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 Hilchos Kriyas Shema 77-78 (page 221)
 מתחילת סימן עז עד תחילת סימן עט

Diluting Waste With Water
The Amount of Water Needed for Diluting
Catheters Made of Rubber and Plastic

Diluting waste with water
A person is forbidden from reciting a davar sh'bekedusha if there is urine within four amos around him or if there is any in front of him as far as his eyes can see. If the urine is on the ground or in a container and does not have a strong foul smell, one is permitted to "neutralize" it by adding a revi'is of water to it or by pouring it into a revi'is of water. (The entire revi'is must be added to it at once.) Other liquids are probably acceptable for dilution as well.
( סימן עז, סעיף א, וס"ק א, ב, ג ו־ו, וראה שעה"צ ס"ק ה; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 5-6, וראה שם, 1, לענין מחשבה בדברי קדושה; סימן עח, ביה"ל ד"ה היה קורא)
The amount of water needed for diluting
A large quantity of urine can be neutralized by diluting it with one revi'is of water. The revi'is does not neutralize any urine which is added afterwards. It is possible that if urine had been added on more than one occasion to create the total collection, one would need to add a separate revi'is for every time urine was added in order to neutralize the whole quantity. A contrary opinion holds that one revi'is does help neutralize urine which is added afterwards. If the collected urine amounts to less than a revi'is, one only needs to add more water than there is urine; a full revi'is is not required for dilution in such a case. The water will continue to neutralize added urine as long as there is more water than urine and there is less than a revi'is of urine in total.
( סימן עז, סעיף ב וס"ק ז-ח)
Catheters made of metal or plastic
It is forbidden to recite a davar sh'bekedusha in the presence of a receptacle designated for holding urine. (In the Gemara such a keli is referred to as an abit.) A patient wearing a catheter is permitted to recite devarim sh'bekedusha as long as there is no stench. The poskim discuss whether the catheter and bag must be kept covered. There are four opinions: 1) they do not need to be covered, 2) a rubber catheter must be covered and it is preferable to cover a plastic one, 3) both rubber and plastic must be covered, and 4) since modern catheters are designed for single use, they are not treated as an abit and neither has to be covered.
(סימן עז, סעיף א וס"ק ה; סימן עח, ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 3)

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The general rule is to be lenient with questions of Rabbinic law, but not when the question can be easily clarified or when there is a greater likelihood that the situation is one which warrants a stricter approach.

  • The mitzva to 'keep your place clean'

  • The four cubits around the person

  • The 'visible distance'




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.