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Hebrew Letters in a bathroom


Rabbi Elchanan Lewis

2 Tammuz 5766
I am designing the finishing touches for my new apartment in Jerusalem (have been here since ’79) and have a question about the permissability of something I would like very much to do..... I have cancelled two of the three bathrooms the apartment came with in order to have one glorious, spa-like bathroom...It will be all beautiful marble with a very elegant, relaxing tub set-up. I have worked in Hebrew calligraphy for many years, and would like to have quotes from traditional sources etched into the marble wall tiles and scattered, particularly around the tub. Such a room---particularly the bath---seemed a good place to ruminate....The quotes are mostly from Talmud, but some are psukim, some from rabbanim such as the Ramhal, and some from books such as Mivchar HaPninim. Is there a reason not to have these words of wisdom before me as I unwind in a bubblebath...? A lot of my friends are religious and I don’t want to offend anyone.....
According to Halacha, holy articles can’t be brought in to a toilet or a bathroom, even thoughts of Torah should not be held in such a place; that will disqualify your quotes from entering into your bathroom. (Shulchan Aruch OC 82 2) There are many wise and tranquil quotes that are not of a Talmudic or religious source that can be incorporated into your special spa/bathroom.
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