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 Hilchos Kriyas Shema 76 (page 220)
 מסעיף ז עד תחילת סימן עז

Inspecting the Cleanliness of an Area Before Davening There
Davening in a Foul-Smelling Place
When Safek D'rabonon L'kula Does Not Apply

Inspecting the cleanliness of an area before davening there
A person is required to inspect an area where he wishes to recite devarim sh'bekedusha if the place is likely to contain human or cat waste that would cause the recitation to be forbidden mid'oraisa. Likewise, one must inspect an area if there had been waste there and it is unknown whether the waste has been removed. However, if the waste material would only render the area forbidden mid'rabonon (e.g. urine), it is not necessary to inspect the area before reciting a davar sh'bekedusha. The diaper of a child who is old enough that his waste would be forbidden does not need to be checked before davening.
( סעיף ז וס"ק כג, כה, כו ו־ל; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 30 ו־33)
Davening in a foul-smelling place
If someone davened in a place that required inspection and waste matter was later found to have been there, he must repeat the davening (i.e. kriyas Shema with the berachos, Shemone Esrei) whether or not he was aware of the waste before he davened. He has to daven again because the act of davening in such a place created angels capable of preventing his tefillos from being accepted. There is a discussion in the poskim regarding whether the requirement to repeat the tefilla applies if davening in the area had been forbidden mid'rabonon.
( סעיף ח, וס"ק לא ו־לג; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 35 ו־37)
When safek d'rabonon l'kula does not apply
The general rule is to be lenient with questions of Rabbinic law. There are a number of exceptions, though, including:  1) cases in which the question can be easily clarified (e.g. when one can easily find out if Rabbinically-forbidden waste was in the area), 2) cases in which there is a greater likelihood that the situation is problematic (e.g. when such waste is regularly found in the area), and 3) cases in which an issur has been established and the question is whether it was resolved (e.g. there had been Rabbinically-forbidden waste in the area and it is unknown whether the waste was removed). A second opinion is lenient with Rabbinic laws even when an issur was established.
(31 סעיף ז, ס"ק כה וביה"ל ד"ה קרא; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו,)

  • It is forbidden to recite a davar sh'bekedusha within four amos of the foul smell of human waste or anything rotten. According to some poskim, a foul smell is considered neutralized if it is undetectable because of a room deodorizer or some other overpowering smell.
  • It is permissible to recite a davar sh'bekedusha near covered waste if does not emit a bad odor. Some poskim extend this heter to include waste found on a person's body when it is covered with clothing.
  • People should keep their clothing free of waste; certainly this is so when davening. If a person's clothing is soiled on the inside or outside with waste or shichvas zera, he may daven or study Torah b'dieved if the waste matter is covered (e.g. with an outer garment).

  • Diluting forbidden matter with water

  • The amount of water needed

  • Catheters made of rubber and plastic 




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.