Question:

Hi,
I would like to ask you since this year we will have many 3 day Yom Tov, and it’s very hard for me and my family that we are not showering for 3 days. and it creates a lack in the Simches Yom Tov, is thor any solution to that?
I know some people do shower, but I heard conflicting Halachas on that. Can you please shed some light on that?
Thanks a lot

Answer:

 

It is permitted to wash ones hands, face, and feet on yom tov even with hot water, but not one’s whole body. The reason is that even though it is permitted to cook water for yom tov needs, such as eating, this is limited to things that are considered needs for everyone. The Shulchan Aruch says that showering one’s whole body is not considered a need for everyone, but rather only for very sensitive people, therefore washing the whole body with hot water is not permitted on yom tov. One may wash their hands face and feet with hot water on yom tov, as this is considered a need for everyone.

There is discussion if we can say that nowadays that people take showers daily or semi daily, that maybe taking a shower is no longer only for sensitive people and totally permitted. The consensus however of many poskim seems that the halachos still apply the way they did until now, and therefore Yom Tov would be like shabbos for this.

R’ Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe O:CH4-74- Rechitza-3) and Shmiras Shabbos Khilchoso ( 14-11) write that although it is the minhag not to take even a cold shower on shabbos person but if the person is uncomfortable from the heat he may take a cold shower, however he must be careful not to squeeze hair when washing or drying.  This would seem to apply to Yom Tov also. Regarding adding some hot water to the cold water on Yom Tov, there are opinions (Shmiras Shabbos Khilchoso ibid and 2-7, Piskei Teshuvos 511-2) that some warm water may be added to the shower, as long as you don’t feel the heat of the water. However if the heating system works in a way that a flame will turn on and off when the hot water is opened, then it would not be permitted to add hot water even on Yom Tov.

This is besides the issues of not using a bar of soap, a sponge or a brush that has hairs that are close to each other. Regarding liquid soap it is controversial how thin it has to be. Shampoo should not be used as they are usually too thick.

 

Sources:

O:CH 511-2, M:B ibid 9, 18, Shmiras Shabbos Khilchoso 14 ftnt 21, 19 ftnt 3 in the name of R. S. Z. Auerbach zt”l, Rivivos Efrayim 6-265, Be’er Moshe 8-159, Avnei Yoshpe 3-55(1) quoting R’ Eliyashiv zt”l, the Laws of Yom Tov 15-1 ftnt.2 , Shmiras Yom Tov Khilchoso 15-ftnt 5 quoting R’ Veber shlit”a. Halachically speaking quoting R’ Y. Belski zt”l, see ftnt 15 & 24. However see Shulchan Shlomo 511-2(3) where he question this. See Piskei Teshuvos 511-4,7 that the minhag is not to shower one’s whole body unless he is considered mitzaer.

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