SECTION 92 One Who Must Relieve Himself, the Law applying to Washing, and other Preparations [for Prayer]. (1-10)

סימן צב הַנִּצְרָךְ לִנְקָבָיו וְדִין רְחִיצָה וּשְׁאָר הֲכָנוֹת וּבוֹ י' סְעִיפִים:

1 What is meant by [preparing] one’s body?1 If one must relieve himself, he should not pray2 until he does so, for it is written,3 “Prepare to greet your G‑d, O Israel.” If he prayed regardless, his prayer is an abomination and he must recite Shemoneh Esreh again.4

When does the above apply? With regard to [deferring] defecation. With regard to [deferring] urination, by contrast, there is no need to pray a second time. Even with regard to [deferring] defecation, one is not required to pray a second time unless he cannot contain himself for the length of time it takes to walk a parsah.5 If he can contain himself for the length of time it takes to walk a parsah, he has fulfilled his obligation [for prayer] after the fact.6 As an initial preference,7 however, one should not pray with a loathsome body8 even if the time for prayer9 will pass before he relieves himself. It is even forbidden [to speak] words of Torah as long as one’s body is loathsome. There is an authority who permits one [to pray], even as an initial preference, if he can contain himself for the length of time it takes to walk a parsah. One may rely on that view in a situation where the time for prayer will pass before he relieves himself.

א גּוּפוֹ כֵּיצַד?א,1 הָיָה צָרִיךְ לִנְקָבָיו אַל יִתְפַּלֵּל2 עַד שֶׁיִּפָּנֶה,ב מִשּׁוּם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר:ג,3 "הִכּוֹן לִקְרַאת אֱלֹהֶיךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל".ד וְאִם הִתְפַּלֵּל – תְּפִלָּתוֹ תּוֹעֵבָה וְצָרִיךְ לַחֲזֹר וּלְהִתְפַּלֵּל.ה,4 בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים? בִּגְּדוֹלִים, אֲבָל בִּקְּטַנִּים – אֵין צָרִיךְ לַחֲזֹר וּלְהִתְפַּלֵּל.ו וַאֲפִלּוּ בִּגְדוֹלִים אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לַחֲזֹר אֶלָּא כְּשֶׁאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהַעֲמִיד עַצְמוֹ שִׁעוּר הִלּוּךְ פַּרְסָה,ז,5 אֲבָל אִם יָכוֹל לְהַעֲמִיד עַצְמוֹ שִׁעוּר הִלּוּךְ פַּרְסָה – יָצָא בְּדִיעֲבַד.6 אֲבָל לְכַתְּחִלָּהח,7 לֹא יִתְפַּלֵּל בְּגוּף מְשֻׁקָּץ,ט,8 אֲפִלּוּ אִם יַעֲבֹר זְמַן הַתְּפִלָּהי,9 עַד שֶׁיִּפָּנֶה. וַאֲפִלּוּ בְּדִבְרֵי תּוֹרָה אָסוּר כָּל זְמַן שֶׁגּוּפוֹ מְשֻׁקָּץ.יא וְיֵשׁ מִי שֶׁמַּתִּיריב אֲפִלּוּ לְכַתְּחִלָּה אִם יָכוֹל לְהַעֲמִיד עַצְמוֹ שִׁעוּר פַּרְסָה. וְיֵשׁ לִסְמֹךְ עַל זֶה אִם הוּא בְּעִנְיָן שֶׁבְּעוֹד שֶׁיִּפָּנֶה יַעֲבֹר זְמַן הַתְּפִלָּה:יג

2 All of the above applies when one feels the need [to relieve himself] before beginning to recite Shemoneh Esreh. [Different rules apply] if the urge to urinate or defecate is [first] aroused in the midst of Shemoneh Esreh. If he can contain himself until he completes Shemoneh Esreh, he should contain himself and not make an interruption in Shemoneh Esreh, even for urination. If he cannot contain himself, he should interrupt in order to defecate, but not to urinate. Even if urine begins to trickle over his legs, he should wait until it ceases and then resume his prayer. He is not required to distance himself [from the urine], as stated in sec. 78[:1, 3].10

By contrast, when he is in the midst of reciting the Shema and its blessings, if he so desires he may move [from the place where he is praying] and urinate or, if he so desires, he may continue reciting [his prayers] in his ordinary manner, containing himself until he completes Shemoneh Esreh. With regard to defecation, he must contain himself if he can and should not interrupt even during the recitation of the Shema and its blessings (and even in the midst of the verses of Pesukei deZimrah from Baruch SheAmar onward).

The above applies provided he does not feel the urge to relieve himself to the extent that by containing himself he violates [the charge],11 “Do not make yourselves loathsome,” even though he cannot contain himself for the length of time it takes to walk a parsah.12 If, however, his situation is such that he violates [that prohibition], he should interrupt the recitation of the Shema and its blessings — whether to urinate or to defecate — but not the recitation of Shemoneh Esreh. For [the Sages] permitted an interruption in the midst of Shemoneh Esreh only because of mortal danger, as will be explained in sec. 104[:1-2]. One can infer [that such leniency is not warranted] by the prohibition, “Do not make yourselves loathsome,” which is only of Rabbinic origin.13 For [it was the Sages who established a decree], and it was they [who prescribed its limits].14

([The laws that apply when] because of the pressure one breaks wind or feels the need to break wind are stated in sec. 103[:1-2].)

ב וְכָל זֶה כְּשֶׁהֻצְרַךְ קֹדֶם הַתְחָלַת הַתְּפִלָּה,יד אֲבָל אִם בְּאֶמְצַע תְּפִלָּתוֹ נִתְעוֹרֵר לוֹ תַּאֲוָה בֵּין לִקְטַנִּים בֵּין לִגְדוֹלִים, אִם יָכוֹל לְהַעֲמִיד עַצְמוֹ עַד שֶׁיְּסַיֵּם תְּפִלָּתוֹ – יַעֲמִיד עַצְמוֹ וְלֹא יַפְסִיק אֲפִלּוּ לִקְטַנִּים בְּאֶמְצַע תְּפִלַּת י"ח.טו וְאִם אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהַעֲמִיד עַצְמוֹ – יַפְסִיק לִגְדוֹלִים, אֲבָל לִקְטַנִּים לֹא יַפְסִיק.טז וַאֲפִלּוּ מַיִם שׁוֹתְתִין עַל בִּרְכָּיו – מַמְתִּין עַד שֶׁיִּכְלוּ הַמַּיִם וְחוֹזֵר לִתְפִלָּתוֹ, וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לְהַרְחִיק, כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן ע"ח.יז,10

אֲבָל בְּאֶמְצַע קְרִיאַת שְׁמַע וּבִרְכוֹתֶיהָ, אִם רָצָה – מַרְחִיק וּמֵטִיל מַיִם,יח וְאִם רָצָה – קוֹרֵא כְּדַרְכּוֹ וּמַעֲמִיד עַצְמוֹ עַד שֶׁיְּסַיֵּם תְּפִלָּתוֹ. אֲבָל לִגְדוֹלִים צָרִיךְ לְהַעֲמִיד עַצְמוֹ אִם יָכוֹל וְלֹא יַפְסִיק אֲפִלּוּ בִּקְרִיאַת שְׁמַע וּבִרְכוֹתֶיהָ (אוֹ אֲפִלּוּ בִּפְסוּקֵי דְּזִמְרָה מִ"בָּרוּךְ שֶׁאָמַר" וְאֵילָךְיט).

וְהוּא שֶׁאֵינוֹ מִתְאַוֶּה כָּל כָּךְ בְּעִנְיָן שֶׁיְּהֵא בּוֹ מִשּׁוּם11 "בַּל תְּשַׁקְּצוּ"כ כְּשֶׁמַּעֲמִיד עַצְמוֹ, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהַעֲמִיד עַצְמוֹ שִׁעוּר פַּרְסָה,כא,12 אֲבָל אִם הוּא בְּעִנְיָן שֶׁיֵּשׁ בּוֹ מִשּׁוּם "בַּל תְּשַׁקְּצוּ" – מַפְסִיק בֵּין לִקְטַנִּיםכב בֵּין לִגְדוֹלִים בְּאֶמְצַע קְרִיאַת שְׁמַע וּבִרְכוֹתֶיהָ, אֲבָל לֹא בְּאֶמְצַע תְּפִלַּת י"ח,כג שֶׁלֹּא הִתִּירוּ לְהַפְסִיק בְּאֶמְצַע תְּפִלַּת י"ח אֶלָּא מִשּׁוּם חֲשַׁשׁ סַכָּנַת נְפָשׁוֹת בִּלְבַד וּכְמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן ק"ד,כד וְקַל וָחֹמֶר מִשּׁוּם אִסּוּר "בַּל תְּשַׁקְּצוּ" שֶׁאֵינוֹ אֶלָּא מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים,כה,13 שֶׁהֵם אָמְרוּ וְהֵם אָמְרוּכו,14 (וְאִם מֵרֹב דָּחְקוֹ נִתְעַטֵּשׁ אוֹ שֶׁבִּקֵּשׁ לְהִתְעַטֵּשׁ – יִתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן (קי"ג) [ק"גכז]):

3 Nevertheless, one should preferably check himself thoroughly before praying so that later he will not feel a need to relieve himself and be disturbed during prayer. Similarly, [before praying,] he should clear himself of phlegm, mucus, and any other matter that may disturb him.

He should later wash his hands with water15 even though he washed them16 [earlier] in the morning, because he touched filth17 after the morning’s washing.16 Nevertheless, he should not recite a blessing over this washing if he already recited a blessing over the morning washing,16 for the reason explained in sec. 7[1].18

ג וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם, לְכַתְּחִלָּה יִבְדֹּק אֶת עַצְמוֹ יָפֶה קֹדֶם הַתְּפִלָּה שֶׁלֹּא יִצְטָרֵךְ לִנְקָבָיו אַחַר כָּךְ וְיִטָּרֵד בִּתְפִלָּתוֹ.כח וְכֵן יָסִיר כִּיחוֹ וְנִיעוֹ וְכָל דָּבָר הַטּוֹרְדוֹ.כט

וְאַחַר כָּךְל צָרִיךְ לִרְחֹץ יָדָיו בַּמַּיִםלא,15 אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁנּוֹטֵל יָדָיו16 שַׁחֲרִית, כֵּיוָן שֶׁנָּגַע בְּטִנֹּפֶת17 אַחַר נְטִילַת שַׁחֲרִית.לב,16 וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם, לֹא יְבָרֵךְ עַל רְחִיצָה זוֹ אִם כְּבָר בֵּרַךְ עַל נְטִילַת שַׁחֲרִית,לג,16 מִטַּעַם שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן ז':לד,18

4 If a person does not have water [available], he must seek it out, [traveling as far as] a parsah5 if he is on a journey, and water is available a parsah ahead of him and he is able to reach it before the time for prayer passes.

[The above applies] when one travels alone. If he is traveling in a caravan, by contrast, he is not required to leave the caravan and proceed alone to the place where water is located. If, in order to reach water, he has to retrace his steps as far as a mil,19 he should. [If he would have to go back] more than a mil, he is not required to do so. If he is concerned that the time for prayer will pass before he reaches the place where water is available, he should not seek it out at all. Instead, he should only clean his hands on a stone, or with dust, or on a beam, or with any substance that cleans.19

ד וְאִם אֵין לוֹ מַיִם – צָרִיךְ לְחַזֵּ(ו)ר אַחֲרֵיהֶם עַד פַּרְסָהלה,5 אִם הוּא בַּדֶּרֶךְ וְהַמַּיִם נִמְצָאִים לְפָנָיו בְּרִחוּק פַּרְסָה וְיָכוֹל לְהַגִּיעַ אֲלֵיהֶן קֹדֶם שֶׁיַּעֲבֹר זְמַן הַתְּפִלָּה. וְהוּא שֶׁהוֹלֵךְ יְחִידִי, אֲבָל אִם הוֹלֵךְ בְּשַׁיָּרָא – אֵין צָרִיךְ לְהִפָּרֵד מִן הַשַׁיָּרָא לָלֶכֶת יְחִידִי לִמְקוֹם הַמַּיִם.לו וְאִם צָרִיךְ לַחֲזֹר לַאֲחוֹרָיו לִמְקוֹם מַיִם עַד מִיל19 – חוֹזֵר, יוֹתֵר מִמִּיל – אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לַחֲזֹר.לז

וְאִם מִתְיָרֵא שֶׁמָּא יַעֲבֹר זְמַן הַתְּפִלָּה עַד שֶׁיַּגִּיעַ לִמְקוֹם הַמַּיִם – לֹא יְחַזֵּ(ו)ר אַחֲרֵיהֶם כְּלָל,לח רַק יְנַקֶּה יָדָיו בִּצְרוֹר אוֹ בְּעָפָר אוֹ בְּקוֹרָהלט אוֹ בְּכָל דָּבָר שֶׁמְּנַקֶּה:מ,20

5 All of the above applies when his hands are soiled or when he touched an unclean part [of the body]. If, however, he does not know for a fact that [his hands] are at all soiled even though he has diverted his attention from them since the morning washing, he need not wash or clean them again, for his hands are presumably20 fit for prayer, as they are fit for the recitation of other blessings.21 Other authorities maintain that diverting one’s attention disqualifies [his hands] for prayer just as it does for partaking [of bread],22 because the hands are active and they may have touched an unclean part [of the body]. Primacy should be given to this view.

Nevertheless, if one does not have water accessible, there is no necessity to seek it out if he does not know for a fact that his hands have become soiled. In such a case one may rely on the first opinion above and merely clean his hands with any object that cleanses. For [such] cleansing is sufficient even for hands [disqualified by] diverting one’s attention, since [the hands] were disqualified by the diversion of one’s attention lest some sweat or filth become attached to them, and when they are cleaned [in any manner], that is wiped away.

Even if one’s hands are soiled, one is required to search for water only when one can do so. If, however, one is in the midst of Shemoneh Esreh — when he may not move from his place23 — and he recalls that he touched an unclean place, it is sufficient to clean [his hands] with dust or pebbles or rub them against a wall. At the outset, however, [while in the midst of Shemoneh Esreh,] it is forbidden to touch an unclean place (even when one has water accessible, so as not to interrupt) Shemoneh Esreh, as will be explained in sec. 97[:3].

ה וְכָל זֶה כְּשֶׁיָּדָיו מְלֻכְלָכוֹת אוֹ שֶׁנָּגְעוּ בְּמָקוֹם מְטֻנָּף,מא אֲבָל אִם אֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ לָהֶן שׁוּם לִכְלוּךְ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִסִּיחַ דַּעְתּוֹ מֵהֶם אַחַר נְטִילַת שַׁחֲרִית – אֵין צָרִיךְ לַחֲזֹר וְלִטְּלָן וְלֹא לְנַקּוֹתָן, שֶׁסְּתָם21 יָדַיִם כְּשֵׁרוֹת לִתְפִלָּה כְּמוֹ שֶׁכְּשֵׁרוֹת לִשְׁאָר בְּרָכוֹת.מב,22 וְיֵשׁ אוֹמְרִיםמג שֶׁהֶסַּח הַדַּעַת פּוֹסֵל לִתְפִלָּה כְּמוֹ שֶׁפּוֹסֵל לַאֲכִילָה,מד מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהַיָּדַיִם עַסְקָנִיּוֹת הֵן וְשֶׁמָּא נָגְעוּ בִּמְקוֹם הַטִּנֹּפֶת. וְכֵן עִקָּר.מה

וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם, אִם אֵין מַיִם מְזֻמָּנִים לְפָנָיו – אֵין צָרִיךְ לְחַזֵּ(ו)ר אַחֲרֵיהֶם אִם אֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ לָהֶם שׁוּם לִכְלוּךְ,מו שֶׁלְּעִנְיָן זֶה יֵשׁ לִסְמֹךְ עַל סְבָרָא הָרִאשׁוֹנָה, אֶלָּא יְנַקֶּה יָדָיו בְּכָל דָּבָר שֶׁמְּנַקֶּה,מז שֶׁנִּקָּיוֹן מוֹעִיל אַף לְיָדַיִם שֶׁל הֶסַּח הַדַּעַת,מח שֶׁפְּסוּל הֶסַּח הַדַּעַת הוּא מִשּׁוּם שֶׁמָּא מֻדְבָּק בָּהֵן מְעַט זֵעָה אוֹ צוֹאָה, וּכְשֶׁמְּנַקֶּה יִתְקַנְּחוּ.מט

וַאֲפִלּוּ בְּיָדַיִם מְלֻכְלָכוֹת – אֵין צָרִיךְ לְחַזֵּ(ו)ר אַחַר מַיִם אֶלָּא כְּשֶׁאֶפְשָׁר, אֲבָל כְּשֶׁעוֹמֵד בִּתְפִלָּה שֶׁאִי אֶפְשָׁר לָזוּז מִמְּקוֹמוֹנ,23 וְנִזְכַּר שֶׁנָּגַע בְּמָקוֹם מְטֻנָּףנא – דַּי בְּנִקְיוֹן עָפָר אוֹ צְרוֹרוֹת, אוֹ מְחַכֵּךְ יָדָיו בַּכֹּתֶל.נב

אֲבָל לְכַתְּחִלָּה אָסוּר לִגַּע בְּמָקוֹם מְטֻנָּףנג (אֲפִלּוּ יֵשׁ לוֹ מַיִם מְזֻמָּנִים לְפָנָיו, שֶׁלֹּא לְהַפְסִיק) בַּתְּפִלָּה, כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן צ"ז:נד

6 All of the above applies to prayer. For Torah study, by contrast, cleaning [one’s hands] with any substance is sufficient, even if one has water readily available.

ו וְכָל זֶה בַּתְּפִלָּה, אֲבָל לְתַלְמוּד תּוֹרָה דַּי בְּנִקָּיוֹן בְּעָלְמָא בְּכָל עִנְיָן,נה אֲפִלּוּ יֵשׁ מַיִם מְזֻמָּנִים לְפָנָיו:

7 “An unclean place” means any part of the body that is [usually] covered, where there is dried perspiration. Similarly, [washing is required] if one scratched his head, as will be explained in sec. 164[:2]. Similarly, waste from the ears and nose is considered as filth. It is forbidden to touch it in the midst of prayer except through the medium of a garment.

ז מָקוֹם הַמְטֻנָּף הֵם מְקוֹמוֹת הַמְכֻסִּים בָּאָדָם, לְפִי שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהֶם מִלְמוּלֵי זֵעָה.נו וְכֵן אִם חִכֵּךְ הָרֹאשׁ, כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן קס"ד.נז וְכֵן צוֹאַת הָאֹזֶן וְצוֹאַת הָאַף הֵן טִנּוֹפוֹת, וְאָסוּר לִגַּע בָּהֶן בַּתְּפִלָּה כִּי אִם עַל יְדֵי בֶּגֶד:נח

8 After urinating, one should not pray until he waits the time it takes to walk four cubits,24 because of the drops [of urine remaining] in his organ.

One who is praying should not urinate until he waits the time it takes to walk four cubits, for within that time, his mouth is still occupied with his prayer and his lips are murmuring. After he has waited the time it takes to walk four cubits, he may urinate in the place where he prayed. However, it is pious conduct not to urinate within four cubits of [the place in which] one prayed.

ח הַמַּשְׁתִּין לֹא יִתְפַּלֵּל עַד שֶׁיִּשְׁהֶה כְּדֵי הִלּוּךְ ד' אַמּוֹת,נט,24 מִשּׁוּם נִיצוֹצוֹת שֶׁבְּאַמָּתוֹ.ס וְהַמִּתְפַּלֵּל לֹא יַשְׁתִּין עַד שֶׁיִּשְׁהֶה כְּדֵי הִלּוּךְ ד' אַמּוֹת אַחַר סִיּוּם תְּפִלָּתוֹ, שֶׁכָּל ד' אַמּוֹת תְּפִלָּתוֹ שְׁגוּרָה בְּפִיו וּשְׂפָתָיו רוֹחֲשׁוֹת. אֲבָל לְאַחַר שֶׁשָּׁהָה כְּדֵי הִלּוּךְ ד' אַמּוֹת – מֻתָּר לוֹ לְהַשְׁתִּין בְּמָקוֹם שֶׁהִתְפַּלֵּל. וּמִדַּת חֲסִידוּת שֶׁלֹּא לְהַשְׁתִּין בְּתוֹךְ ד' אַמּוֹת שֶׁל תְּפִלָּה:סא

9 After spitting, one should not pray until he waits the time it takes to walk four cubits.25 A person who is praying should not elect to spit for relaxation until he waits the time it takes to walk four cubits. If, however, saliva happens [to collect in his mouth], he may [spit] even in the midst of Shemoneh Esreh, as stated in sec. 97[:2].

ט הָרוֹקֵק לֹא יִתְפַּלֵּל עַד שֶׁיִּשְׁהֶה כְּדֵי הִלּוּךְ ד' אַמּוֹת,סב,25 וְהַמִּתְפַּלֵּל לֹא יָרֹק לִרְצוֹנוֹ מֵחֲמַת טִיּוּלסג עַד שֶׁיִּשְׁהֶה כְּדֵי הִלּוּךְ ד' אַמּוֹת. אֲבָל אִם נִזְדַּמֵּן לוֹ רֹק – מֻתָּרסד אֲפִלּוּ בְּתוֹךְ הַתְּפִלָּה, כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן צ"ז:סה

10 It is desirable to make a donation to charity before prayer,26 as [implied by] the verse,27“I will behold Your face28 with righteousness.”

י טוֹב לִתֵּן צְדָקָה קֹדֶם הַתְּפִלָּה,סו,26 שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר:סז,27 "אֲנִי בְּצֶדֶק אֶחֱזֶה פָנֶיךָ":28