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According to Halacha, is it permissible for Jews to pray/daven near (not inside of) porta-potties or no? Would it depend on if the door is being opened/closed or no?

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2 Answers 2

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According to a shiur I heard from a local Rav, a porta-potty has the halachic status of a בית הכסא קבוע, or permanent bathroom, because the waste is contained within the porta-potty itself. Thus it has the status of the waste itself, and one cannot pray as long as it is in his area of view.

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This answer is based on the halachos found in Sefer אשי ישראל פרק נג׳. As mentioned in a previous answer, porta potties get the same halachos as a בית הכסא קבוע, because the waste remains in place. This is unlike our flush toilets which may be afforded certain leniencies due to its resembling a Persian latrine where the waste gets immediately carried away. Another factor regarding porta potties is the fact that the partitions surrounding them service only the latrine itself and do not serve as a functioning wall for anything outside, unlike most of our bathrooms where the wall to the bathroom also serves as a wall in the house/structure.

The Halacha that emerges then, is that one cannot pray facing the porta potty from any visual distance. One can pray with their back to the porta potty at a distance of four amos, assuming that the smell does not exit the porta potty. If smell does exit, one should move to four amos from where the smell stops.

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  • The last line needs clarification. Many porta-potties have smells exiting them; you need to be four amos from where that smell stops.
    – N.T.
    Mar 5 at 7:44

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