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 Hilchos Kriyas Shema 82-83 (page 227)
 מתחילת סימן פב עד סימן פג אמצע סעיף א אבל אם יש לו

A Translucent Cover
Torah Thoughts in a Clean Bathroom
Dry Tzo'ah

A translucent cover
The halacha requires keeping a distance only from obvious tzo'ah; this does not apply to covered waste that has no smell. Translucent solid materials, snow, and cloudy water are permissible as covers, but clear water is not. It is possible that ice is considered a valid cover.
( סימן פב, ס"ק א; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 3-4)

Torah thoughts in a clean bathroom
It is forbidden to delve into Torah in a proper bathroom, even a clean one. Studying Torah in a bathroom violates the rule of v'haya machanacha kadosh. According to one opinion, a clean bathroom is forbidden mid'rabonon. It is no longer considered a bathroom if the building was somewhat altered and designated for another purpose and the waste was cleaned from the area.
( סימן פג, סעיף א וס"ק ב; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 4; וראה שם, 5)
Dry tzo'ah
Completely dry waste is not considered tzo'ah and does not require distance. The poskim discuss how to determine absolute dryness. According to the Mechaber, tzo'ah can be considered dry if it crumbles when thrown. According to the Rama, it is dry if it crumbles when rolled. Some Acharonim are stringent and require both signs.
( סימן פב, ס"ק א, וביה"ל ד"ה ויש וד"ה וכן)

  • It is forbidden to recite a davar sh'bekedusha near waste from a child capable of eating a kzayis of grain within achilas pras. The kzayis must be from one of the 'five grains' that is baked or cooked.
  • The halacha mandates a distance only from the tzo'ah of a child capable of eating a kzayis as above, but it is recommended to avoid even the tzo'ah of a an eight day (and possibly even a one day) old child.  This extra precaution does not apply to urine.
  • There is a discussion among the poskim as to whether the requirement to inspect an area for uncovered waste before davening pertains only to one's daled amos or whether it also includes the 'viewable area' before him.

  • Designating an area as a bathroom

  • Keeping a distance from bathroom walls

  • The walls of contemporary bathrooms



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.