Shulchan Arukh, Orach Chayyim 3:13:

לא ישתין מעומד, מפני ניצוצות הניתזין על רגליו, אם לא שיעמוד במקום גבוה, או שישתין לתוך עפר תחוח פירוש, קרקע שאינה בתולה, אלא כגון של ארץ חרושה).

One should not urinate from a standing position lest it sprinkle down upon his legs, if he is not on a high place, or relieving himself upon loose earth (meaning, soil that is not virgin, but rather like plowed earth).

If one is not allowed to urinate in a standing position, then how are men allowed to use urinals?

Second question related to urinals:

Shulchan Arukh, Orach Chayyim 3:2:

יהא צנוע בבית הכסא, ולא יגלה עצמו עד שישב

One should be modest in the bathroom stall, and not reveal oneself until sitting.

The above law seems to focus on sitting (defecating), but, it does imply a general rule of modesty in the bathroom, whether you reveal yourself standing or sitting. If so, isn't using a urinal a lack of modesty, esp. in those places where there is one large urinal (like a "trough") against the wall, and multiple men urinate in it (i.e. - there is no partition. These large urinals seem to be common at baseball stadiums.) Are you allowed to use such a urinal, if this may be a lack of modesty?

  • 1
    Regarding the first part of your question, it seems pretty obvious that a urinal is the equivalent of a high place.
    – Yishai
    Jun 8, 2015 at 15:33
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  • @Yishai In terms of SA's definition, I don't know what he meant by "high place". Also, a number of urinals are lower than an average adult's height. (They may be meant for kids or midgets, but I see adults use them, esp. if that's the only one available. In many yeshivot or other schools, nearly all the urinals are low / short, but teacher's / rebbes use them.)
    – DanF
    Jun 8, 2015 at 15:57
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    @DanF, IIRC it means to a place where it won't splash on your feet. Over a cliff or on absorbent ground.
    – Yishai
    Jun 8, 2015 at 16:01
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    @GershonGold - see Mishna Brurah & Ba'er Hetev - specifically tallit katan which people wear under the shirt. Nonetheless, this fact does not imply permissibility to urinate while standing. There is no mention of this, here. I wouldn't infer this rule from MB 21:14.
    – DanF
    Jun 8, 2015 at 17:00

2 Answers 2


I asked Rav Avigdor Nevenzahl Shlit"a this question and he answered me that it is better to use the stalls than to use the urinals, however, if it is a case of Bal Teshaktzu - very pressing need to go that would result is transgressing the prohibition, one can use the urinal.

I personally witnessed him many times using the urinal, but I noticed that it was only when the stalls were already occupied.

  • 19
    And he said "Mefaresh! What in the !#$@%^%^!#^%$ world are you doing here! Get out!" And you said "Rebbe, it's Torah and I have to learn it!"
    – Double AA
    Jun 15, 2015 at 17:56
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    Rav Moshe Feinstein deals with this question in the Igros Moshe YD3 Page 284
    – Mark A.
    Nov 18, 2016 at 2:01
  • @DoubleAA you better believe it! Jan 5, 2018 at 11:41

From what I recall of the gemara (Niddah 13a and Berachos 40a and is quoted in the Mishna Berura 3:23), the issue is that a gentleman will be concerned that urine will get onto his shoes and people might think that he has a physical deformity and they will question the legitimacy of his children. For this reason he might interrupt his stream lest it slow down and get close to his shoes. If he is sitting while urinating he will not be so concerned.


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