Friday, November 17, 2006

Daf Yomi - Beitza 22 - Shower on YomTov

There is a big discussion in the poskim regarding the halacha of taking a shower on Yom Tov. One of the primary sources is our Gemora. I collected some of the conclusions that some poskim have reached. The psakim mentioned here are not a haskama on their view - it is just a collection from the internet.


These Halachos were shown by Rabbi Ostroff to
HaGaon HaRav Moshe Sternbuch, shlita

Is bathing in hot water permitted on Shabbos?

Several factors are taken into account in providing a ruling.

* The bathing itself.
* The hot water system used; a boiler, sun heater etc.
* Was the water heated before or on Shabbos?

What can be wrong with bathing - I don't see any melacha involved?

Indeed bathing does not involve a melacha but is nevertheless prohibited.

The gemora Shabbos 40a [1] relates that initially people would bathe (in bath-houses) in water heated before Shabbos, but the attendants would heat the water on Shabbos and declare that it was heated before Shabbos.

So Chazal prohibited bathing but permitted the sauna.

People would continue to bathe in hot water and declare that they were wet from sweating in the sauna, so they prohibited the sauna as well.

The gemora concludes that bathing in hot water and sweating are prohibited but bathing in cold water is permitted. This will be dealt with later.

Well maybe a shower in hot water is different to bathing?

Another gemora on Shabbos 39b [2] cites a machlokes between R' Me'ir and R' Yehuda and halacha is in accordance with R' Yehuda, who states the following.

One may not shower one's entire body with hot water on Shabbos and Rashi annotates that this is even with water heated before Shabbos.

To summarize: one may not shower or bathe in hot water on Shabbos, even with water heated before Shabbos and even if a 'water-heating' system is not involved. It is the actual bathing that is prohibited.

Why does the gemora say one's entire body?

The gemora on the same amud makes a distinction between water heated before or on Shabbos and states that one may wash one's face, hands and legs with water heated before Shabbos but not with water heated on Shabbos.

Although one could argue that the same reason that prohibits washing one's entire body should prohibit washing face, hands and legs, nevertheless Chazal only prohibited bathing the entire body.

The Shulchan Aruch HaRav [3] (based on the Magen Avraham) adds that the majority of one's body is considered the entire body, whereas face, hands and legs are the minor parts. Consequently, one may wash the minor parts of one's body - not only face, hands and legs, provided that one does not wash the majority. [4]

Isn't there something about washing one limb at a time?

That leniency is applied to Yom Tov not to Shabbos. [5]

You mentioned that one may not bathe even one limb with water heated on Shabbos, how was the water heated?

We find several permitted heating modes.

* Heated by a gentile for a sick person. A gentile may heat water to bathe a sick person but a healthy person may not bathe even a single limb in that water. [6]
* Water placed near a heat source, in a way that it would not reach the temperature of yad soledes bo. [7] Certain restrictions exist, such as it cannot be placed on a hot-plate or blech [8] on Shabbos, nor can it be placed near heat if it can reach yad soledes bo over a period of time. One may not place cold water on a radiator intending to remove it before it reaches yad soledes bo. If it cannot reach yad soledes bo it is permitted.

This water is heated on Shabbos and may not be used to wash hands or an arm etc.

And water heated before Shabbos?

Water placed on a hot-plate or blech before Shabbos and heated on Shabbos, is considered as heated before Shabbos. Sun heated water may also be used to wash face, hands and legs. [9]

Do the sick and infirm share the same halachos as the rest of the populace?

R' Akiva Eiger writes that an ailing person may bathe in hot water heated before Shabbos even though he is not a choleh she'ein bo sakana (sick in bed). [10]

May one use water from a solar heater (when water was heated before Shabbos)?

We have dealt with this issue in vol. V shiur 9, where it was demonstrated that while drawing water from the water boiler, fresh cold water enters and might be heated from the existing water. Another problem was how to define the solar panels.

A regular boiler heated with a heat element is far more severe and is off limits on Shabbos; it is far too complicated.

Rabbi Yisroel Dov Webster

Question: Is it permissible to take a warm shower on Yom Tov ?

Answer: On Yom Tov according to some poskim only a cold shower is permissible if one has a lot of discomfort otherwise taking a shower is prohibited.

Chicago Rabbinical Council

Bathing on Yom Tov

The celebration of Pesach this year which falls on Thursday and Friday is most challenging as it is part of a three day abstention from melacha and prohibited activity when we add on Shabbos. We are all aware that we rely on the eruv tavshilin in regard to preparation of cooking on Yom Tov for Shabbos. However, due to the fact of a widespread change in our modern lifestyle concerning daily showering or bathing, is it possible to shower on Yom Tov?

The Shulchan Aruch rules that the entire body may not be bathed with warm water heated on Yom Tov, but rather on the face, hands, and feet (Orach Chaim 511, 2). This is based on the Talmudic analysis of the phrase regarding the permissibility of doing certain “melachos” on Yom Tov which states: “Ach asher ye’achel l’chol nefesh hu l’vado ye’aseh lachem” (Shmot XII: 17) Only that which may be eaten by every soul that alone may be made for you.”

The principle deduced is that the type of activity allowed was shaveh l’chol nefesh' an act everyone would normally do if it would be permitted. In the Talmud, although heating water for cooking is definitely permitted because everyone would have pleasure from this action, in the matter of bathing the entire body only the highly delicate, sensitive people would bathe that often, but the majority would not. Therefore, they would not be included in the “hetter” in the permissibility of complete bathing. In the above context the emphasis is not on the very act of bathing but rather the action of heating the water on Yom Tov for something that is not shaveh l’chol nefesh. The Baalei Tosfos (Beitzah 21b) remark that the act of complete bathing with warm water would only apply to those who are meungim, people of pleasure, in contrast to the majority and consequently it is not shaveh l’chol nefesh. However the fact that members of contemporary society are showering daily would place the majority of people in the category of meungim and it would be considered as a davar ha’shaveh l’chol nefesh.

Without going into all of the details of those responsa who have dealt with this matter, there is room for leniency in situations of great discomfort. It should be noted that the above does not apply to Shabbos as far as the use of hot water is concerned because there are specific rabbinic edicts against bathing in hot water, etc. (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim, 326) [See Hadarom no. 70-71 Elul 5760, Rechitza b’Yom Tov]

Young Israel Passaic

SHOWERING ON SHABBAT AND YOM TOV most especially in hot weather is probably one of the most difficult situations to address. According to one opinion (Rambam), showering or bathing is prohibited by g'zayra (rabbinic edict) to prevent what inevitably will result in chillul Shabbat or Yom Tov. The predominant minhag is therefore not to shower on Shabbat or Yom Tov.

This having been said, nonetheless, there are some rudimentary guidelines that can be offered in how to deal acceptably with showering especially over a three-day Yom Tov. One must be certain that these guidelines are not interpreted incorrectly, so it best to ask before and take the time to understand how things ought to be done.

[5.1] On Yom Tov even though one may use hot water for preparing food, one may only use that same source of hot water only to wash parts of the body selectively, i.e. face, hands, feet and any area which has been dirtied. One may not fully shower with hot water on Yom Tov (g'zayrat merchatz).

[5.2]. Under the duress of oppressingly hot weather (mitzta'ayr), one may take a cold shower on Yom Tov rinsing the entire body. According to one opinion, the shower may even be tepid under such circumstances (R. Akiva Eiger to Shulchan Aruch O. Ch. 307:5).

[5.3] At all times one may not use a washcloth or a bar of soap. (Some even object to liquid soap and commercially prepared shampoos because these are not sufficiently liquified).

[5.4] Drying one's hair by rubbing the scalp with a bath towel is not permitted (because of s'chita). Obviously, electric hair dryers can not used.

[5.5] An infant may be bathed in hot water on Yom Tov as is necessary.

[5.6] Recreational swimming is not acceptably within the spirit of Shabbat or Yom Tov even though one is allowed to totally immerse in a mikvah on Shabbat and Yom Tov for the sake of the mitzvah. If a swim is the only way to cool off in a heat wave, one should ask a serious question of a Rav before attempting such relief.


joshwaxman said...

Rif also has something to say on the matter.

Shabbat Shalom.