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  • Halacha
  • Etiquette

Radio in the Bathroom

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Various Rabbis

Tishrei 4, 5774
Question
In an answer about radio in the bathroom it said a person should turn off the radio if a Torah program comes on when he is in the bathroom. You could be in the bathroom for many things, taking a shower, shaving, washing your hands, dressing, etc. in addition to using the facilities. I could understand your position if he was simply using the facilities, but I see no reason to turn it off for any of the other reasons.
Answer
Shalom and thanks for your question, it helps to clarify this subject. The Shulchan Aruch (83, 2) writes that if a room was built to be used as a bathroom, we should not read Shema in that room even if it has not been used yet. This rule stems from the fact that in the past, bathrooms were dirty and as soon as a certain place is intended to be a bathroom, it isn’t appropriate to say in it words of Kedusha (holiness). It is important to note that we refer to the entire room as a place which isn’t appropriate for Kedusha and not only to the toilet itself. Today bathrooms are clean, but since they aren’t always completely clean, the original Halacha applies. Sometimes the bathroom has also a shower and is used also for other things (like shaving, brushing teeth or putting on makeup). In these cases and when the toilet is clean, some opinions permit thinking about Torah ideas while doing other things. Nevertheless, because the room is used as a toilet and sometimes is not clean, the radio should be turned off when the content is of Torah. Rabbi Yisrael Wende
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