Mezuzah Maven

For the week ending 26 January 2019 / 20 Shevat 5779

Ablutions Inside a Bedroom

by Rabbi Ze'ev Kraines
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Q: I am a rabbi in an outreach community. A newly-religious family asked me to do a “house call” to see which of their doors need a mezuzah. I discovered that their master bedroom contains a bath, shower and a toilet, without any separating walls. Does this turn the entire area into a bathroom and disqualify the bedroom from mezuzah placement?

A: No. A bedroom is a multi-purpose room. The fact that people bathe and change in it does not turn it into a “bath-house,” and it is therefore obligated to have a mezuzah. Likewise, even though the room contains a toilet, it also has many other uses and is therefore obligated.

Moreover, some authorities hold that many of the halachot regarding toilets are not applicable to our modern flush mechanisms, where the bowl remains clean afterwards.

Nevertheless, in order to recite Shema or berachot within four amot of the toilet, it should be covered fully with a cloth, even if it is totally clean and odorless.

Since people sometimes undress in the room, the mezuzah should have an opaque cover, and if it is inside a bedroom of a married couple, it should have another covering aside from the opaque one.

§ Sources: Sources: Rema Y.D. 286:2; Sedei Chemed, Mem:119; Mishnah Berurah 83:13; Magen Avraham 40:2. Cf. Chazon Ish O.C. 17:4; Agur B’ohalecha 32:4:5

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