Tzitzis in the Urinal, Part 2

I had previously written a blog post without looking anything up (not a good idea) but anyway, I had a hunch it was a reasonable question.

In the comments section, there is an interchange between myself and a Choshuve Rav on what I had written. On Shabbos morning, I went for the ערוך השלחן who was the prime Posek for both Lithuanian and Polish Jewry (in terms of an Acharon who had put together a smaller version of the Shulchan Aruch). There was much politics about two of his rulings which caused him to be “abandoned”. He shouldn’t have been, but that’s our crooked society. The Chayei Adam was also important, and for Chassidim, especially Chabad, the Shulchan Aruch HoRav was the decisive Shulchan Aruch (the latter sadly has parts missing due to a tragic fire).

Either way, the style of the Aruch Hashulchan is not for the masses. He usually starts from the Gemoras and Rishonim and ends up with his Psak. He is, in my opinion, far more decisive that the Mishna Brura who  tends to list important Acharonim and in the end often concludes according to the majority, even though you can “tell” from the gist of what he holds that he might disagree with them. That’s my opinion anyway. Your mileage may differ.

So, I was rather uplifted to see the Aruch Hashulchan (who started off as a Rav in a Lubavitch town of all places) write as follows

סימן כא סעיף ו

וכתבו בסעיף ג:

מותר ליכנס בציצית לבית הכסא, וכל שכן לשכב בהן דשרי. ויש שכתבו שנהגו שלא לישכב בטלית שיש בו ציצית, גם שלא ליתנו לכובסת כותית לכבס. והכל שלא יהיו מצות בזויות עליו. אך נוהגים להקל לשכב בהם.

עד כאן לשונו. ואינו מובן טעם האוסרים לישכב בטלית: אטו גריעא שכיבה ממרחץ ובית הכסא?

ונראה לי דטעמם: דכבר בררנו דהכל מודים דדבר של בזיון אסור אף כשנפסלו הציצית, וקל וחומר בכשרותן. ולכאורה הכניסה לבית הכסא ולמרחץ הא הוי דרך בזיון. וצריך לומר הטעם כמו שכתבתי, שכן דרכם של בני אדם ואי אפשר באופן אחר רק בטורח מרובה. ולכן השכיבה, שדרך בני אדם לפשוט בגדיהם – אם כן הוה בזיון כשישכוב בטלית. אך רבינו הרמ”א הכריע שנוהגים להקל לישכב בהם. והטעם: דלא חשבינן זה לבזיון כלל.

(ואדרבא האר”י ז”ל שכב בטלית קטן, כמו שכתב המגן אברהם סעיף קטן ב’.)

ויש מי שכתב דכל זה הוא בטלית קטן. אבל בטלית גדול העשוי רק להתפלל בו – אין ליכנס בו לבית הכסא (ט”ז סעיף קטן ג’). ובוודאי כן הוא, שהרי אין טורח לפושטו, ואם כן נחשב בזיון כשילך בו לבית הכסא או למרחץ. ונכון להקפיד להפשיט הטלית גם בעת יציאתו לקטנים. וכן אנו נוהגים, והכל מטעם שבארנו.

He discusses the practice of people sleeping in Tzitzis, and says how could this be forbidden if one says its permitted to go into the toilet (they didn’t have urinals) with Tzitzis, surely the latter is a bigger issue. He then says that in essence everyone agrees that it’s not respectful to take the Tzitzis into a toilet, even if the Tzitzis became Posul, and how much more so if they are Kosher. (Note: he isn’t talking about the Tallis for davening which everyone says one should take off). The Aruch Hashulchan then boldly says (and in my opinion it is logical and correct) that really if we think about it, taking Tzitzis into a Toilet (or smelly Urinal) really isn’t an honourable thing. The same applies to a bath house (I have heard that Chassidim leave their Shtreimels outside the Mikvah). We must conclude that “this is what people do, and it’s a real hassle to remove your Tzitzis each time you need to go the toilet”

Now, returning to my original question, one could argue (and I repeat, I am not a Posek) that simply tucking the Tzitzis in and going to a urinal, is preferable to leaving them hanging out. I would argue that this is not a major undertaking.That being said, IF I was a Posek, I think my answer to someone who asked me, would be that since you asked, I suggest that you tuck them in. You obviously have the sensitivity and it is the correct thing to do.

Interestingly, R’ Shea Hecht told me this morning that the famous R’ Lazar Doovid Freedman, used to take his Tallis Kotton off completely, before he went to the Beis HaKiseh. Now, I can’t recall, but I think he wore it OVER his shirt, at any rate, R’ Shea asked him why, and he answered that he has reasons.

I started to look into the Mishna Brura and elsewhere on Shabbos afternoon (I hadn’t had a shloof) and then found myself asleep with my head in the Mishna Brura. At any rate …

PS. I asked Rabbi Telsner on Shabbos morning if you could take a Shofar into the Beis HaKisei (I’m talking about perhaps in Marcheshvan where you aren’t using it) and mentioned to him that I’m not asking a klotz kasha. He answered that it was a good question.

Author: pitputim

I've enjoyed being a computer science professor in Melbourne, Australia, as well as band leader/singer for the Schnapps Band. My high schooling was in Chabad and I continued at Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh in Israel and later in life at Machon L'Hora'ah, Yeshivas Halichos Olam.

3 thoughts on “Tzitzis in the Urinal, Part 2”

  1. Just for the deliberation of the subject. Nothing else is suggested.

    Tzitzit is part of the clothing. If the clothing has four “sides” you have to put on it the Ptil Tchelet. If not, you wear it as it is. Why would a garment of “four sides” be different than any other garment concerning Lavatories? Is it just because the Tora wrote Tzitzit? The Tora does not tell us what to wear, but she tells us what the Kohanim should wear. Did the Kohanim discard their clothing before going to the Beth Hakise just because his clothing is described in the Tora? Once the Tzitzit is worn out you can actually throw it in the dust bin. ערוך השולחן • אורח חיים • סימן כא
    תשמישי מצוה – נזרקין. תשמישי קדושה – נגנזין. ואלו הן תשמישי מצוה: סוכה, לולב, שופר, ציצית.
    From the garments of the Kohanim they made Ptilim for the bonfires of Simchat Beth Hashoeva.

    Let us look at “Uritem Oto” which is written for the Ptil Tchelet. It says “Uritem Oto” = you should see it and not “Vharetem Oto” = show it to others. You cannot see the Ptilim on your backside. If night is not Zman Tzitzit, should one tuck them in in the evening? What shall one do if he wears a KAPOTE? It conceals the Tzizit. Should he discard his coat or walk with it open? If you wear a winter coat, where do you put your Arba Kanfot?
    I do wear a scarf in winter. I asked a few Rabbis if I should put Tzitzit on it. All the answers I got are: [like you did] it is a good question. I did not ask for a rating of the question, I asked for an answer.
    Shall I wear it only at night?


    1. You can’t be doresh yourself, Urisem V’Harosem. You have to have a Chazal or at least a Rishon. On your scarf, the answer is obviously that you are not Mechuyav because you follow Shiur Chazon ish and the scarf is not big enough. Nonetheless, I would like to see all the feminists (women wear large scarves) start to become frumer and put Tzitzis on their scarves (not!). In the old days, the begged, not just the cohanim had Arba Kanfos and they did it in a hole, so don’t ask from there. There were no dunnies (look that up it’s Australian English). People with Kapotes are Makpid to have one corner rounded. If not, they are Mechuyav B’Tzitzis. Laylo Lav Zman Tzitzis is true, but if you want to say that Laylo we can see today, a Ba’al Nefesh (don’t ask me to translate that) Yachmir


  2. @ Pitputim

    I am not Doresh, I am just putting down my thoughts on paper (computer). Uritem Oto, isn’t it the Ptil Tchelet? one of them (Loshon Yochid)? Do you put the Tzitzit over your eyes at וראיתם אותו in Schma? If you do, do you see them when they are so close to your eyes? Just asking.

    About the scarf: Chazon Ish’s shiur is larger than the one ruled by others i.e. Rabbi Chayim Naeh. Isn’t it? So are his K’Zayit or K’Beytza. I imagine that he wanted people to wear a larger Arba Kanfot (if you make a garment for that purpose, make it at least big enough). See also the thought of Aruch Hashulchan who says:
    אבל טלית קטן שתחת הבגדים א”צ שיעור כלל דאם רק יש בו ד’ כנפות חייב בציצת (ערוך השולחן אורח חיים סימן טז סעיף ה)
    But what the Aruch Hashulchan says is a garment worn under the clothing (even the Gdilim?). A scarf is worn over other clothes. My scarf is a wide one, which is doubled (folded). I think that I have to Bench Lhitatef when putting it on (see the Aruch Hashulchan there).

    You write: “I would like to see all the feminists (women wear large scarves) start to become frumer and put Tzitzis on their scarves (not!).”
    מחלוקת חכמים ורבי שמעון: “תנו רבנן הכל חייבים בציצית כהנים לווים וישראלים גרים נשים ועבדים. ר’ שמעון פוטר בנשים מצוות עשה שהזמן גרמא הוא וכל מצוות עשה שהזמן גרמא נשים פטורות. מאי טעמא דר’ שמעון? דתניא ‘וראיתם אותו’ (במדבר, ט”ו, לט) פרט לכסות לילה…] ] מרבה אני כסות סומא שישנה בראיה אצל אחרים ומוציא אני כסות לילה שאינה בראיה” (מסכת מנחות, דף מג עמוד א). כלומר מאחר שצריך לראות את הציצית, ובלילה אי אפשר לראות כלל, לכן בלילה יש פטור מחיוב ציצית, ובעקבות זאת נשים פטורות ממצווה זו, כמו שאר מצוות עשה שהזמן גרמא. ההלכה נפסקה כרבי שמעון.
    We see here that in this Machloket the ruling is according to the Yachid (Rabbi Shimon) and not the Rabim (Rabanan and Rabbi Yehuda). If the women put Tzitzit on their scarves they can always say: We want to comply with Rabanan and Rabbi Yehuda, and we have Yesh Al Mi Sheyismochu. They can adopt the interpretation of the רא”ש who says that we are not talking about night, we era discussing a nightgown which is Patur MiTzizit.
    But now we have another reason.
    לא יהיה כלי גבר על אשה וגו’ שכתב וז”ל: לא יהיה גוליין בציצית ותפילין דהוי תקוני גבר… (בתרגום יונתן (דברים כ”ב ה’))
    Did not Rabanan and Rabbi Yehuda know about it when they ruled that women are Chayavot b’Tzitzit?

    You write: “Laylo Lav Zman Tzitzis is true, but if you want to say (did I imply that?) that Laylo we can see today, a Ba’al Nefesh (don’t ask me to translate that) Yachmir”. What do you mean by Yachmir? Discarding the garment in the evening? or leaving it on? *
    That is what Rashi has to say about it:
    מובא בספר הפרדס המיוחס לרש”י (הלכות ציצית סימן ל”ו), כי במקום שבו הנרות דולקים ומאירים – דין הלילה כדין היום, והאדם הנמצא במקום זה חייב בציצית.
    This at least solves some problems for the ones wearing a Shatnez Tzitzit, they needn’t take off the Tzitzit each evening.

    Please correct in my previous comment:
    I wrote: bonfires of Simchat Beth Hashoeva. It should be torches אבוקות

    I want to repeat that these are just my מחשבות בכתב.

    • This reminds me that Rabbi Goren said that the youngsters that came to Israel for a Schnat Sherut should keep only one day of Yom-Tov LECHUMRA. When asked what does he mean by LeChumra? he replied: they should put on Tfilin on that (the second day of Yom Tov) day.


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