According to Halacha, during the Torah reading, Jews should not leave the synagogue where the Torah reading is occurring. However, is it permissible for them to leave if they have to use the restroom, or are they expected to wait until the Aliyah is over to go?

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    Wouldn't refraining from using the restroom, when needing to (even during the Torah reading), be a violation of Bal Teshaktzu?
    – Tamir Evan
    Feb 8 at 21:05

1 Answer 1


Generally speaking there is an obligation to go to the bathroom once one feels the needs (OC 3:17) because of the prohibition known as Bal Tishaktzu (Vayikra 20:25)

One who delays his cavities [from elimination] transgresses the commandment, "You shall not make yourselves loathsome."

R Yaakov Goldstein brings here two relevant answers that help with your question

The above prohibition of Bal Tishaktzu only applies when the person feels a certain amount of pressure to relieve himself. Some opinions define this to mean that if he cannot withhold himself for a Parsa distance (approximately 72 minutes)

He goes on to explain (see there source 30) that one may withhold his needs if he is in middle of a speech or other public performance. This would then be so even more for the reading of the Torah, especially since the time to read an alyia is typically quite short.

There are many permutations of the question (e.g., for an unwell person who needs to urinate often) so as always consult your rabbi before implementing anything you learn here.

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