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Can you Flush the Toilet on Shabbat

Can you flush the toilet on Shabbat?

Answer:

Yes, it is permitted to flush the toilet on Shabbos.

The reason for this is that the mechanical action of releasing the water that “flushes out” the old water involves no melachah (prohibited act of labor), and therefore no prohibition is involved.

Best wishes.

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6 Comments

  1. Would not the fact that the flushed water and waste matter go down the drain and out to a sewer under the street and then even further be considered a problem? What about the water flowing through the pipes into the house? Or is there a point where we stop looking for problems?

    1. The pipes under the street are not considered part of reshush horabim, and not a problem. The same would apply to the water flowing into the house

  2. I certainly and respectfully disagree. Here is the reason. The mechanical action of flushing a toilet activates
    a whole “chain of events” that ultimately triggers the municipal water system to activate pumps and switches to “refill” the public reservoir to its ultimate capacity.
    In fact, when I was growing up in the early 1950’s in Tiszafured, Hungary at my aunt’s house – where my parent’s got rid of me for the summer – there was an “outhouse shack” at the back of the garden which had to be used during the sabbath eve though there was a toilet in the house with running water. Imagine using that place at 2 a.m. in the morning as a 5 year old walking out in pitch black and hearing wild animals howling. It gives me the shakes even today when I think back.

    1. The fact that eventually the mechanical pump of the municipality will activate is not your action, at best it is caused indirectly from your action. Besides, when the pump actually does activate it isn’t necessarily happening from your action. It is aino miskaven and a grama, therefore it is permitted.
      The reason you had to use the outhouse on shabbos in Europe could possibly be because the water that you flushed into the cesspool, went in to the earth around it and watered it, which is meleches zorayah.

      1. Doesn’t the waste ultimately water the ground at the end of the treatment line?

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