[Avodah] Showering During the 9 Days

Prof. L. Levine llevine at stevens.edu
Thu Aug 8 07:50:08 PDT 2019

 From https://ohr.edu/this_week/insights_into_halacha/5228

Contemporary Consensus

This 'Shower Exclusion' during the Nine Days for hygienic purposes
is ruled decisively by the vast majority of contemporary authorities
including Rav Yosef Chaim Zonnenfeld zt"l, Rav Yechiel Michel Tukachinsky
zt"l, Rav Moshe Feinstein zt"l, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt"l, Rav
Yaakov Kamenetsky zt"l, the Klausenberger Rebbe zt"l, Rav Yosef Shalom
Elyashiv zt"l, Rav Shmuel Halevi Wosner zt"l, Rav Ben Tzion Abba Shaul
zt"l, Rav Ovadiah Yosef zt"l, Rav Mordechai Eliyahu zt"l, Rav Yisrael
Halevi Belsky zt"l, Rav Efraim Greenblatt zt"l, the Sha'arim Metzuyanim
B'Halachah, and Rav Moshe Sternbuch.[16]

Conversely, and although there are differing reports of his true opinion,
it must be noted that the Chazon Ishzt"l, the Steipler Gaon zt"l, as
well as Rav Binyamin Zilber zt"l and Rav Chaim Kanievsky, are quoted as
being very stringent with any showering during the Nine Days, even for
hygienic reasons, and even while acknowledging that most other Rabbanim
were mattir in specific circumstances.[17]

Additionally, and quite importantly, this 'Shower Exclusion' is by
no means a blanket hetter. There are several stipulations many of
these poskim cite, meant to ensure that the shower will be strictly
for cleanliness, minimizing enjoyment and mitigating turning it into
'pleasure bathing':

1. There has to be a real need: i.e. to remove excessive sweat,
perspiration, grime, or dirt. (In other words, 'to actually get clean!').

2. One should take a quick shower in water as cold as one can tolerate
(preferably cold and not even lukewarm).

3. It is preferable to wash one limb at a time and not the whole body
at once. (This is where an extendable shower head comes in handy). If
only one area is dirty, one should only wash that area of the body.

4. One shouldn't use soap or shampoo unless necessary, meaning if
a quick rinse in water will do the job, there's no reason to go for
overkill. Obviously, if one needs soap or shampoo to get clean he may
use it.

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