Wednesday, April 20, 2005

When I Threw In The Towel

At the beginning of each year I gingerly turn the pages of the calendar for the coming year to see when and how the 'Yomim Tovim' fall. The primary purpose of this ritual is to determine any occurrence of a 'Three Day Yom Tov'.

There are lots of things that make a Three-Day-Yom-Tov an uncomfortable experience; for me though it is the horror of facing three days of festivities, where showering or taking a proper bath is considered sinful.

I have to shower each evening. If I don't I cant sleep. By the time morning comes I am already feeling awful. The only thing I can think of is having a bath. Things get progressively worse until I can barely function. I feel like a soul that has somehow been placed in the wrong body.

Till recently I was pretty pedantic about keeping Halocho. Taking a proper bath on a Three-Day-Yom-Tov was just out of the question. I can only describe it as hell; dragging around my greasy body from one meal to the next and from one Tefillah to the next. Any spirituality I had felt on the first day of Yom Tov was more than cancelled out by my feelings on the next couple of days. How could G-d allow this I asked myself. I was a comforted somewhat by being pretty certain that soon when Moshiach comes he would permit it.( Chazal in Roman times outlawed bathing on Yom Tov. The Torah itself is more liberal.)

Over the last couple of years I have been going through a metamorphosis. I do not treat Halocho like I once did. Slowly but surely the repertoire of sinful acts that I commit grows. The first big really bad sin I committed was showering on a Yom Tov; hot water yes but not my hair and only liquid soap. The next time I was even more daring and washed my hair.

Over this coming Yom Tov I shall be really bad and very sinful. I shall take a bath whenever I need. I will wash my hair properly and I will even use a bar-of-soap. If I must I might even switch on the boiler.

Wishing you all a clean and hygienic three-day-marathon of a Yom Tov.


Blogger Shlomo said...


I completely agree with you on this one and felt very much the same when I was frumm. I did go the mikveh everyday, but would take a cold shower at home if I felt dirty enough.

The worst part comes when standing in a crowd of two or three hundred chasidim who haven't showered or even bothered to rinse off the stench. That became reason number 1 why I switched from davening in the big shuls to daving in the shtibelach. It doesn't smell as bad.

6:45 AM  
Blogger Shlomo said...


6:46 AM  
Blogger Circle in Square said...

What did your rebetzin say?

7:15 PM  
Blogger egrob said...

Is that really why you threw in the towel? it seems like a very shallow reason to me. I commiserate and empathize with you as I am a regular shower taker myself and understand the difficulty that a 3-day Yom Tov presents. However, I believe that if your belief system was stronger, you would not be throwing in the towel for this reason. This appears to be a symptom rather than the cause of the problem. I would venture that the cause of your turning away and engaging in "prohibited" acts is due to a lack of inner fulfillment. Establishing a strong inner connection will give you the sense of purpose to perserver and perfrom those obligations even when they are difficult for you.

As you know, sin leads to sin... Engaging in these prohibitions can lead you down a very slippery slope - one that is very difficult to extricate yourself from.

11:36 AM  
Blogger BaltJew said...

There are many heters allowing showering on yom tov. You can even do part of the body then do another part (leave an arm outside the shower at all times).

1:00 PM  

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