Saturday, May 3, 2014

Davening with a dirty diaper nearby


May I daven in a room with a baby whose diaper is dirty?

We communicate with G-d when we daven, and Devarim 23:14 states that a space in which excrement is found is unfit for the presence of G-d. Therefore, one may not daven in a space containing excrement or smelling like it, or in a room containing a child's potty.

If the offending material is covered, then one may daven in that room, so long as one remains four amot (about seven feet) from a place in which one could smell it. If the material is covered so well that no smell emerges at all, then one may daven in the room without any concerns.

Three other leniencies are relevant:
  • If a baby is under the age of 3 months, then one may daven in the same room as its exposed dirty diaper.
  • One who wishes to daven in a room with a baby is not obligated to check the baby's diaper first.
  • One may daven in a room containing used cloth diapers which have been laundered.

(Berachos 25b; Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 76, 77, 79, 81-83; Ishei Yisrael 51:4, 51:5, 51:7, 52:1-2; Rivivos Ephraim 1:70; v'Zos haBerachah Chapter 16)

Have a great day,


  1. May one daven in a room (or even have a mezuzah affixed to a room) where soiled diapers are normally disposed (graf shel rei), even if there is no soiled diapers there currently and there is no smell?