A couple that lives in a small apartment with a small kitchen is there a problem of making brachos when the trash can is full and “right there” next to them. However without any smell? Should one simply just look away from it (or cover it somehow)? Does one *have* to look away from it?

Answer:

If the trash can is full, and smells bad, it has the halachah of tzo’a, and the regular halachos of tzo’a will apply to it.

If it is clean (there is no foul smell), and made of a material that can be cleaned properly (most regular modern trash cans will fit this category), berachos can be made. Even if there is garbage in the can, or even dirty diapers etc., if the garbage is covered so that no bad smell is emitted, berachos can be made nearby.

Sources:

See Orach Chaim, beginning of 87. Although there is some dispute concerning tzo’a that is covered, Rav Shlomo Zalman (cited in Halichos Shlomo 20:4, note 10) ruled that one can be lenient, and he himself was lenient concerning this issue.

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