recite [the Shema] even in actual proximity to these walls (as long as one is not near the space between them where one relieves8 himself and it is not withiin sight).

א כְּשֵׁם שֶׁאָסוּר לִקְרוֹת קְרִיאַת שְׁמַע כְּנֶגֶד הַצּוֹאָה מִן הַתּוֹרָהא,1 – כָּךְ אָסוּר לִקְרוֹת כְּנֶגֶד בֵּית הַכִּסֵּא יָשָׁן,ב דְּהַיְנוּ שֶׁנִּשְׁתַּמֵּשׁ בּוֹ כְּבָר פַּעַם אֶחָד בַּעֲשִׂיַּת צְרָכָיו,ג וַאֲפִלּוּ אִם פִּנָּה מִמֶּנּוּד הַצּוֹאָה אַחַר כָּךְ, שֶׁכֵּיוָן שֶׁחָל עָלָיו שֵׁם בֵּית הַכִּסֵּא פַּעַם אֶחָד – מָאוּס הוּא וְאֵין זֶה2 מַחֲנֶה קָדוֹשׁ,3 וְאָסוּר מִן הַתּוֹרָה.ה וַאֲפִלּוּ הוּא מִמְּחִצּוֹת4 גְּבוֹהוֹת י' טְפָחִים, שֶׁהֵן חֹלקוֹת רְשׁוּת לְעַצְמָן לְכָל מַה שֶּׁבְּתוֹכָן, וְנִמְצָא שֶׁהַצּוֹאָה שֶׁבְּתוֹכָן הִיא בִּרְשׁוּת בִּפְנֵי עַצְמוֹ, מִכָּל מָקוֹם הַמְּחִצּוֹת עַצְמָן כֵּיוָן שֶׁהֵם מְיֻחָדִים לְכָךְ הֵם מְאוּסִיןו כְּמוֹ גְּרָף שֶׁל רְעִי,ז,5 וְצָרִיךְ לְהַרְחִיק מֵהֶם ד' אַמּוֹת וּלְפָנָיו כִּמְלֹא עֵינָיוח אֲפִלּוּ פִּנּוּ מִמֶּנּוּ הַצּוֹאָה. וְלָכֵן צָרִיךְ לִזָּהֵר שֶׁלֹּא לִקְרוֹת אוֹ לְהִתְפַּלֵּל אוֹ לְהַרְהֵר בְּדִבְרֵי תּוֹרָהט,6 בְּחָצֵר כְּנֶגֶד בֵּית הַכִּסֵּא כִּמְלֹא עֵינָיו אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא סָגוּר וְאִי אֶפְשָׁר לִרְאוֹת הַצּוֹאָה שֶׁבּוֹ.י

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים? כְּשֶׁעָשָׂה בַּחֲצֵירוֹ חֶדֶר מְיֻחָד לָזֶה אֲבָל אִם עָשָׂה בֵּית הַכִּסֵּא בִּמְחִצּוֹת שֶׁל בַּיִת אוֹ חָצֵר – אֵין עַל הַמְּחִצּוֹת אֵלּוּ דִּין בֵּית הַכִּסֵּא אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהֵן גַּם כֵּן מְחִצּוֹת שֶׁל בֵּית הַכִּסֵּא, כֵּיוָן שֶׁאֵינָן מְיֻחָדוֹת לוֹ בִּלְבַד.7 [וּ]מֻתָּר לִקְרוֹת אֲפִלּוּ בְּסָמוּךְ לָהֶן מַמָּשׁיא (רַק שֶׁלֹּא יִהְיֶה סָמוּךְ לְהֶחָלָל שֶׁבֵּינֵיהֶם שֶׁנִּפְלָהיב,8 שָׁם וְלֹא כְּנֶגְדּוֹ מְלֹא עֵינָיו):יג

2 [Although] one [merely] designated a place or a room for a lavatory, but had not yed used it, he is forbidden to recite [the Shema] inside it according to Rabbinic decree. Since it is called a lavatory, it is disrespectful to recite [the Shema] in it.9 The Shema may, however, be recited in view of it, even within four cubits of it, for designating it alone is not sufficient to bring about a prohibition outside of it.

ב הִזְמִין מָקוֹם אוֹ חֶדֶר לְבֵית הַכִּסֵּא וַעֲדַיִן לֹא נִשְׁתַּמֵּשׁ בּויד – אָסוּר לִקְרוֹת בְּתוֹכוֹטו מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים,טז הוֹאִיל וְנִקְרָא עָלָיו שֵׁם בֵּית הַכִּסֵּא – יֵשׁ בּוֹ בִּזָּיוֹן לַקְּרִיאָה שֶׁבְּתוֹכוֹ.9 אֲבָל מֻתָּר לִקְרוֹת כְּנֶגְדּוֹיז אֲפִלּוּ בְּסָמוּךְ לוֹ תּוֹךְ ד' אַמּוֹת,יח שֶׁאֵין קְרִיאַת הַשֵּׁם בִּלְבַד כְּדַאי לֶאֱסֹר חוּצָה לוֹ:

3 If a person facing two rooms said, “This room will be a lavatory and also this one,” it is forbidden to recite the Shema in either of them. If, however, he said concerning the second “and this room,” but not “and also this one,” it is uncertain whether the second [room] is considered as having been designated [for this purpose]. Initially, therefore, one should not recite the Shema [there], but if he did, he has fulfilled his obligation. If, however, one recited [the Shema] in a place where it is definitely forbidden to recite it, even if the prohibition is merely Rabbinic in origin, he must recite [the Shema] again, as stated in sec. 71[:6].10

ג הָיוּ לְפָנָיו ב' חֲדָרִים וְאָמַר "חֶדֶר זֶה יִהְיֶה לְבֵית הַכִּסֵּא וְגַם זֶה" – הֲרֵי שְׁנֵיהֶם אֲסוּרִים לִקְרוֹתיט בְּתוֹכָם.כ אֲבָל אִם אָמַר עַל הַשֵּׁנִי "וְחֶדֶר זֶה" וְלֹא אָמַר "וְגַם זֶה" – הֲרֵי הַשֵּׁנִי סָפֵק אִם הִזְמִינוֹכא לְכָךְ אִם לֹא. לְפִיכָךְ אֵין קוֹרִין לְכַתְּחִלָּה, וְאִם קָרָא – יָצָא.כב אֲבָל אִם קָרָא בְּמָקוֹם שֶׁאָסוּר לִקְרוֹת בְּוַדַּאי, אֲפִלּוּ אֵין אִסּוּרוֹ אֶלָּא מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים – צָרִיךְ לַחֲזֹר וְלִקְרוֹת,כג כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן ע"א:כד,10

4 If a lavatory is [above] a slanted trench and its opening is [at least] four cubits away from the pit so that the feces immediately roll and fall far from the opening, and similarly the urine descends immediately into the pit, it is considered as if [the filth] is closed off and as if there is not a lavatory there at all. ([This applies] whether there are partitions surrounding it or not.) It is permitted to recite the Shema there if there is no foul odor and one does not urinate outside the pit.11 If, however, people sometimes urinate in [the lavatory, outside the pit], (and this is done frequently), it is forbidden to think about words of Torah there. Needless to say, [it is forbidden] to recite the Shema there (even when there is no urine present), for this place where people urinate, outside the pit, is categorized as a lavatory. One must [therefore] distance himself four cubits away [in front or to the side of this place] or [step back] until it is out of sight.

(Nevertheless, if this place [is surrounded by] walls, they are not governed by the laws pertaining to the walls of a lavatory [in which instance one would be required to] distance oneself [from them].12 For they are only walls for a lavatory for urine, which once it reaches the ground, is the subject of only a Rabbinic prohibition.13 The feces in the pit [are of no consequence], because they are considered as being closed off and do not cause these walls to be considered as the walls of a lavatory.)

ד בֵּית הַכִּסֵּא שֶׁהוּא בַּחֲפִירָהכה וּפִיו בְּרִחוּק ד' אַמּוֹת מִן הַגֻּמָּאכו וְהוּא עָשׂוּי בְּמִדְרוֹן, בְּעִנְיָן שֶׁהַרְעִי מִתְגַּלְגֵּל וְנוֹפֵל מִיָּד לְמֵרָחוֹק, וְכֵן הַמֵּי רַגְלַיִם יוֹרְדִין מִיָּד לַגֻּמָּאכז – הֲרֵי הוּא כְּסָתוּם וּכְאִלּוּ אֵין שָׁם בֵּית הַכִּסֵּא כְּלָל חוּץ לַגֻּמָּאכח (בֵּין שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ מְחִצּוֹת בֵּין שֶׁאֵין לוֹכט), וּמֻתָּר לִקְרוֹת שָׁם אִם אֵין שָׂם רֵיחַ רַעל וְגַם אֵין מַשְׁתִּינִים חוּץ לַגֻּמָּא.לא,11

אֲבָל אִם מַשְׁתִּינִים שָׁם לִפְעָמִיםלב (וּרְגִילִים בְּכָךְלג) – אָסוּר לְהַרְהֵר שָׁם בְּדִבְרֵי תּוֹרָהלד וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר לִקְרוֹת קְרִיאַת שְׁמַע (וַאֲפִלּוּ בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁאֵין שָׁם מֵי רַגְלַיִםלה), לְפִי שֶׁיֵּשׁ שֵׁם בֵּית הַכִּסֵּא עַל מָקוֹם זֶה שֶׁחוּץ לַגֻּמָּא שֶׁמַּשְׁתִּינִים שָׁם, וְצָרִיךְ לְהַרְחִיק מִמָּקוֹם זֶה ד' אַמּוֹת וּלְפָנָיו כִּמְלֹא עֵינָיו (א) (וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם אִם יֵשׁ לוֹ מְחִצּוֹתלו – אֵין לָהֶם דִּין מְחִצּוֹת בֵּית הַכִּסֵּא לְהַרְחִיק מֵהֶן,12 כֵּיוָן שֶׁאֵין הַמְּחִצּוֹת אֶלָּא לְבֵית הַכִּסֵּא שֶׁל הֲטָלַת מֵי רַגְלַיִם, שֶׁאֵין אֲסוּרִין אֶלָּא מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים אַחַר שֶׁנָּפְלוּ לָאָרֶץ,לז,13 שֶׁהַצּוֹאָה שֶׁבַּגֻּמָּה כְּסָתוּם דָּמִי וְאֵין מְחִצּוֹת אֵלּוּ נִקְרָאִים בִּשְׁבִילָהּ מְחִצּוֹת בֵּית הַכִּסֵּא):

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5 In houses that have a bench with a hole [for use as a lavatory seat], and [similar] small chairs for young children [beneath which a potty is placed], care must be taken that [these seats] are covered during the recitation of the Shema, Shemoneh Esreh, and words of Torah. Alternatively, they must be removed from the room in which one is praying or studying. Even if both their interior and exterior are clean, since they are designated to be sat upon while relieving oneself, they are considered like a lavatory, in which instance, even if they do not contain feces, one is required by Scriptural Law to distance oneself [at least] four cubits [in front or to the side of this place] or [step back] until they are out of sight.12

ה בְּנֵי אָדָם שֶׁיֵּשׁ לָהֶם סַפְסָל נָקוּב שֶׁנִּפְנִים עָלָיו,לח וְכֵן בְּאוֹתָם בָּתִּים שֶׁיֵּשׁ בְּתוֹכָם כִּסְאוֹת קְטַנִּים נְקוּבִים לְצֹרֶךְ הַיְלָדִים קְטַנִּים שֶׁבַּבַּיִתלט – צָרִיךְ לִזָּהֵר שֶׁיִּהְיוּ מְכֻסִּים בִּשְׁעַת קְרִיאַת שְׁמַע וּתְפִלָּה וְדִבְרֵי תּוֹרָה, אוֹ יוֹצִיאֵם מֵהַחֶדֶר שֶׁמִּתְפַּלֵּל אוֹ לוֹמֵד בּוֹ, אֲפִלּוּ הֵם נְקִיִּים בְּתוֹכָם וְעַל גַּבָּם, שֶׁכֵּיוָן שֶׁהֵם מְיֻחָדִים לִפָּנוֹת עֲלֵיהֶם – הֲרֵי הֵם כְּבֵית הַכִּסֵּא,מ שֶׁאֲפִלּוּ אֵין בּוֹ צוֹאָה צָרִיךְ לְהַרְחִיק מִמֶּנּוּ ד' אַמּוֹת וּלְפָנָיו כִּמְלֹא עֵינָיו מִן הַתּוֹרָה:מא,12