Mitzvah To Take a Hot Shower on Friday?

Updated: Nov 1, 2021

The Daily Halacha Moment - Showering On Erev Shabbat 🚿


״כל השונה הלכות בכל יום - מובטח לו שהוא בן ‎העולם הבא״ (נידה עג ע״א, מגילה כח:)


“Anyone who studies Halachot every day is guaranteed that he is destined for the world-to-come” (Megilla 28b, Niddah 73a)


Question:

Is it a mitzvah to take a shower on erev Shabbat (Friday)?


Answer:

It is a mitzvah for one to wash his body with warm water on erev Shabbat. If this is not possible, then one should at least wash his hands, feet and face in warm water. [1] If one does not have warm water, then one may even wash himself with water that is room temperature. Cold water, however, should not be used if one wants to fulfill the special mitzvah of showering since the Gemara states warm water. [2] Similarly, it is also a mitzvah for a woman to wash herself before Shabbat. [3]


When washing one’s self, one should begin with washing one’s face, then one’s hands and only afterwards one’s feet. [See Source 4]


One should dress into his Shabbat clothing immediately after washing one’s self on erev Shabbat. Therefore, one should not wash himself closer to the onset of Shabbat and not too early in the day in order to not get dirty again after washing. [5] One who is unable to wash on erev Shabbat should do so the night before or at the very least on Thursday. However, one should try his utmost to wash himself specifically on Friday when it is more evident that one’s intentions are for the honor of Shabbat. [6]


It's good to mention that one should give himself ample time to wash himself before Shabbat and not do so only a few minutes before the onset of Shabbat, in order to not accidentally get carried away and still be showering on Shabbat itself. [7]


Sources:

[1]. Shulchan Aruch 260:1; Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 1, p. 25; Maor Yisrael, vol. 1, p. 85. See also in Ben Ish Chai, Lech Lecha, 2:15 who states that it is a mitzvah to also wash with soap, and that this should be done only after cutting one’s nails.

[2]. Biur Halachah §260, “B’Chamin”; Halachah Berurah, vol. 15, p. 7.

[3]. Mishnah Berurah 260:2; ibid. 262:11; Kaf HaChaim 260:2; Halachah Berurah, vol. 15, p. 3.

[4]. Shaar HaKavanot, Seder Shabbat, Inyan Rechitzat Panav, who brings that this was the custom of the Arizal; Machazik Berachah 260:3; Kaf HaChayim 260:1; Mekabtziel, Lech Lecha 2:38; Yafeh LaLev 260:2.

When showering even during the week, the Mishnah Berurah 2:7 states that just as when putting on one’s clothing, the right side has precedence, so too when taking a shower. After washing one’s head, one should wash his right side first before the left side. Mateh Yehudah, Rabbi Yehudah Ayesh 2:5 states that this halacha is only a stringency and is not an obligation. However, he adds, that one who is stringent is praiseworthy.

[5]. Rama 262:3.

[6]. Birkei Yosef 260:4; Mishnah Berurah 260:5; Halachah Berurah, vol. 15, p. 9; Yalkut Yosef, Shabbat, vol. 1, book 1, p. 698.

[7]. Mishnah Berurah, 260:1; ibid., 262:11; Aruch HaShulchan 260:6; Halachah Berurah, vol. 15, p. 11.


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