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 Hilchos Kriyas Shema 83 (page 228)
 מאמצע סעיף א אבל אם יש לו עד סעיף ד

Designating an Area as a Bathroom
Keeping a Distance from Bathroom Walls
The Walls of Bathrooms

Designating an area as a bathroom
An area designated through word or deed as a bathroom is considered unclean. It is considered a disgrace to the Torah to discuss it in such a place. Some poskim require moving four amos away, but many do not. In light of the above, workers at a building site should not recite berachos or Torah in the area designated for the bathrooms. Some poskim hold that the area is not considered designated until the walls are erected.
( סעיף ב-ג, ס"ק ח ו־ט, וביה"ל ד"ה הזמינו וד"ה מותר; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 18-20)
Keeping a distance from bathroom walls
According to the Mechaber, it is not necessary to keep one's distance from the walls of a bathroom before reciting devarim sheb'kedusha. Even according to this leniency, the Acharonim require the bathroom walls to be at least ten tefachim high to be considered an adequate partition. Most Acharonim disagree with this leniency, however, and forbid reciting Torah when one is facing -- or within four amos of -- a bathroom wall, even if there is no foul odor. If the bathroom wall [including doorframe and door] also serves other rooms, however, it is not necessary to stay away.
( סעיף א וס"ק ה; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 16; וראה שם, 14)

The walls of bathrooms
A bathroom's outer walls are treated as part of the bathroom with regard to devrei kedusha; since they were built specifically to house tzo'ah, they become like a graf shel rei'i (see §87:1). This rule applies to standalone bathrooms (e.g. portable bathrooms often found in parks and work sites). Home bathrooms, where the tzo'ah does not remain for long, may not qualify as bathrooms (see tomorrow's page) in this respect. Certainly the walls of home bathrooms, which serve other areas as well, are not considered a graf shel rei'i.  Even in standalone bathrooms, if the tzo'ah never reaches the walls or if the walls are made of brick or plaster, they are not treated as a graf shel rei'i.
( ס"ק ה; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 8 ו־14, וראה עוד שם ושם)

  • A translucent solid cover, snow, and cloudy water all qualify as proper covers for waste, but clear water does not.
  • It is forbidden to delve into Torah in a proper bathroom, even a clean one. Studying Torah in a bathroom is a violation of the rule of v'haya machanecha kodesh.
  • Completely dry waste is not considered tzo'ah and does not require distance. According to the Mechaber, tzo'ah is considered dry if it crumbles when thrown. According to the Rama, tzo'ah is dry if it crumbles when rolled.

  • Respecting divrei kedusha

  • Are home bathrooms considered beis hakiseh?

  • Are bathrooms with other fixtures considered 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.