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Washing after Bathroom Entry

Whats the status of our bathrooms today? I read that after using the bathroom ,a man must wait at least 10 minutes before being with his wife because of ruach ha tumah? Is this true. Can a person use a bathroom to wash before praying, if he dries his hands outside? If one enters a bathroom does one have to wash again, and if so how (3 times with a cup)?

Answer:

I have not heard of having to wait a set time after using the bathroom.

The question of ruach ra’ah in today’s bathrooms is discussed by several poskim. The Gemara writes it is permitted to speak divrei Torah in Persian toilets, which are not sullied, and some write that this applies to an even greater extent to our toilets. Others wish to defer the proof, but it nonetheless appears that our toilets do not have the same status as those of Chazal. This is especially true for bathrooms in which there is also a bath, a mirror and sink, and so on, which are used for several purposes, and not specifically for bathroom use.

In addition, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (cited in Mikra’ei Kodesh, Yom Kippur, p. 157, note 17) stated that there is no need today to be particular for halachos of ruach ra’ah that are not mentioned in the Gemara. Although he was referring to the halachah of walking 4 amos before netillas yadayim in the morning, the same can be applied here, with regard to netilas yadayim after entering a bathroom.

Because of these factors, some poskim write that one may wash netillas yadayim in a bathroom, though several write that where possible, it is better not to do this.

See: Chazon Ish, Orach Chaim 17:4; Minchas Yitzchak 1:60 (explaining why it is permitted, but concluding that one should not be lenient under ordinary circumstances); Beis Shlomo 18; Levush Mordechai 182; Eretz Tzvi 110.


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2 Comments

  1. CORRECTION to previous comment that is awaiting moderation:

    Spelling mistake in point 3 – should be :

    See the Sefer : Kedusha v’Tzeniut by the Tzadik Rav Daniel Frish

    Page 111

    He brings from:

    1. Gemorah in Gitin daf 70 – amud 1
    2. Da’at Dekedusha – Siman 7
    3. Orach Chayim – Siman 240, Megein Avraham – Sif Katan 29
    3. Seder HaYom in the name of the Zohar

    1. Thank you for pointing out the sources. The Gemara is not quoted by poskim, presumably because it refers to returning from a beis hakisei in the fields, where spirits used to roam, and would not apply to our bathrooms. The Magen Avraham therefore only quotes the Zohar, and the application of this idea will also depend on the status of today’s bathrooms. The Zohar does not mention a time frame, so that it can make things difficult. I have not heard of poskim being wary of these matters today.

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