SECTION 87 The Extent to which One must Distance Himself from a Chamber Pot when Reciting the Shema. (1-4)

סימן פז כַּמָּה צָרִיךְ לְהַרְחִיק בִּשְׁעַת קְרִיאַת שְׁמַע מִן גְּרָף שֶׁל רְעִי וּבוֹ ד' סְעִיפִים:

1 [Before reciting the Shema] one must distance himself [at least] four cubits from a chamber pot or a receptacle for urine1 [if they are behind him or to his side], and [step back] until they are out of sight if they are in front of him, just as one must do with regard to actual feces or urine. [This applies even if the utensils] are empty and even if they are not malodorous. Since they are designated for this purpose, they are subject to the same laws as the walls of a lavatory, [near which] it is Scripturally forbidden [to recite the Shema],2 as it is written, “And your camp shall be holy.” Therefore, pouring a revi’is or more of water has no consequence with regard to a chamber pot or a receptacle for urine, though it is effective with regard to urine itself.3 [The rationale is that] after urine has reached the ground, the prohibition [against reciting the Shema near it] derives merely from the Sages. They therefore ruled leniently, allowing [the urine] to be nullified by water. This does not apply with regard to a chamber pot or a receptacle for urine, in which instances the prohibition is of Scriptural origin. Moreover, urine is [liquid] and mixes together with the revi’is of water poured into it and hence can be nullified by it. With regard to a chamber pot or a receptacle for urine, by contrast, [the filth] absorbed in them does not mix together with the water so that it can be nullified by it.

א גְּרָף שֶׁל רְעִי וְעָבִיט שֶׁל מֵי רַגְלַיִם – צָרִיךְ לְהַרְחִיק מֵהֶםא ד' אַמּוֹת1 וּלְפָנָיו כִּמְלֹא עֵינָיוב כְּמוֹ מִן הַצּוֹאָה וּמֵי רַגְלַיִם עַצְמָן,ג אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין בָּהֶן כְּלוּם, וַאֲפִלּוּ אֵין בָּהֶם רֵיחַ רַע,ד שֶׁכֵּיוָן שֶׁהֵם מְיֻחָדִים לְכָךְ – הֲרֵי הֵם כִּמְחִצּוֹת שֶׁל בֵּית הַכִּסֵּא,ה שֶׁאָסוּר מִן הַתּוֹרָהו,2 מִשּׁוּם "וְהָיָה מַחֲנֶיךָ קָדוֹשׁ". וְלָכֵן אֵין הֲטָלַת רְבִיעִית מַיִם אוֹ יוֹתֵר מוֹעֶלֶת כְּלוּם בִּגְרָף שֶׁל רְעִי וְעָבִיט כְּמוֹ שֶׁמּוֹעֶלֶת בְּמֵי רַגְלַיִם עַצְמָן,ז,3 לְפִי שֶׁמֵּי רַגְלַיִם לְאַחַר שֶׁנָּפְלוּ לָאָרֶץ – אֵין אִסּוּרָן אֶלָּא מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים,ח לְפִיכָךְ הֵקֵלּוּ בָּהֶן לְבַטְּלָם בַּמַּיִם, מַה שֶּׁאֵין כֵּן בִּגְרָף וְעָבִיט שֶׁאִסּוּרָן מִן הַתּוֹרָה. וְעוֹד שֶׁמֵּי רַגְלַיִם הֵם צְלוּלִין וּמִתְעָרְבִין עִם רְבִיעִית מַיִם שֶׁנּוֹתֵן בָּהֶם וּמִתְבַּטְּלִים בָּהֶם, אֲבָל גְּרָף וְעָבִיט אֵין מַה שֶּׁבָּלוּעַ בָּהֶם מִתְעָרֵב בַּמַּיִם שֶׁיִּתְבַּטֵּל בָּהֶן:ט

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2 The terms used to refer to a chamber pot or a receptacle for urine both refer to earthenware vessels, except that one is designated for feces and the other, for urine. The above laws also apply if these vessels are made of wood, for [the substances of which these vessels are made] will have absorbed a great deal of filth and [hence] are offensive, like a lavatory. If, however, these utensils are made of metal, glass,4 or glazed earthenware (or tin or lead),5 since they will not have absorbed a great deal of filth [the Shema] may be recited in view of them if they have been washed thoroughly, provided they are not malodorous.

Even earthenware or wooden vessels are not comparable to a lavatory if they are also set aside for another purpose, e.g., as receptacles for dirty water. If they do not contain feces and are not malodorous, it is permitted [to recite the Shema near them]. The same applies if a utensil is designated only for urine, provided that every time [it is used], a revi’is of water is poured into it to nullify [the urine].

ב גְּרָף וְעָבִיט שְׁנֵיהֶם שֶׁל חֶרֶס הֵם, אֶלָּא שֶׁהַמְיֻחָד לִרְעִי – נִקְרָא גְּרָף, וְהַמְיֻחָד לְמֵי רַגְלַיִם – נִקְרָא עָבִיט.י וְהוּא הַדִּין אִם הֵם שֶׁל עֵץ, מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהַחֶרֶס אוֹ עֵץ שֶׁל גְּרָף וְעָבִיט הוּא מֻבְלָע בְּתוֹכוֹ הַרְבֵּה וּמָלֵא זֻהֲמָא וּמָאוּס כְּבֵית הַכִּסֵּא.יא אֲבָל אִם הֵם שֶׁל מַתֶּכֶתיב אוֹ שֶׁל זְכוּכִיתיג,4 אוֹ שֶׁל חֶרֶס מְצֻפֶּהיד (א) בִּזְכוּכִיתטו (אוֹ בִּבְדִיל וְעוֹפֶרֶת),5 כֵּיוָן שֶׁאֵינָן מֻבְלָעִים וּמְלֵאִים זֻהֲמָא כָּל כָּךְ – מֻתָּר לִקְרוֹת כְּנֶגְדָּןטז אִם הֵם רְחוּצִים יָפֶה,יז וּבִלְבַד שֶׁלֹּא יִהְיֶה בָּהֶן רֵיחַ.יח

וַאֲפִלּוּ שֶׁל חֶרֶס אוֹ שֶׁל עֵץ, אִם הֵם מְיֻחָדִים גַּם כֵּן לְתַשְׁמִישׁ אַחֵר, כְּגוֹן לִשְׁפֹּךְ לְתוֹכָן שׁוֹפְכִין – אֵינָן דּוֹמִין לְבֵית הַכִּסֵּא, וְאִם אֵין בָּהֶם צוֹאָה וְלֹא רֵיחַ – מֻתָּר. וְהוּא הַדִּין אֲפִלּוּ כְּלִי הַמְיֻחָד לְהַשְׁתִּין בִּלְבַד אֶלָּא שֶׁבְּכָל פַּעַם שֶׁמַּשְׁתִּין נוֹתֵן בְּתוֹכוֹ רְבִיעִית מַיִם לְבַטְּלָם:יט

3 If a chamber pot or receptacle for urine is covered with another vessel,6 it is permitted [to recite the Shema near it];7 covering it is effective, just as it is with regard to actual feces and urine. By contrast, turning the chamber pot or receptacle for urine upside down accomplishes nothing. Since [the filth] is absorbed in it, its exterior is the same as its interior. If, however, [such a utensil is made of] metal or glass and its interior has not been washed, turning it upside down is effective, because the prohibition is brought about only by its interior.

ג גְּרָף וְעָבִיט שֶׁכָּפָה עֲלֵיהֶם כְּלִי אַחֵר6 – מֻתָּר,כ,7 שֶׁכִּסּוּי מוֹעִיל לָהֶם כְּמוֹ לְצוֹאָה וּמֵי רַגְלַיִם.כא אֲבָל אִם כָּפָה הַגְּרָף אוֹ הֶעָבִיט עַצְמוֹ – לֹא הוֹעִיל כְּלוּם, שֶׁכֵּיוָן שֶׁהוּא בָּלוּעַ בְּתוֹכוֹ – הֲרֵי בָּרוֹ כְּתוֹכוֹ.כב אֲבָל שֶׁל מַתֶּכֶת וּזְכוּכִית שֶׁאֵינוֹ רָחוּץ מִתּוֹכוֹ – מוֹעֶלֶת לוֹ כְּפִיָּה, כֵּיוָן שֶׁאֵין אִסּוּרוֹ אֶלָּא מִתּוֹכוֹ:כג

4 When there are feces, urine, a chamber pot, or a receptacle for urine in a [room],8 it is permitted to recite [the Shema] if one distances himself [at least] four cubits, when they are located behind him. We do not say that the entire house is considered as [one’s immediate location of] four cubits.9

If the [room]8 contains a bed that is [at least] ten handbreadths high and its frame reaches down10 (to within three handbreadths11 of) the floor,12 should there be a chamber pot or feces behind the bed, the bed is considered as separating the person from them. He is thus not required to move four cubits away from them, provided the bed extends from wall to wall. If not, it is not considered a divider, for it is considered as a subsidiary part of the room.13

(If, however, one erected a divider [specifically] for this purpose, it need not extend from wall to wall, even if it is a temporary divider like a mat or a sheet.) (See sec. 315:3.)14 If one places [the chamber pot or the feces] under the bed, they are considered closed off and covered by the bed-frame even if it is not ten handbreadths high — provided the frame reaches down to within three handbreadths of the floor, for objects located within three handbreadths of each other are considered [joined, based on the principle of] lavud.

The same applies if a vessel fell on [the feces] and there is some open space between the vessel and the ground, one side of the rim being higher than the other. If the space [under it] is less than three handbreadths high, it is considered [joined, based on the principle of] lavud. If, however, the top of the utensil is open, it is forbidden [to recite the Shema] even if [the opening] is less than three handbreadths in size, because [the feces] must be covered and not exposed.

ד בַּיִת שֶׁיֵּשׁ בּוֹ צוֹאָה אוֹ מֵי רַגְלַיִם אוֹ גְּרָף אוֹ עָבִיט8 – מֻתָּר לִקְרוֹת בּוֹ כְּשֶׁמַּרְחִיק מֵהֶם ד' אַמּוֹת מִלְּאַחֲרָיו,כד וְאֵין אוֹמְרִים שֶׁכָּל הַבַּיִת הוּא כְּדִי[ן] ד' אַמּוֹת.כה,9

וְאִם יֵשׁ בַּבַּיִת8 מִטָּהכו גָּבוֹהַּ י' טְפָחִיםכז וּמְחִצּוֹתֶיהָ מַגִּיעוֹתכח,10 (לְפָחוֹת מִג' טְפָחִיםכט,11 סָמוּךְ) לָאָרֶץ וְהַגְּרָף וְהַצּוֹאָה הֵם אֲחוֹרֵי הַמִּטָּה – הֲרֵי הַמִּטָּה חֲשׁוּבָה כִּמְחִצָּה לְהַפְסִיק בֵּינוֹ לְבֵינֵיהֶם, וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לְהַרְחִיק מֵהֶם ד' אַמּוֹת. וְהוּא שֶׁתִּהְיֶה הַמִּטָּה חוֹצֶצֶת מִכֹּתֶל לְכֹתֶל, וְאִם לָאו – אֵינָהּ חֲשׁוּבָה כִּמְחִצָּה, שֶׁהִיא בְּטֵלָה לְגַבֵּי הַבַּיִתל,13 (אֲבָל אִם עָשָׂה מְחִצָּה לְשֵׁם כָּךְ – אֵין צָרִיךְ לַחְצֹץ מִכֹּתֶל לְכֹתֶל, אֲפִלּוּ הִיא מְחִצַּת עֲרַאי כְּגוֹן מַחְצֶלֶת אוֹ סָדִין) (עַיֵּן סִימָן שט"ולא).14 וְאִם הִנִּיחָם תַּחַת הַמִּטָּה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינוֹ גָּבוֹהַּ י' טְפָחִים, אִם מְחִצּוֹתֶיהָ מַגִּיעוֹת עַד פָּחוֹת מִג' טְפָחִים סָמוּךְ לָאָרֶץ, שֶׁכִּסְתוּמִים וּמְכֻסִּים הֵם בִּמְחִצּוֹת הַמִּטָּה,לב שֶׁכָּל פָּחוֹת מִג' טְפָחִים כְּלָבוּד הוּא.לג

וְהוּא הַדִּין אִם נָפַל עֲלֵיהֶם כְּלִי וְיֵשׁ אֲוִיר קְצָת בֵּין הַכְּלִי לַקַּרְקַע, כְּגוֹן שֶׁהַכְּלִי בּוֹלֵט קְצָת מִצַּד אֶחָד, אִם הוּא אֲוִיר פָּחוֹת מִג' טְפָחִים בַּגֹּבַהּ – כְּלָבוּד הוּא. אֲבָל אִם הַכְּלִי פָּתוּחַ לְמַעְלָה אֲפִלּוּ פָּחוֹת מִג' טְפָחִים – אָסוּר, מִפְּנֵי שֶׁצָּרִיךְ שֶׁיִּהְיֶה מְכֻסִּים וְלֹא מְגֻלִּים:לד