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What's the deal with showering on yom tov? I am asking not about shabbos, but specifically about yom tov.

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Using the hot water itself is no problem. Some poskim say to use liquid soap (to avoid memareach, smoothing), although I believe that R. Moshe Feinstein did not even allow liquid soap. Some say to avoid squeezing the water from your hair, although R. S.Z. Auerbach allowed drying hair directly into a towel.

  • zach, welcome to mi.yodeya, and thanks very much for answering this question so quickly. Please consider clicking "register," above, to create your account. This will give you access to all of mi.yodeya's features and will allow you to take full credit for your contributions. – Isaac Moses Mar 28 '10 at 17:44
  • @zach: I think the Rav (R' Solovetchik) permitted using liquid soap. – Azi Mar 28 '10 at 19:49
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    I'm not so sure that hot water isn't a problem in itself. First of all, if you have an electric boiler, then there's that whole issue. (A gas or oil-fired one would probably be less of a problem, since they use a pilot light.) Second, Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 511:2 forbids heating water to wash one's whole body, and Mishnah Berurah there :10 says that this is because not everyone is accustomed to doing so all the time - although perhaps today that's no longer the case. – Alex Mar 29 '10 at 4:42
  • @Alex I don't think the "perhaps" in that sentence is even necessary. Besides, one could always turn on the shower to wash one's hands and then leave it running. – Double AA May 17 '13 at 18:53
  • The way a hot water heater works is the hot water is always hot and thus turning on the shower isnt heating up the water on yontiff. When one turns on the cold water you are heating up that water which isnt a ptoblem bc you are permitted on yontiff to use a heat source which existed prior to yontiff beginning. It seems like the main problem would be squuzing the water from your hair which can be prevented with a shower hair cover or not wetting fully and only patting down lightly when getting out. – Dude Apr 28 '16 at 1:54
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Guidelines by Rabbi Areyh Lebowitz, this was posted on his Twitter account

Most of his rulings are according to his Rebbe Rabbi Schacther

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My rov told me that showering is yontif is muttar, and kol shekein (all the more so) on yom tov sheini. He said that you have a two or three-day-yontif, and are trying to be "machmir" and refraining from taking a shower, then you are being oveir on bal t'shaktzu and not showing kavod to other human beings. Especially with all that dancing on Simchas Torah!

edit: Also, according to the opinion that permits electricity on yom tov, you could also use a hair dryer to dry your hair, which would get rid of the potential problem of using a towel.

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    user1059, welcome to Judaism.SE, and thanks very much for this information! You could make this answer even more valuable by adding any information you have about your Rabbi's reasoning or sources or by identifying who your Rabbi is. Please edit [your user profile] to give yourself a name! – Isaac Moses Dec 2 '11 at 2:28
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    Adam: an interesting suggestion. However that is not a common opinion to be followed nowadays. Do you know any modern (for our purposes let's say living) posek who holds that all electricity is permitted on Yom Tov? – Double AA Jan 31 '12 at 6:14
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    I don't personally know of any, but who says that Lomdus can't be part of Jewish Life and Learning StackExchange? – Adam Mosheh Jan 31 '12 at 6:19
  • @Adam The Brisker concept (not followed in practice) is that electricity is like actual fire. It follows from this, that turning on a light bulb is merely the transfer of an "existing flame" (the live electric wires in the house) - which is permitted on yom tov. However, that same rationale would prohibit turning OFF that same light bulb, or indeed any electrical appliance, because one would be performing the Torah-level prohibition of extinguishing, which is prohibited on both shabbos and yom tov. So theoretically, you might be able to turn on the hair dryer, but you couldn't turn it off. – user1095 Jan 31 '12 at 7:15
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here's an audio from Rabbi Nissan Kaplan of Mir Yeshiva, Jerusalem

goes through the whole sugya down to halacha http://ravkaplan.dafyomireview.com/aud/5772-Halacha/5772-20-shower_on_yom_tov.mp3

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    Your answer would be much improved if you would summarize the main points of the lecture. – Michoel Sep 27 '12 at 22:03
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To put it simple, it's not simple. There's many issues you need to be aware of. Rabbi Shmuel Lesches, a Rabbi in Melbourne, put together an in depth article about showering on Y"T, including a checklist for what you need to know to take a shower. In order to understand the reasoning and opinions behind the checklist, read the (long) section about showering in the linked magazine.

  • This is quite a Machmir chart. EDIT: The article does an excellent job outlining the issues! Just at the end after showing all the reasons to be lenient he says ~ 'but for whatever reason people are still machmir so in conclusion regular showers are prohibited' which is just bizarre. (He skips on analysis of Sechita beSeiar, but that unfortunately is not surprising.) – Double AA Jun 14 '16 at 22:52
  • @DoubleAA He gives his thoughts "It may very well be that they were concerned about bathing becoming widespread on Yom Tov, lest people ignore all of the other Halachos related to bathing which will be explored over the two parts of this article." – user613 Jun 15 '16 at 5:51
  • So when he says showering remains prohibited he means he has made a new Gezera that Chazal didn't lest people use thick and/or scented soap. I'm glad he wasn't also Gozer on hand washing because of that. I also don't feel bound to follow his Gezeras in any way. (As I mentioned above he also skips on analyzing Sechita beSeiar which is really a Machloket on a Derabanan on a Derabanan on a Derabanan [on a Derabanan] if it even exists at all and even if showering for Chag isn't Makom Mitzva.) To put it simple, it is simple, just he wants to be Gozer many Chumros on us apparently. – Double AA Jun 15 '16 at 12:02
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    Please see meta.judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/75/… . I don't think that copying someone else's checklist is fair use, even if it's part of some larger work. I recommend that you replace it with a description in your own words of some of the main points. – Isaac Moses Jun 27 '16 at 17:04
  • I've edited out the copied material. – Isaac Moses Jul 1 '16 at 19:16

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