Going to the Bathroom

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Washing Hands after Going to the Bathroom

See Activities That Require Netilat Yadayim

Appropriate Behavior in a Bathroom

  1. Men should not talk while in the bathroom, if however one has not begun to relieve oneself yet and there is a great need to talk it is permissible, however after one has begun to relieve oneself one may not speak at all. It is however permissible for women to speak to one another in the bathroom. [1]
  2. If one entered the bathroom for a purpose other than relieving oneself it is permissible to talk in the bathroom.[2]
  3. In the days of Chazal, the ruling was that men shouldn't reveal more than a Tefach from behind and two Tefachim in front and women shouldn't reveal more than a Tefach behind themselves and nothing in front.[3] However, in our days when our bathrooms are private, one should still be modest and cover oneself appropriately as much as possible but is allowed to and should take into consideration not to dirty one's clothes, the toilet, or the bathroom.[4]
  4. One may not think divrei Torah in the bathroom, rather when one is there one should think about one's mundane obligations and calculations so as not to come to think about Torah. On Shabbat, when one should not think about one's business one should think about wonderous things one saw or heard.[5]

Bringing Food into a Bathroom

  1. One should not eat in a bathroom. [6]
  2. Initially one should be careful not to bring food into the bathroom even if the food is wrapped. If wrapped food was brought into the bathroom it is still permissible to eat it when outside the bathroom again. If one has food in one's pocket and has no where to leave it one may enter the bathroom with it in one's pocket. If unwrapped food such as fruit was brought in the bathroom, it is proper to wash it off three times. However if that is impossible it is permissible after the fact to eat it.[7]
  3. One may bring medicines into the bathroom and leave them in a medicine cabinet.[8]


  1. Rama 3:2, Mishna Brurah 3:4. See BeYitzchak Yikra (3:4, by Rav Nevinsal) who writes that it is always preferable not to speak in the bathroom even if there is a great need, however for women it is permissible and it is not even preferable to be stringent.
  2. Piskei Teshuvot 3:3
  3. Shulchan Aruch 3:4
  4. Piskei Teshuvot 3:2
  5. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 4:4
  6. Bear Hetiev 3:2
  7. Yalkut Yosef 3:23,Or Letzion vol. 1:1, 2:1:9, Halacha Berurah 4:13 & 50.
  8. Halachically Speaking (vol 5, issue 3) quoting Sh"t Bear Moshe 8:41, Sh"t Rivevot Efraim 1:8(2), 2:6, Teshuvot VeHanhagot 1:11. See also Sh"t Tzitz Eliezer 14:2.