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1511 – Brachos and Tefilos – (Klal 3 Siman 6) – Tzoah 2 – Introduction 2 – Smell, Visibility, 4 Amos

D'var Halacha
D'var Halacha
1511 - Brachos and Tefilos - (Klal 3 Siman 6) - Tzoah 2 - Introduction 2 - Smell, Visibility, 4 Amos

 We are continuing in siman 6. The Chayei Adam will address many other points in future simanim, but we will clarify some of these points now.

 We learned in the previous shiur that there is a concept of graf shel re’i, something which is used to contain tzoah and is considered tzoah even when there is nothing inside of it. The poskim discuss diapers. Diapers are made for the purpose of containing tzoah, so they should be problematic even when they are empty. However, the poskim explain that since they are made to be used only once, they do not reach the level of disgust to be considered graf shel re’i, and are not a problem. Conversely, once the diaper itself is no longer considered graf shel re’i, the diaper can function as the cover to the actual waste of the child. (However, if the tzoah smells, it creates a complication, as we will see further.) 

In siman 7, the Chayei Adam writes that when an ashpah (an area used for discarding tzoah and other items which is decaying and smelling) or mayim seruchim (sewers/gutters/ditches on the sides of the roads which often collected tzoah and other liquids), become putrid, they have the same halacha as tzoah. Therefore, the Chayei Adam cautions that when one recites kiddush levana, they must be sure that they are four amos away from these places, and that there are no such places in front of a person as far as they can see. 

In this last point, the Chayei Adam touches on a machlokes. The Torah says that one’s machaneh should be kadosh, which refers to one’s personal machaneh. This machaneh is assumed to refer to the four amos around a person, which is the general amount of space a person occupies. If there is tzoah within those four amos, it is as though there is tzoah in their machaneh, and it is problematic. If the tzoah is in front of a person, as long as it is outside of four amos, one could argue it is not an issue. This is the opinion of the Rashba. 

However, the Rosh disagrees, and holds that the pasuk regarding ervah indicates that ervah visible to a person is problematic, even if it is beyond four amos. The Rosh holds that we learn from the halachos of ervah to the halachos of tzoah in this regard, and the Chayei Adam paskens in accordance with the Rosh. 

The Chayei Adam clarifies that the issue extends to any one of these places which are in front of a person, even if they are off to the side slightly. If they are fully to one’s side, such that they are not within one’s direct vision, they are not a problem, provided they are more than four amos away from the person.

 The Chayei Adam further clarifies that even if the place is more than four amos away (sides and back), or not within one’s eyesight (front), it will still be an issue if it can be smelled. For example, the smell from mayim seruchim permeated over a large area, so one would have to distance themselves until they can no longer smell them, and then add four amos. 

The Chayei Adam writes that if one cannot find a clean place to recite kiddush levana, it is preferable to refrain from reciting kiddush levana completely. The Chayei Adam adds that Chazal give a bracha to a person who refrains from reciting kiddush levana in such a situation.


  • Not cannot speak or think torah or tefillah in the presence of tzoah, mavuos hametunafim, or an item which is considered graf shel re’i.
    • The presence of tzoah is considered the four amos to the sides and behind a person, and as far as one’s eyesight in front of them. 
    • If the tzoah smells, one must distance themselves until they no longer smell it, and then add four amos.
  • It is sufficient if the tzoah is covered even by a temporary covering. Diapers are considered a temporary covering rather than graf shel re’i


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