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43:2. A “permanent” [kavua] bathroom is one which has feces in it and is on the open field (13) without a hole.

MB 13: Without a hole – Meaning that only then must one remove his tefillin while still at a distance of 4 “amos” [= cubits, the length of the arm from the elbow down], but if the bathroom has a hole then the hole is an independent area, as is the bathroom above it – so really the bathroom above does not have the legal status of a bathroom at all, as will be explained in Siman 83 – so one can actually enter it while wearing tefillin. However, all agree that he must remove them before urinating as in any permanent bathroom. [i.e. a bathroom with feces but with a hole is not like a permanent bathroom for the halacha of 4 amos, but is like a permanent bathroom in that we are afraid one might forget and defecate there. – AB] This is the conclusion of the Magen Avraham. All of this applies only when one is only going to the bathroom to urinate, but for defecating, it seems from the words of the Beis Yosef that one should be strict and remove his tefillin at a distance of 4 amos from the place where he intends to defecate, even if he defecates in a place that is not a bathroom at all, such as an open field.

43:3. (14) A “temporary” bathroom is one used for urination – for which a person often does not walk to a bathroom, but now [he uses a particular place, and] makes this location (15) a bathroom for the first time.

MB 14: A “temporary” bathroom etc. – Meaning that when we said earlier [in 43:1] that it was permitted to urinate in a temporary bathroom while still wearing tefillin, this referred to a place with no feces which was also a place where [people] are not accustomed to defecating, and so we do not decree [that he not urinate wearing tefillin] lest he defecate while wearing them, even if it is a concealed location.

MB 15: A bathroom for the first time – See the Pri Megadim who holds that this language is not exact, because even if it has been designated and used many times, it is nonetheless considered “temporary” [so long as it is not used for defecation].

43:4. (16) If one’s tefillin are in his bosom and he is wearing a belt, (17) or wrapped in his garment and held in his hand, it is permitted both to urinate and to defecate.

MB 16: If one’s tefillin are in his bosom etc. – for then we need not worry that he might wipe away drops of urine with his hand while holding his tefillin, nor need we worry that they might fall [since the belt keeps them from falling], and therefore this is permitted whether in a permanent or temporary bathroom.

MB 17: Or wrapped in his garment and held in his hand – This needs investigation, because in paragraph one [of this section] the author wrote that it is forbidden to urinate while holding one’s tefillin in his garment. See the Turei Zahav and the Magen Avraham, who gave very forced interpretations because of this. In the commentary of the GR”A, he wrote that this paragraph, which is from the author of the [Sefer Ha-] Terumos, is a different opinion which argues on that of paragraph 1; the Sefer HaTrumos rules that when the tefillin are wrapped in his garment and held in his hand, we no longer worry about wiping drops; and the work Maamar Mordechai also ruled accordingly. But if one’s tefillin are tied in his garment, then it is permissible [to urinate with them there] according to all opinions.

Assaf Bednarsh [email protected]

Siman 43: The laws of tefillin when entering a bathroom (cont.)

43:5 If a man wants to enter a (18) permanent lavatory to move his bowels, he should remove his Tefilin at a distance of four Amos. {Rema: There are those that say even if he is not moving his bowels he should also remove them, (19) and it is proper to be strict.} He should wrap them with their straps and hold them (20) with his right hand, inside his garment near his heart. He should be careful that less than a handsbreadth (3-4 inches) of the straps should extend out from under his hand. When he exits the lavatory, he should walk four paces away and then put the Tefilin on.

MB 18: Permanent Lavatory – It says “permanent” only because of the end of the paragraph – to teach us that even in a permanent lavatory he may bring his Tefilin in with him to watch them – but it is also true that even in a non-permanent lavatory he must remove them at a distance of four Amos from the place that he wants to move his bowels, as we saw in MB13. He also specifies entering in order to move his bowels because of the end of the Se’if [to tell you that even so, he may bring his Tefilin inside], but even when urinating he must remove his Tefilin at a distance of four Amos.

MB 19: And it is Proper to be Strict – The Magen Avraham concludes that it is forbidden to enter a lavatory with Tefilin, because it is not less than a bathhouse, [which we see that it is forbidden to enter while wearing Tefilin] in Siman 45. The Pri Megadim and Ma’amar Mordechai write that the words of the Ro”sh don’t seem to agree with this. Also from the writings of Rav Hai (Gaon) it doesn’t seem like this.

MB 20: With His Right Hand – But not in his left hand, because he needs that hand to clean himself as is stated in Siman 10. The Rem”ah (not the Rema) writes that it is permitted to enter an dirty alley even if there is a visible dirty part, although it is good to cover the Tefilin with his hat. If he wants to remove them and put them back on after he exits the alley that is very good. The Magen Avraham writes that if he knows that he will be traversing a dirty alley he should put them on in Shul. (The MB then discusses whether the wrappings around the finger should be covered, and if he cannot then it would be better to put on the Tefilin in Shul.)

43:6 If one is wearing Tefilin and needs a lavatory at night, or close to sunset where there will not be time afterwards to put them back on, he should not enter a permanent lavatory with them (21) rolled up in his clothing, even to urinate, or to move his bowels even in a non-permanent lavatory. Rather, he should remove them and place them in their case (22) if it reaches a handsbreadth above the Tefilin, or in a vessel that is not designated for the Tefilin, hold the utensil (23) in his hand and enter.

MB 21: Rolled Up in His Clothing – This means that everything we learned in the previous paragraph about permission to hold the Tefilin in the right hand only applies if he has time to put them on [for the Mitzvah] when he exits.

MB 22: If there is a Tefach – But if there is no Tefach they are inconsequential (they don’t provide any benefit) because it is the case designated for the Tefilin [meaning, it is just considered like the Tefilin themselves].

MB 23: In His Hand and Enter – So that people passing by should not take them.

43:7 The above rules refers to an outhouse in the fields, but by a house, he should not bring the Tefilin in (24) at all because he can place them in a (25) safe place.

MB 24: At All – This seems to say even when they are in their cases. The Machatzis Hasheqel wrote that if the Tefilin were in their case, and then placed in a pocket sewn into his garment (which is, of course, not designated for Tefilin) then that is permissible, because the Tefilin are in a “double cover” – a case within a case.

MB 25: Safe Place – Other Seforim and writings can be brought in if they are in a case. Some say that we still require a case within a case to enter a lavatory, as with Tefilin. A Sefer Torah is always forbidden to bring in. The Sha’arei T’shuvah writes that those that place amulets on their children should be careful to place them in double cases because children will not remove their amulets before using the bathroom.

Binyamin Rudman

Siman 43. The laws of how to conduct one’s self with Tefillin when entering a bathroom

43:8. If one forgets that he is wearing Tefillin on his head and begins a bowel movement, then he should place his hand upon them (26) until he finishes the first piece, then leave and take off his Tefillin before going back.

MB 26: Until he finishes – because pulling a piece back into himself brings a person to dropsy [Jastrow][disease in which watery fluid collects in cavities or tissue of the body – Concise Oxford Dictionary], and urine in the urinary duct which is forced back brings a person to jaundice.

43:9. It is permissible (27) for a doctor to take a urine pot while wearing his Tefillin – but a careful person will be strict on himself.

MB 27: For a doctor to take etc. – To check an ill person with it, and he need not take off his Tefillin. And the usual case involves a doctor, but the law is the same for anyone.