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Can one use on Shabbos an automatic toilet with an electric sensor that triggers the flushing mechanism when you are done? For example in a hotel lobby, or a public building. Assume there is no other toilet reasonably available.

Basically, does ba'al tishaktzu/ kavod habri'os/ being in discomfort etc. override the potential problems of triggering the toilet to flush?

Would that same scenario be applicable to to an automatic sink? (ie so no one has to touch one's dirty hands)

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    Offhand, isn't this a gramah delo nicha? You're not gaining benefit from the electronics sensor, nor do you really care if the toilet is flushed once you are done using it. – DanF Feb 19 at 14:50
  • @DanF ie should be fine? – alicht Feb 19 at 15:07
  • I personally have difficulties understanding "can" questions. In Halacha there are hundreds of situations and tens of views. We should all adopt a better template for Halachic question, for example: what are Halachic considerations about X? or What are Halachic opinions about X in Y situation. – Al Berko Feb 19 at 15:11
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    @DanF You would be embarrassed walking out of a public toilet leaving it full of you're residue. Imagine the face of the person walking in next. – user6591 Feb 19 at 15:22
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    I have seen many automatic toilets with manual overrides which can be used before the automatic device kicks in. Of course, that depends on how the manual override works. – Dennis Feb 19 at 16:31
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Halachipedia brings a number of opinions permitting this

  • R Josh Flug (Sukkot To Go 5770, p. 27) writes that it is certainly permissible to use a toilet with an automatic flusher if no other restroom is available because most assume that using electricity is prohibited only d’rabanan and therefore is permitted for kavod habriyot. He says that perhaps it is even permitted if going to the non-automated toilets is inconvenient, since it may be a psik reisha d’o nicha lei on an issur d’rabanan

  • Practical Laws of Shabbat (R Rafael Soae, p. 335) quotes Kedushat HaShabbat (R Moshe Harari p. 79) who says that if there’s no other bathroom available other than one which has toilets that automatically flush when one moves away, one may use the toilet because of Kavod HaBriyot

  • R Yisrael Belsky in Shulchan HaLevi 7:7 permits using this type of bathroom if there is no other bathroom available, but if there’s another option, he forbids using the electrical toilet.

On your last question, they quote R Aryeh Lebowitz (audio here) who quotes R Belsky as saying that kavod habriyot would not be a leniency in order to wash one’s hands with an automatic sink.

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