This website is dedicated L’ilui Nishmas R’ Shmuel Yitzchak ben R’ Moshe A”H ר’ שמואל יצחק בן ר’ משה ע”ה

 We are beginning siman 15, where the Chayei Adam continues his definition of place as it regards tzoah.

The Chayei Adam writes that if the tzoah is in an area which meets the criteria of an independent reshus hayachid (10 tefachim high, 4 x 4 tefachim wide), or if a person is in such a place and the tzoah is in the regular room, if the person cannot see nor smell the tzoah, it is muttar to recite devarim shebikedusha. Even if laterally the person is within four amos, since it is a halachically separate reshus, it is considered that the tzoah is not in the person’s machaneh. If one can smell it, the tzoah has joined the person in their machaneh (shiur 1517). We apply a similar thought process to sight of the tzoah.

The Chayei Adam adds that in the case of a different reshus, even if one can see it, if they shut their eyes it is muttar. We will clarify this point further. The Chayei Adam explains that there is no issue of vehaya machanecha kadosh, because the tzoah is in a different reshus. The other potential issue, the issur of ervas davar, is avoided because they cannot see it (see shiur 1502 for more about these issurim). 

The Chayei Adam clarifies that the Elyah Rabba disagrees, and holds that it is not sufficient to shut one’s eyes. In order to avoid an issue of seeing the tzoah, there must be a block between the person and the tzoah, such as different elevations, a cover, etc. The Piskei Mishnah Berurah writes that one should follow the Elyah Rabba lechatchilla, and b’shaas hadechak, if one cannot turn their body around, they can rely on the Chayei Adam. We see that even better than relying on the Chayei Adam, the Mishnah Berurah agrees that it is preferable to turn one’s body, because it is a greater avoidance of the tzoah. 

An example of this halacha is someone in a car who sees tzoah outside. The car is its own reshus from the tzoah. Even if the tzoah is within four amos, if the person can turn their body, or at least their face, it is preferable. If not, one can rely on the Chayei Adam.

 

Summary

  • If tzoah is in a different reshus, even if that different reshus is within four amos of a person, the tzoah is not a problem, provided they cannot see or smell it.
  • There is a machlokes whether one can avoid seeing tzoah by simply shutting their eyes. Lechatchilla one should not rely on shutting their eyes, but if they have no choice, and are unable to turn their body or head, they may rely on it.

We are beginning siman 14. The Chayei Adam will discuss many points which we have already touched on.

The Chayei Adam writes that one must distance themselves four amos away from wherever the tzoah is found. He explains that the pasuk says vehaya machanecha kadosh, and Chazal understood that a person’s machaneh is considered the four amos surrounding them, because it 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. In addition, Chazal added a chumra that if the tzoah is in front of a person, they must distance themselves to the point that the tzoah is out of their eyesight. 

The Chayei Adam will clarify later whether this last point, regarding tzoah in front of a person, is a din deoraysa or derabanan. He will also clarify that if the tzoah is in a clearly distinct and different reshus, it will not apply. For example, if one is on the road and there is tzoah further down the road, it is a problem. However, if one is on the road and can see tzoah in the house, it may not be assur at all, depending on the machlokes Rosh and Rashba we discussed previously (shiur 1511). 

 The Chayei Adam writes that the sewage canals/gutters, which are in the reshus harabbim but on the side, are a machlokes. If they are considered to be on one’s side, one only needs to distance themselves four amos. If they are considered to be in front, one would need to distance themselves until it is out of one’s eyesight. 

The Chayei Adam now clarifies the definition of “in front” and “to the side” as it applies to these halachos. He writes that anything one sees in their range of vision by looking straight ahead is considered in front of a person according to all. If one has to turn their head to see it, it is a machlokes whether it is considered in front or to the side. The Chayei Adam brings both opinions, and does not give a final psak. However, he does add that if there is tzoah to the side which is easily visible, it is considered in front.  

The Chayei Adam writes that not only must one distance from the tzoah, but from the smell of the tzoah as well, as we have learned previously (shiur 1517). 

Summary

  • Not cannot speak or think torah or tefillah in the presence of tzoah.
    • 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.

 We have finished siman 13. We learned that the Chayei Adam suggested that if tzoah is being moved, one may only have to distance four amos from it. The reason one could be lenient would be because its non-fixed state makes it a reiach she’ein bo ikar.  

To review, Chazal understood that the issur deoraysa of tzoah is not only the actual tzoah, but its smell as well. Therefore, the space of the physical tzoah expands to wherever the smell goes. Thus, regardless of whether one can smell the item, if it can be smelled by others, Chazal understood that the item itself extends until the end of the smell, so one must distance from it. 

However, when the reich ra is a reiach she’ein bo ikar, the actual tzoah does not extend anywhere, because there is no actual source item to extend. 

There is a practical application to the difference between a reiach she’yeish bo ikar and ein bo ikar, which is when one cannot smell the smell, or if one sprays something in the air to temporarily overpower the smell. When it is a reiach she’yeish bo ikar, it is still assur to recite devarim shebikedusha, as it as though there is actual tzoah right in front of the person. If it is a reiach she’ein bo ikar, it is muttar, because the source item does not extend. As long as one cannot smell it, it is muttar to recite devarim shebikedusha. This idea is similar to the person who does not smell. 

We need to discuss another few points. We learned that one must distance not only from tzoah, but from any bad smells which emanate from decay. When it comes to a natural bad smell, if the smell is due to decay, it is considered equivalent to tzoah. For example, the natural decay of a carcass is equivalent to tzoah. The Mishnah Berurah discusses a butcher shop in which fats and other leftovers are not refrigerated and begin to decay. He also discusses a certain type of jelled fish made out of fish fat, which gives out a very bad smell while being processed. If it is a smell which people generally find disgusting or repulsive, it is considered tzoah. Fermentation of certain foods can fall under this category; for example, the Mishnah Berurah writes that there are certain points in the fermentation of wine which smell repulsive to most people. The wine has a din tzoah at that point. 

 Rav Zilberstein discusses the smell of sweat on a person’s body, and understands that it does not have a din of tzoah, because it does not come about through decay. However, if a person’s socks smell, the smell is the product of an element of a reaction between the sweat and the socks, which is similar to the decay process. Therefore, he suggests it may be necessary to distance from such a smell.

In siman 14, the Chayei Adam will discuss the distance one must place between themselves and tzoah.

Summary

  • One must distance from tzoah which has a reiach ra until they no longer smell the tzoah, plus four amos.
  • If the reiach ra is a reiach she’ein bo ikar, one only needs to distance themselves until they no longer smell it.
  • Any natural bad smell which is the result of decay is considered tzoah and falls under these halachos. Even if the bad smell is temporary, and will eventually turn into something good or desirable, it is considered tzoah for the time it has the bad smell.

 We are beginning siman 13, continuing the halachos of reiach ra (bad smells). The Chayei Adam writes that reiach ra is only an issue when the source of the smell is still present. If the item has been removed, and the smell is still dissipating, the smell is considered a reiach she’ein bo ikar. To explain, the problem we have been discussing until now regards the issur deoraysa of reciting divrei kedusha while adjacent to tzoah. Chazal expanded the concept to when the tzoah is adjacent to a person, even through sight and  smell. They explained that is also considered that the tzoah is in your place. Since we see that the issur is based on presence, when there is no presence, there is no problem. That is a case of reiach sheyesh bo ikar. 

Now we will see how reiach she’ein bo ikar, which is derabbanan, differs.

 Normally we know that one must distance from tzoah until they can no longer smell it, plus an additional four amos (shiur 1310). Over here, where there is no actual source item (reiach she’ein bo ikar), one only needs to distance from the smell and does not need the additional four amos. 

An example includes a person passing gas. The gas is produced through the decaying of the body digesting food. Since the food is still in the body, it is considered that the source of the smell is not yet in this world, so the gas is considered reiach she’ein bo ikar. Thus, one only needs to distance from the smell itself, and not an additional four amos. 

We will learn a unique heter when it comes to learning. Chazal understood that if people learning would need to distance themselves from gas, it would curtail people’s ability to learn. Since distancing from reiach she’ein bo ikar is a din derabanan, they enacted that only the person who passed the gas must distance from it, but others do not have to interrupt their learning. However, for davening, others must distance themselves from the smell as well.  

The Chayei Adam continues, and writes that we learned that if tzoah is visible, one must distance from it appropriately, as we have learned until now. He suggests that if the tzoah is moving (i.e., is being moved), a distance of four amos would be sufficient. This is a machlokes, and the Chayei Adam does not give a final psak. The Mishnah Berurah points out that this question is a safeik deoraysa, so one should be machmir lechatchilla. Thus, for example, if one davened in its presence, they would repeat shema, but they would not repeat the brachos due to the safeik of a bracha levatala.

Summary

  • One must distance from tzoah which has a reiach ra until they no longer smell the tzoah, plus four amos.
  • If the reiach ra is a reiach she’ein bo ikar, one only needs to distance themselves until they no longer smell it.

 

 We are beginning siman 12. The Chayei Adam writes that the same way one must distance from tzoah, one must distance from bad smells as well. It is similar to tzoah, as the same way one finds tzoah repulsive, bad smells are found to be repulsive as well. However, the Chayei Adam will point out that we are specifically referring to bad smells which come about through the process of decay,  similar to tzoah. Tzoah breaks down (which is similar to the decaying process) through the body, which leads to the bad smell, and it is from similar bad smells (i.e., where there is decay) which one must distance. 

A natural bad smell, which did not come about through the process of decay, does not require distance. The Mishnah talks about lighting Shabbos candles with an oil called itran. Although it has a bad smell, there is no chiyuv to distance from it, because it is the natural smell of the chemical. (Practically, we do not use it for Shabbos, as we will see below, but there is no issue with reciting torah or davening around it.) The Mishnah Berurah points out that it is an issur deoraysa to speak or think in torah or davening around such a smell.

The Chayei Adam adds that even if one is sick and cannot smell, they must still distance from the smell, in the same way that a blind person must distance from tzoah even though they cannot see it. Similarly, one must distance from it at night, even though they cannot see it. 

The Chayei Adam continues, and writes that one must distance from a bad smell specifically when the smell comes from decay, as we mentioned above. The Chayei Adam mentions the itran oil that we discussed previously. The Mishnah says one cannot use itran oil, because it is not kavod Shabbos. The Yerushalmi explains that the Mishnah specifically states that it should not be used because it is not kavod shabbos, to avoid someone thinking that the issue is the need to distance from the smell. Rather, the Mishnah specifies that the issue is kavod Shabbos because there is no issue with the smell, since it is natural and not the result of decay. 

 

Summary

One must distance from a bad smell which comes as the result of decay in the same way they must distance from tzoah. 

 

 We are continuing in siman 11, discussing the walls of a beis hakisei. The Chayei Adam writes that even if the beis hakisei has not been used yet, once a room has been designated as a beis hakisei, it becomes assur to learn or daven in that room. For example, if one is building a house, and designates a room to be a beis hakisei, even if they have not yet installed the toilet or plumbing, the room already assumes the status of a beis hakisei. (This issur is derabanan.) The Mishnah Berurah writes that although it is assur to learn or daven in such a room, hirhur (thinking in learning) is muttar in that room, as opposed to a beis hakisei which is already in use, where hirhur is assur.  

On the other hand, if one has a room which they no longer wish to use as a beis hakisei, in addition to removing the toilet, etc., from the room, they have to do a deliberate action to change the room, or else it maintains its status as a beis hakisei. 

It is important to note that if one is renovating their home and replacing toilets, if they place the old toilet outside or on the lawn for a garbage pickup, people cannot speak or think in Torah within four amos (if it is to the side or behind them) or within eyesight (if it is in front of them), as we have learned previously (shiur 1511). Similarly, people must be aware how these distances apply to portable toilets.

 The Chayei Adam moves on to discuss the halachos of a merchatz. These halachos do not apply as much nowadays, with the exception of a mikvah. If the mikvah has showers, the heat generated combines with the zuhama (sweat and body grime) of the people present, and the room has the halachic equivalent of a beis hakisei

The Chayei Adam writes that there are generally three areas to a merchatz. The first is the outer area, where people are fully clothed. In such an area, one is allowed to think and speak in torah as usual. In the innermost area, where people are not clothed at all, it is assur to speak or think in torah. In the middle area, some people are clothed and some are not. In that area, it is assur to speak in learning, but one may think in learning, even in front of ervah. Additionally, one can greet another person with the greeting Shalom. Shalom is one of Hashem’s names, and generally cannot be spoken in any of the places where it is assur to think or speak in learning or davening. However, the Chayei Adam holds that in the middle area of a merchatz it is muttar. 

The Chayei Adam explains that it is muttar to think in learning in the middle area of a merchatz because, unlike tzoah, when it comes to ervah, the issur is only to speak in learning. The pasuk says v’lo yireh bechas ervas davar, which Chazal learn to mean that its only dibbur which is assur, but hirhur is muttar. 

Although the Chayei Adam writes that it is muttar to say Shalom in this middle area, arguably one should refrain from saying Shalom directly in front of someone who is not clothed. 

 The Chayei Adam next discusses the issue of reiach rah, a bad smell, which we will discuss in the upcoming shiurim, be’ezras Hashem.

 Summary

  • Once a room has been designated as a beis hakisei, it assumes the halachic status of one, even if it has not yet been used for its designated purpose. However, one may think in learning in that room until it is actually used as a beis hakisei
  • If one has a room which they no longer wish to use as a beis hakisei, they must do a deliberate action to remove the room’s status.
  • There are three areas to a merchatz:
    • The inner room, where people are unclothed. It is assur to talk or think in learning;
    • The outer room, where people are clothed. It is muttar to talk or think in learning or davening;
    • The middle room, where some people are clothed and some are not. It is assur to speak in learning, but muttar to think in learning. It is also muttar to greet someone with Shalom, but preferably not directly in front of ervah.
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