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    Jewellery in the bathroom – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. My husband gave me a necklace with the Hebrew words, Dodi Li (“My beloved is mine”). May I wear it in the bathroom?

    A. Religious objects and Biblical verses, even without the Divine name, must be treated with respect and in general must not be taken into the bathroom.

    Maimonides ruled that a tallit with a b’rachah or Biblical verse on the collar must not be worn in the bathroom (Shulchan Aruch,Yoreh De’ah 284:2). One should not wear t’fillin in the bathroom unless they have two coverings (Mishnah B’rurah on Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De’ah 282:4).

    The whole or part of a verse (e.g. Sh’ma Yisra’el) must not be taken into the bathroom unless it is a phrase like your Dodi li (the source is Shir HaShirim 1:13) which is a common expression of love.

    More problematical is Mitzpah (“a watchtower”, which is part of a phrase, “The Lord watch between me and you” (Gen. 31:49), though it could be argued that some people do not realise that it is part of a Biblical passage.

    If a person has an amulet bearing the letter heh, which is a symbol of the Divine name, they should not wear it to the bathroom.

    An associated issue is the question of how to dispose of religious texts which as a general rule must be placed in a g’nizah (storage receptacle the contents of which will be buried in due course).

    Most views are strict and say that any Torah material in English – even if the name of God is not spelt out in it – must not be discarded in the garbage, etc., though if it has not been used for prayer, study, etc., some allow it to be placed in a paper recycling bin. This applies if you print out OzTorah.

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