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Is a bathroom today considered a graf shel re'i? May one engaged in dvarim she'bikdusha (learning, praying etc.) opposite a bathroom with the door open if there is no waste in it?

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the gemara talks about persian toilets i think... berakhot 26a. –  Adam Mosheh Jun 18 '12 at 5:57
No two modern bathrooms are alike. Some smell even when you see no waste, others make you forget you.are in a bathroom. –  avi Jun 18 '12 at 7:40
Legabei Ruah Tuma'a, I heard from Hacham Yishak Shelit"a that it doesn't exist. –  Hacham Gabriel Jun 18 '12 at 23:22
strongly related: The answer there addresses this issue –  Menachem Jun 24 '12 at 22:56

2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

From here (thanks @Menachem):

The later-day poskim dispute whether our bathrooms have the halachic status of the beis hakisei of the days of Chazal. Some poskim are lenient since our bathrooms are much cleaner than old-time outhouses (Shu’t Zakan Aharon 1:1; Shu’t Minchas Yitzchok 1:60). Others contend that our bathrooms should still be treated as a beis hakisei (see Shu’t Yechaveh Daas 3:1). Both the Chazon Ish (Orach Chayim 17:4) and Rav Moshe Feinstein (Shu’t Igros Moshe, Even HaEzer 1:114) rule that we should treat our bathrooms as a safek (questionable) beis hakisei. The universal practice is to not recite brachos in the bathroom, but some people are lenient to wash their hands there. Rav Moshe rules that one may not wash for bread in our bathrooms, but one may wash his hands there before davening, although one should dry one’s hands outside the bathroom.

According to what I have explained above, if we assume that our bathrooms have the halachic status of a beis hakisei; one should not recite a bracha, sing zemiros, or say divrei Torah facing the bathroom when its door is ajar. However, if we assume that it is only questionable, then one may have grounds to be lenient.

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I was told this year (I asked this) that the place where the actual stalls are you cannot talk (even non devarim-sheb'kdusha) and you are not allowed to think devarim-sheb'kdusha. In a place where the sinks are located you can talk but should not say devarim-sheb'kdusha (actually i was told specifically pasukim but I'm not sure if the one I asked it to meant everything else also). He said outside of that it was fine - and the situation was actually where the room past the sinks was connected to the one with the sinks. The one I asked it to also did not make a difference in the halacha if there was waste or not.

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@vram I wasnt sure if you meant by " opposite a bathroom with the door open" as a room with sinks or a room after that but it should help both cases. –  MosheY Jul 31 '12 at 17:46
Re "where the actual stalls are you cannot talk (even non devarim-sheb'kdusha)", women too? –  msh210 Jul 31 '12 at 18:35
@msh210 i dont know (i didnt ask that) but why should it make a difference? –  MosheY Jul 31 '12 at 18:37
I've never heard of a halacha of not speaking secular things in a bathroom, except one that exempts women. –  msh210 Jul 31 '12 at 18:40

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