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 Hilchos Tefilla 92 (page 249)
 מתחילת סימן צב עד אמצע סעיף ב ודווקא

Cleansing One's Body for Tefilla
Can Someone Who Must Use the Restroom Daven?
Can Someone Who Must Use the Restroom Study Torah?

Cleansing one's body for tefilla
Before davening, a person must verify whether or not he needs the restroom. Someone who needs to use the restroom is not permitted to daven, even if that means missing the minyan. He is permitted to daven if using the bathroom would cause him to miss the zman tefilla, as long as he is able to wait "the amount of time it takes to walk a parsa (an ancient measure of distance)" before relieving himself. Someone with an upset stomach who does not need the bathroom immediately but is sure to need it over the course of davening (without being able to wait the span of a parsa) is permitted to daven if there is concern that he will miss the zman tefilla.
( סעיף א וס"ק א, ב ו־ה; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 1 ו־13)

Can someone who must use the restroom daven?
If someone davened when needing the bathroom, the halacha depends on whether or not he would have been able to wait for seventy-two minutes (the span of a parsa cited above) before relieving himself. If he would have been able to wait that long, he has fulfilled his obligation with the davening. If he could not have waited that long, he did not fulfill his obligation, his tefilla is considered a disgrace, and the many berachos he made were in vain. The poskim discuss whether someone who needed to urinate when starting to daven must repeat Shemoneh Esrei. One opinion suggests repeating the tefilla conditionally, stipulating that the repetition should count as his tefilla if he has not yet fulfilled his obligation and as a donation (see §107) if he has already fulfilled his obligation.
( סעיף א, ס"ק ב-ד, וביה"ל ד"ה היה, ד"ה וצריך, וד"ה שיעור; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 2)

Can someone who must use the restroom study Torah?
It is forbidden for someone who feels that he would need to use the restroom within seventy-two minutes to begin learning, in addition to reciting, any divrei kedusha (e.g. kriyas Shema, berachos, divrei Torah). According to some poskim, he is permitted to think Torah thoughts. Bedieved, if he recited Shema or berachos he does not need to repeat them. The poskim discuss whether someone who needs the bathroom but can wait the span of a parsa is permitted to involve himself with divrei kedusha, and one can be lenient in a time of need.
( סעיף א, ס"ק ו-ט, וביה"ל ד"ה אפילו וד"ה קורא; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 6 ו־9)

  • According to some poskim, a belt is required for davening at all times and in all places. Other poskim  hold that this rule applies only in times and places that it is normal to wear a sash throughout the day.
  • When davening, a person should be dressed respectfully enough to be able to appear before dignitaries.
  • According to many Rishonim and Acharonim, it is forbidden to go bareheaded nowadays, even for a short time. The problem is greater when mentioning Hashem's name or entering a shul, and is greatest when davening.

  • Human dignity has precedence over bal tishaktzu

  • Bal tishaktzu during tefilla

  • Someone who needs the bathroom between geula and Shemoneh Esrei



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.