Devarim 23:14 states that when you camp during a battle, you should keep a spade with you so that you can use it to cover up your excrement.

Since the Torah mentions the importance of "bodily cleanliness" when you're out in the field in battle, I wonder if there is any halacha learned from this verse or otherwise specifically regarding the position of a toilet seat after you are finished in the bathroom. Offhand, since the verse mentions "covering", to me it seems proper to close the toilet seat cover as a sense of cleanliness.

Is there any ruling that can be extracted from this verse, or is there any other recommendation cited by anyone even if it doesn't use this verse?


1 Answer 1


There's been related questions in the past. Flushing is far more critical than putting the lid down. If there's no excrement there, there's no "need" to put down the lid. See the discussion about beis kisei haparsia that had a sloped trench so none of the tzoah stayed at the mouth - Chazal say it's entirely muttar to engage in davar shebikdusha, since it is considered to be sealed.

As a side point, this was regarding the use of latrines, where there was no designated "space" to relieve onesself. When one has a dedicated bathroom, the fact that it's an entire space dedicated to such removes any issues regarding covering of filth afterwards. See multiple places in shas (I can think of two at least - one in brachos, the other in shabbos daf 10) that discuss beis hakisei and how to behave near designated waste areas. These include things like rabbanim waiting outside to resume conversation while the other relieves themselves, cubbyholes to store tefilin and objects of kedushah in a passthrough wall that is considered it's own domain, and other goodies.

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    Interesting. When possible, link at least one of the sources mentioned above.
    – DanF
    Feb 20, 2015 at 18:09
  • found them. the last was a hard one because I was slightly off - it was the persians, not the babylonians, who had the sloped latrines. Feb 20, 2015 at 18:39
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    Hilarious coincidence - I stumbled across the source in shabbos while doing my audio daf yomi chazara. Here I am working on pdf's and suddenly this subject pops up... Totally hashgachah! Feb 20, 2015 at 19:57
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    חז"ל ממליצים לאדם לכבד את את אשתו כדבריהם "האוהב את אשתו כגופו והמכבדה יותר מגופו עליו הכתוב אומר וידעת כי שלום אהלך" Source is יבמות ס"ג. She wants the lid down. Feb 21, 2015 at 21:50
  • R' Moshe actually held that our bathrooms are not as good as the sloped ones - in those, the tzoah automatically went away, as opposed to in ours where you need to flush. Mar 23, 2015 at 17:31

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