There is a practice when building certain houses to include a "Baltimore Throne", a working toilet in the basement which sits on its own. (Though I don't live in Baltimore I have seen it in houses in New Jersey).

Concerning the rules regarding Torah (in speech and in print) and bathrooms (which I ask about here), would this "throne" (assuming the opinion that a toilet DOES count as the same as the type the Talmud views as inappropriate for Torah content) turn an entire floor of a house into a "bathroom" and preclude any kodesh stuff from being stored in the basement?

Is there a distance beyond which one can talk of Torah or the like even though one is still in sight lines of the toilet?

This also would be a question of a basement which has had walls removed for remodeling but the toilet is still there and working.

  • I don't think that that is the premise. It is fully operational.
    – rosends
    Commented Dec 10, 2017 at 2:54
  • Living in Baltimore, I can confirm that the toilet that you refer to is walled in. I have one in my house. We also had one in the house that I grew up in in Connecticut and my son has one in his house in New Jersey. In all cases there are wooden walls around it with a door. Commented Dec 10, 2017 at 3:08
  • @rosends So to clarify, the question is referring to a case in which the toilet is sometimes used, right?
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Dec 10, 2017 at 3:27
  • @sabbahillel The link discusses a different case then, one that I have seen (and one I have in my house right now).
    – rosends
    Commented Dec 10, 2017 at 4:30
  • More commonly called a Pittsburgh potty (or Pittsburgh toilet).
    – msh210
    Commented Dec 10, 2017 at 4:34

1 Answer 1


The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch in סימן ה - נקיון המקום לדבר שבקדשה says that a "potty chair" that is mainly used for sitting and in case of need used as a potty, doesn't turn the entire room into a toilet, once the potty is removed and the hole covered.

However, a potty chair that is mainly used as a toilet, or a bedpan, made of wood or clay turn the entire room into a toilet.

However, if it's made of glass or metal and is spotlessly clean and odorless, then they no longer have the status of a toilet at all.

So now we're back to the discussion of whether glazed clay (porcelain) is considered glass or clay. If it's glass then you can pray and learn in the basement, if the Baltimore Throne is spotlessly clean and odorless.

If it's like clay then the entire floor has the law of a toilet, unless it's completely covered.

סעיף יב': בֵּית הַכִּסֵּא, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ מְחִיצוֹת וְאֵין בּוֹ צוֹאָה, צְרִיכִים לְהַרְחִיק מִמֶּנּוּ. וְלָכֵן סַפְסָל הֶעָשׂוּי עִם נֶקֶב שֶׁמַּעֲמִידִים תַּחְתָּיו גְּרָף לִפָּנוֹת עָלָיו, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוֹצִיאוּ אֶת הַגְּרָף וְכִסּוּ אֶת הַנֶּקֶב בְּדַף, מִכָּל מָקוֹם יֵשׁ לַסַּפְסָל הַזֶּה דִין בֵּית הַכִּסֵּא, וּצְרִיכִים לְהוֹצִיאוֹ מִן הַבַּיִת אוֹ לְכַסּוֹתוֹ כֻּלּוֹ. אַךְ אִם הוּא כִּסֵּא הַמְּיֻחָד לִישִׁיבָה וּמְכֻסֶּה בְּכַר לֵישֵׁב עָלָיו וְרַק לְעֵת הַצֹּרֶךְ מְסִירִים אֶת הַכַּר וְנִפְנִים שָׁם וְשׁוּב מַחֲזִירִים עָלָיו אֶת הַכַּר, בָּזֶה יֵשׁ לְהָקֵל. ‏

סעיף יג': גְּרָף שֶׁל רְעִי וְעָבִיט שֶׁל מֵי רַגְלַיִם, אִם הֵם שֶׁל חֶרֶס אוֹ שֶׁל עֵץ, דִּינָם כְּבֵית הַכִּסֵּא. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהֵם נְקִיִּים וְאֵין לָהֶם רֵיחַ רָע, וַאֲפִלוּ נָתַן לְתוֹכָם מַיִם אוֹ שֶׁכְּפָאָם עַל פִּיהֶם, לָא מַהֲנֵי. וַאֲפִלּוּ נְתָנָם תַּחַת הַמִּטָּה, לָא מַהֲנֵי (דְּמִטּוֹת שֶׁלָּנוּ אֵינָן חוֹצְצוֹת), אֶלָּא צָרִיךְ לְהוֹצִיאָם מִן הַבַּיִת אוֹ לְכַסּוֹתָם. וְאִם הֵם שֶׁל מַתֶּכֶת אוֹ זְכוּכִית, אִם הֵם רְחוּצִים יָפֶה וְאֵין בָּהֶם רֵיחַ רָע, אֵין צְרִיכִים לְהַרְחִיק מֵהֶם. פִּי חֲזִיר, כֵּיוָן שֶׁדַּרְכּוֹ לְנַקֵּר בַּצּוֹאָה, דִּינוֹ כִּגְרָף שֶׁל רְעִי. וַאֲפִלּוּ עוֹלֶה מִן הַנָּהָר, אֵין הָרְחִיצָה מוֹעֶלֶת לוֹ (ע"ו פ"ז). ‏

  • Thanks -- your first paragraph says that it is used as a toilet in case of need (I rarely use toilets when it isn't a case of need) but the room isn't a toilet "once the potty is removed and the hole covered." But if that has to be done then the entire question disappears. Am I missing something?
    – rosends
    Commented Dec 10, 2017 at 16:19
  • @rosends - the first case is: It's essentially a chair, but when required the cover over the hole in the seat is removed, it's used as a toilet for a few moments, and then the hole is covered and becomes a chair again. As opposed to a regular potty chair that is always a toilet, even if you happen to cover the hole to sit on it. Commented Dec 11, 2017 at 9:50

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