Ask the Rabbi

  • Halacha
  • Etiquette

Reading in bathroom


Rabbi Jonathan Blass

3 Av 5763
Dear Rabbi: 1. Can one bring a magazine (or a newspaper or a book) into a bathroom (with a toilet) if it contains the word "God" in it? 2. If not, do you have to check every magazine for that before bringing it into the bathroom? What if from experience you notice that the particular magazine usually does say the word "God" in it? What if you have never read that magazine before? 3. If you are reading a magazine in the bathroom and come across the word "God" do you have to immediately take it out of the bathroom? 4. What about the word "Shalom"? Could you include any sources in your response.
You needn’t worry about there being G-d’s name in the paper unless you have actually seen it there (Shu”t Iggrot Moshe Yoreh Deah I 172-173). Even if you discover it, since there are poskim who write that G-d's name in a foreign language is not sanctified (Shach Yoreh Deah 179,11; Mishna Berura 85 10) you needn't run out of the bathroom. If you have seen G-d’s name in a newspaper in a Jewish context, the paper can still be thrown away in the garbage but not in a way that shows scorn or derision (don’t put it next to liquid or smelly garbage; throw it out with other papers).
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