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Davening While Sweaty

Shalom. Is it permitted to daven while drenched in sweat and it smells? Is it permitted to daven near sucha person? Is aperson allowed to wear a short sleeve shirt and daven due to fear for becoming sweaty? Do we say the concept of shav e lechol nefesh is applicable today since many people around the world shower daily? What about showering on yom tov or shabbat when drenched in sweat? Please send me an email with the answers and/or notify when you have posted. Thank you.


It is forbidden to daven while sweaty, or next to somebody who is sweaty, if the smell is so strong that it causes acute discomfort.

It is permitted, however, to daven while sweaty, if the smell is not so foul as to disturb. It is nonetheless more respectful to shower before davening.

There is no problem of wearing a short sleeve shirt, for fear of becoming sweaty or for any other reason. Of course, this applies to men alone.

For the question of shaveh le-kol nefesh and showering on yom tov, please see here.


The Gemara (Berachos 25) writes that it is forbidden to daven where there is a bad smell (one must distance himself four amos from where the smell ends, as the Shulchan Aruch 79:1 rules).

Although the formal sugya refers to human waste, the same halacha applies to ashpa (“garbage”) that has a foul odor (79:8), and poskim (see Tur and Peri Megadim) write that this has the same status as human waste. Therefore, poskim write (see Chayei Adam 3:22; Mishnah Berurah 29) that it is forbidden to daven next to foul smelling “garbage” on a Torah level, just as for human waste.

The same idea will apply to sweat, where the smell is so strong as to cause acute discomfort.

Therefore, one must be careful not to daven next to somebody whose body odor is so foul and strong as to cause such discomfort.

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