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 Hilchos Kriyas Shema 79 (page 225)
  מסעיף ד עד סעיף ח

Animal Droppings
Offensive Odors
Someone with a Superior Sense of Smell

Animal droppings
Distancing oneself from waste in order to recite devarim sh'bekedusha is generally required only in the case of human waste.  Doing so is usually not mandated in the case of animal waste, with the exception of cat droppings and those of the n'miah (and, at times, other animals).  The waste of all animals is forbidden if the stench is uncomfortable. According to some poskim, those who wish to recite devarim sh'bekedusha should keep a distance from animal droppings that started out with a particularly offensive odor, even after the odor dissipates. Other poskim permit proximity to foul-smelling animal droppings even if their odor is still offensive, requiring one to move away from the odor but not to retreat an extra four amos.
( סעיף ד-ו, ס"ק כב-כד, וביה"ל ד"ה דינם)
Offensive odors
The rules of foul odors apply to any offensive smell that does not dissipate (e.g. rotting carcass, chicken coop, slaughterhouse, or musty basement). Naturally unpleasant odors that come from causes other than rot or decay, such as those of itran or sweat, do not require distance. The poskim discuss whether it is permissible to recite Shema near someone with particularly foul breath.
( סעיף ה ו־ז, ס"ק כג ו־כח, וביה"ל ד"ה אבל; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 33-35)

Someone with a superior sense of smell
Someone who lacks a sense of smell must keep his distance from foul odors just like someone with an average sense of smell. According to some poskim, someone with a sensitive nose must distance himself in accordance with his extraordinary sense of smell. When the halacha requires a distance of four amos from the point where the smell ends, he must move four amos from the place where he can no longer smell the offensive odor.
( ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 32)

  • One does not need to keep four amos from waste matter that is in a different room or behind a partition.
  • The poskim debate whether the exemption of waste behind a partition can be applied to the 'viewable distance' rule.
  • Even if the waste matter is in a different room, he must distance himself if he can smell the bad odor.

  • Donning tefillin between Ahava Rabba and Shema
  • Caution about potential odors
  • Distance from garbage




PLEASE NOTE:  The information in this email is for learning purposes only. Please review the Mishna Berura and Biurim U'Musafim before making a halachic decision. Hebrew words are occasionally transliterated to enable a smoother reading of the text. Common Ashkenazi pronunciation is generally used in these cases.