Gemara Shabbos says that originally one was allowed to bathe on Shabbos in pre-heated bath-houses.

However, (in short) due to the fact that the bath-house directors would violate Shabbos (by heating up the water on Shabbos), the Rabbis forbade all forms of bathing (including hot-water bathing, steam bathing, and Chamei Teverya bathing).

However, some time later the Rabbis canceled the decree against Chamei Teverya, since people wouldn't be able to survive Shabbos without some form of bathing.

I don't understand. There is one hot spring in Israel (TTBOMK), which is in Teverya. Somehow, the rest Jews in the rest of Israel were able to survive without bathing.

Why couldn't the Teveryans?

  • Its hot in teverya.
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 29, 2013 at 5:41
  • @DoubleAA more than anywhere else? Commented Aug 29, 2013 at 6:05
  • Have you ever spent a summer up there?
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 29, 2013 at 7:49
  • @DoubleAA About as hot as the Negev
    – Daniel
    Commented Aug 29, 2013 at 13:26
  • 1
    Yes actually (lived there for a bit). The reason Teverya is worse is because of the humidity. The Negev is a desert, so is quite dry (and gets nice and cool at night). Very true for Yerushalayim too (gets cool winds from the Judean Desert and is on a mountain, so drier air). Teverya is right off the Kinerret and there are mountains around it, preventing cool winds. I believe this is actually obliquely referred to a bunch of times in talmud (e.g. "ruach meztuya").
    – Nic
    Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 15:13

1 Answer 1


The Jews utilising a hot spring / Chamei Teverya bathing, did not require the lighting of fires, collecting wood, or water in the case of rain or ground water, as such there would be no prohibition of shabbos for them, however the majority of people did not have this facility it being a rarity in the land, and generally (persons) were not trusted to have kindled their fire before shabbos, to boil water to add to their mikvah and so were under ban. Surviving without hot bathing is not the same as being banned from hot bathing, especially where hot bathing was for the purpose of ritual bathing and not general bathing, which could have been accomplished with cold water, if needs be.

  • source?________
    – Jake
    Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 16:30

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