Toilets and the Environment: How the Jews See Them

Commercial Toilet

It’s customary among most of us to be very privy when it comes to how we use and perceive sanitation in general and toilet in particular. We consider the subject as very intimate. But for the Jews, it’s a commonly discussed topic with etiquettes and traditions passed on to the younger generation.

How the Jews See Toilets

We are definitely finicky about our best toilets 2015. We want them to be very cleaned and smell fresh. Only when these two are met that we can safely say the toilets are safe to use.

For the Jewish, however, some of their toilet requirements and practices are anchored to their religious beliefs. A long time ago, it’s natural for anyone who entered the bathroom to say a prayer to the angels that they may guide the doors and keep them safe.

Some of them also believed that the impurity of the toilet extends to their spirituality—that is, it’s very important that the spiritual aspect of the person is not influenced or affected by the unhealthy atmosphere in the toilet. As such, the Jewish people are not allowed to enter bathrooms along with holy objects. The rabbis should not put on their garb.

The Jewish also performs asher yatzar after using the bathroom. It’s a special blessing that has to be recited after excreting wastes, whether it’s urine or fecal matter. In fact, this prayer is so important it can also be found in their prayer books.

As with all ideas about impurity, the Jews see it very important they can get rid of any “dirt” inside the body. Constipation, for example, should be avoided as much as possible. Thus, asher yatzar is a form of gratitude for having been able to eliminate constipation and get rid of these toxic wastes. It is also a request for continued good health.

The blessing comes right after hand washing. Those who practice it, however, should wash their hands outside the bathroom unless water is available only in the inside. The final process of hand washing like drying must be accomplished outside.

Toilets, moreover, are considered as venues of function only. This means that other than excreting wastes, toilets have no other use. It’s therefore not encouraged to talk or socialize inside.

Extending Toward the Environment

The high level of religiosity that is applied to sanitation and toilet use is also the same intensity they display when it comes to the environment. Judaism is one of the leading religions that currently champion the fight against climate change through different campaigns or initiatives.

This dedication is also rooted on some of their beliefs about Earth, environment, and sustainability. For example, according to religion, God created the universe and that humans play a very huge role in taking care of the environment since we are the only species that have the power to destroy and create. The Torah also prevents the Jews from unnecessary wasting of resources as all they own come from God and thus must be taken care of.