Monday, February 25, 2008

Where is Hashem in the Bathroom?


Check out MY ANSWER to the following question from A Simple Jew:

A Simple Jew asks:

Upon hearing my son's question, I immediately thought about this story regarding the Shapira brothers sitting in a prison cell next unable to daven since they were sitting next to pail full of human waste.

"Why can't Hashem go into our bathroom?",

my three year-old asked me as I tucked him into bed.
He was obviously thinking about why I stopped him from saying brochos and singing other tefillos while sitting in the bathtub earlier that night. At that time, I explained to him that we don't say brochos or say Hashem's name in the bathroom because there is a toilet in this room it is not a clean place. Obviously he misconstrued my explanation to mean that Hashem was prevented from entering a bathroom.

While Halacha instructs us not to even think about Hashem or His Torah in a bathroom, if "Hashem is truly everywhere" as Uncle Moishy sings, is He still present but heavily concealed in a bathroom, brothel, or a place of idolatry?

Dixie Yid answers...

-Dixie Yid

(Picture courtesy of blogs.orlandosentinel.com)

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3 comments:

AF said...

Ah, the good old question of tzimtzum ki-pshutoh vs. tzimtzum loh ki-pshutoh.

For analysis of different opinions and sources of discussion, see here: http://www.sichosinenglish.org/books/letters-rebbe-1/04.htm

By the way, the story with the pale and prison was with Reb Zushe of Anipoli and Reb Elimelech of Lizhensk.

AF said...

"While Halacha instructs us not to even think about Hashem or His Torah in a bathroom, if "Hashem is truly everywhere" as Uncle Moishy sings, is He still present but heavily concealed in a bathroom, brothel, or a place of idolatry?"

Depends what you mean by "Hashem". Which level? If you want to go all the way into Atzmus, then the bathroom doesn't even exist -- ein od milvado. On the levels below, there is a concealment (from us), but it has nothing to do with the bathroom.

The prohibition is for our sake, not for Hashem's sake (kivyachol).

DixieYid said...

AF,

thank you for that sicha from the Rebbe. I admit that I was holding my breath a little bit and was relieved to see which way he taught was the propper one, i.e. that tzimtzum means only "concealment" and that only Hashem's light is concealed, but not Hashem b'atzmuso, whatever that would mean. I've been telling over the idea this way, since that's the way I've learned from my Rebbe. Thank you!

-Dixie Yid