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1503 – Brachos and Tefilos – (Klal 3 Siman 1-4) – Relieving Oneself Before Davening

D'var Halacha
D'var Halacha
1503 - Brachos and Tefilos - (Klal 3 Siman 1-4) - Relieving Oneself Before Davening
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We are continuing Klal 3, beginning siman 1. The pasuk says barchi nafshi es Hashem, vechol keravai es sheim kodsho (Tehillim 103:1), which Chazal understand to mean that even a person’s insides need to bless Hashem. The pasuk is teaching us that not only does the neshama bless Hashem, but the body as well. That being the case, it is appropriate that the body be clean when it does so. In the same way we will learn that it is inappropriate to daven in the presence of tzoah, it is inappropriate to daven with tzoah inside of a person as well. Therefore, when a person wakes up in the morning, they should check to see if they need to relieve themselves before davening.

The Piskei Mishnah Berurah points out (footnote 1) that it is sufficient if a person attempts to use the bathroom, and they do not need to force themselves beyond what is necessary.

 

The Chayei Adam discusses other points regarding the proper decorum in the beis hakisei in the remainder of siman 1.

 

In siman 2, the Chayei Adam discusses the appropriate way to clean oneself to ensure they are appropriately cleaned for davening and learning.

 

In siman 3, the Chayei Adam points out that these halachos do not only apply for gedolim (fecal waste), but to mei raglayim (passing water) as well. In the remainder of the siman, the Chayei Adam discusses the proper decorum for a male relieving himself of mei raglayim

 

Thus, we see that aside from the halacha that a person must clean themselves properly, we also see that one must cleanse themselves of tzoah within their body.

 

In siman 4, the Chayei Adam reiterates the points he made in siman 1 and 3 about proper preparation for davening. The pasuk says hikon likras Elokecha, Yisrael (Amos 4:12), that part of the process of davening is to prepare oneself properly, and shemor raglecha kaasher teileich le’beis Elokim (Koheles 4:17). The Chayei Adam explains that the pasuk teaches us that one should be aware of whether they need to relieve themselves before going to daven. 

Even if one does not need to relieve themselves immediately, if they sense that they will need to relieve themselves in the near future, they should relieve themselves before davening. Even if a person has a slight feeling that they need to use the bathroom, they should not daven, even if they know that they could wait 4 milin (usually translated as 72 minutes; we will discuss later). Regarding kriyas shema and brachos, if a person can wait 4 milin, they can recite the bracha or recite kriyas shema, but they cannot recite shemoneh esrei.

If a person has an urge which, if they wait, will go away, it is not a problem, even for shmoneh esrei. However, if the urge will intensify, they cannot daven shmoneh esrei, even if they think they can wait 4 milin. We will clarify these halachos further, be’ezras Hashem.

 

Summary

  • One must prepare themselves before davening by relieving themselves of any waste.
  • One cannot daven shmoneh esrei if they have an urge to relieve themselves, even if they think they could wait 4 milin. If the urge will go away by waiting, they may daven.
  • One may recite kriyas shema or brachos if they have an urge to relieve themselves, provided they could wait 4 milin before relieving themselves, and certainly if the urge will go away by waiting.

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