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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?

  • 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: judaism.stackexchange.com/a/2048/603 The answer there addresses this issue – Menachem Jun 24 '12 at 22:56
  • Please dejargonify. – Double AA Feb 20 at 20:17
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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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It's a Machlokes (matter of dispute):

"...One can be lenient in regard to the halachos that apply.[2] However, most poskim argue.[3]...

[2] Refer to Eretz Tzvi 1:110:-111:pages 375-378, Maharam Brisk 3:39, Masef Lechul Hamachanus 4:96, Zekan Aaron 1:1, Edos L’Yisroel page 113:1, Chelkes Yaakov 1:205, Minchas Yitzchok 1:60, Yechaveh Da’as 3:1, Ohr L’tyzion 1:1, 2:1:9, Shearim Metzuyanim B’Halacha 1:2:6, Sharei Ha’beracha 1:footnote 122 in depth.

[3] Masef Lechul Hamachanus 4:96, 43:5, Har Tzvi O.C. 1:50, Chazzon Ish O.C. 17:4, Igros Moshe E.H. 1:114, Shraga Hameir 3:26, Halichos Shlomo Tefilla 20:24, Yabea Omer 3:2, Teshuvos V’hanhugos 1:4, Be’er Moshe 4:3:9, Rivevos Ephraim 7:1, 8:583, Divrei Chachumim page 20:footnote 5, Avnei Yushfei 1:5:1, Kedushas Hamachanei K’hilchosa9:6:footnote 14. A room which is only made for urinals is still considered a bathroom (Mishnah Berurah 83:12)..."

-http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/headlines-breaking-stories/224278/halachically-speaking-halachos-regarding-the-bathroom.html#sthash.fdR2YKZg.dpuf

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.

-http://www.yeshiva.co/midrash/shiur.asp?id=10573

"...In addition, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (cited in Mikra’ei Kodesh, Yom Kippur, p. 157, note 17) stated that there is no need today to be particular for halachos of ruach ra’ah that are not mentioned in the Gemara. Although he was referring to the halachah of walking 4 amos before netillas yadayim in the morning, the same can be applied here, with regard to netilas yadayim after entering a bathroom.

Because of these factors, some poskim write that one can actually wash netillas yadayim in a bathroom, though several write that where possible, it is better not to do this.

See: Chazon Ish, Orach Chaim 17:4; Minchas Yitzchak 1:60 (explaining why it is permitted, but concluding that one should not be lenient under ordinary circumstances); Beis Shlomo 18; Levush Mordechai 182; Eretz Tzvi 110"

-http://dinonline.org/2013/08/29/washing-after-entry-into-bathroom/

For more, see: Your Camp Shall Be Holy: Halacha And Modern Plumbing” inThe Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society, (spring 1995): 29:89-128

1

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.

  • @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
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    @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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R. Yitzchak Abadi has a responsum about this in Ohr Yitzchak 2:34.

בתי כסאות שלנו ודאי שאין להם דין בית הכסא לשום דבר [ועי' בדברינו ח"א חאו"ח סוף סי' מ'] ואני תמה מכל האחרונים שהאריכו בזה ויצאו לחלק בין בית הכסא של פרסיים [ברכות דף כ"ו ע"ב] לדידן ואיני רואה טעם בדבריהם ואין מי שיחלוק שעיקר הטעם של איסור בית הכסא וגרף של רעי הוא בגלל המיאוס והריל שיש באותו המקום ואין ספק שבתי כסאות שלנו לגבי בית הכסא של פרסיים יש הבדל גדולה למעליותא ובדידן לאחר ששטפו המים את הצואה אין בזה יותר ריח מאשר אם השתמשו בחדר הזה בכלי המטלטל [שבזה לכו"ע לא נאסר] ואין שם בית הכסא גורם אלא הריח והמיאוס גורם [ועי' בדברינו שם בדין הזמנה לבית הכסא] ולכן אין ספק שמותר לדינא ליטול ולברך וכו' וכו' ובודאי שאין איסור ליכנס שם עם ספרי קדושה ואין צריך לומר שמותר ליטול ידים שם גם לסעודה ועובדא ידענא שראיתי בעצמי את כבוד מורי ורבי זיע"א שנטל ידיו בבית הכסא (וזה היה חדר קטן מאוד ובקושי היה מקום לעמוד שם והיה שם מקום לעשיית הצרכים וכיור לרחיצת ידים) ומיד אחרי שיצא אמר אשר יצר אמנם כדי שלא יצא מתחת ידינו מכשול ח"ו יש להדגיש שיש הרבה בתי כסאות ובפרט של ציבור שיש עליהם ודאי דין בית הכסא כי אוושא זוהמא בהם ויש להם דין בית הכסא לכל דבר

Our bathrooms certainly do not have the status of "bathrooms" for anything (and see our words in Vol. I Orach Chaim at the end of siman 40). And I am astounded at all the acharonim who spoke at length about this and concluded to differentiate between Persian bathrooms (Berachot 26b) and our [bathrooms], and I don't see a reason in their words. And there is no one who disagrees that the main reason for the prohibition of bathrooms and chamber pots is on account of the disgustingness and the odor that exists there. And there is no doubt that our bathrooms are vastly superior to Persian bathrooms [in this regard], and in our [bathrooms] once the water washes away the excrement there is no greater odor than if a portable vessel had been used in the room (which everyone agrees does not prohibit [holy activities]). And it is not the name "bathroom" that causes [the prohibition]; rather, the odor and the disgustingness cause [the prohibition] (and see our words there regarding the law of designating something as a bathroom).

Therefore, there is no doubt that it is permissible according to the law to wash and bless there, etc. etc. and certainly there is no prohibition to enter there with holy books. And we don't even need to say that it is permissible to wash hands there for a meal. And there was an incident I know where I myself saw my honorable master and teacher [R. Aharon Kotler] — may his merit protect us amen — wash his hands in the bathroom (and it was a very small room, and with difficulty there was room to stand there, and there was room for performing your needs and a sink for washing hands) and immediately after he exited he said Asher Yatzar.

However, so that no stumbling comes out from under our hands, heaven forfend, we should emphasize that many bathrooms — particularly public ones — certainly do have the status of "bathrooms" since dirtiness abounds in them, and they have the status of "bathrooms" for everything.

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    I wonder if he thinks they need a Mezuzah – Double AA Feb 20 at 22:38

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