Question:

1) When wiping oneself of feces after using the bathroom, to what extent must one wipe themselves to remove all traces of feces? Often times, one can keep finding additional amounts upon every additional wiping.

2) When changing a baby’s diaper, it is sometimes difficult to remove all traces of feces, as the baby or young child may have a rash and be very sensitive to wiping in a particular area. Alternatively, the baby may thrash or move around a lot to make a thorough wiping difficult. In those situations, is one allowed to let the baby remain with the small traces of feces that are difficult to wipe?

Answer:

  1. It is written in Shulchan Aruch O:CH 76-5 that a person may not daven if he is not clean after using the bathroom, and therefore a person has to be careful to make sure that he is clean after using the bathroom. Therefore the M:B (76-18) says that one should clean himself with a little water to insure that the area is clean. The Mishna Berura (76-19) also says that one only area that has to be clean is the area that is visible when the person is sitting and not any deeper than that.  Unfortunately this Halacha is the source of a lot of unnecessary anxiety, and OCD, by which people wipe and wipe, and are never sure if indeed they are clean until they have wounded themselves, and caused themselves to bleed. The Steipler gaon zt”l ( Krayana D’igriso [old edition] 1- 373-374) addressed this issue and he wrote that the halacha is  that after using 5-6 tissues,  and he used a little bit of water etc. that he should not be concerned with it at all.
  2.  When changing a baby, although we want to insure that the baby is indeed clean, there is no halachic need to make sure that any traces of fecal matte are removed. This is because after the diaper is put on, the area is covered, and other people don’t have to be concerned with it, unless it smells, which would not be the case, after any normal diaper change.Best wishes

Sources:

DIvrei Chaim 2-9, Nekius V’kavod L’tefilah chapter 6 ftnt .79.

 

2 Responses to “Cleaning oneself after bathroom”

  1. Quote from answer: ”Therefore the M:B (76-18) says that one should wipe himself with a little bit of water (or saliva) on the tissue to insure that the area is clean.”

    I don’t see the M:B source mention ”wipe”, ”a little bit”, or ”tissue”.

    Maybe M:B does not use tissue, but water and hands. That’s why Sulhon Oruch 3-10 says not to use right hand or left hand middle finger.

    • Correct, the M:B doesn’t use those actual terms, I was explaining it in a practical way. If you don’t like it that way, I will change it to the more literal terminology

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