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    Summertime is the
    perfect season to
    beat the heat by
    taking a refreshing
    plunge in the pool.
    But when Shabbat
    rolls around, things
    get a bit more complicated. Can we still take a
    dip? Let’s explore the poolside puzzle on
    There are a few important aspects that we
    need to talk about when it comes to the sacred
    day of Shabbat.
    a. The prohibition on swimming in the river
    and pools.
    b. Carrying droplets in Karmelit (semi-public
    c. Swimming with bathing suit in the water.
    d. Gzerat Habalanim; The Decree Against
    Entering Hot Water.
    e. Getting into the water.
    f. The spirit of Shabbat.
    Let’s go through each point:
    a. The prohibition on swimming in the
    river and pools.
    In the Mishnah (ב,לו ביצה(, it is taught that one

    should not swim in the water to prevent the
    swimmer from creating a raft. Similarly, the
    Shulchan Aruch rules (ס״ב שלט סימן(:’ We do
    not swim in water, even in a pool in the yard,
    because the water can overflow and thus
    resemble a river. If there is a barrier around the
    pool, it is permitted, because even if the water
    overflows, the barrier forces it back, so it is
    more like a container, and there is no reason to
    decree out of concern that one will make a
    We learned from those words that if a pool has
    a surrounding barrier, a person is allowed to
    swim in it. Reb Moishe Feinstein writes (אגר״מ
    all almost nowadays that) אבה״ע ח״ב סימן יג
    pools have a barrier that is higher than the
    water level; hence swimming in such a pool is
    Also we need to consider that the above is
    stated only if one intends to swim, meaning to
    lift and raise his legs off the ground (משנ״ב
    סק״ב(. However, entering the water without
    swimming is not prohibited due to this decree,
    even if the pool does not have a surrounding

    b. Carrying droplets in Karmelit (semi-
    public domain).

    If the pool is in a karmelit (semi-public
    domain), there is a prohibition of transferring

    water droplets remaining on one’s body after
    washing, as the Shulchan Aruch warns (סימן
    ס״ז שכו ;(One who bathes in a river must dry
    his body thoroughly when leaving the river so
    that the water does not remain on him and
    transfer four cubits in a karmelit; However, in
    our times, almost all pools are located in an
    enclosed area, so there is no such concern.
    Still, this would be relevant to those who want
    to go into the ocean or even just walk barefoot
    by the ocean water since their feet will get wet
    and carry droplets from the ocean shore.
    c. Swimming with bathing suit in the
    Another concern, which is much more
    common, is the prohibition of soaking the
    swimsuit in water, as the sages cautioned that
    immersing clothing in water is considered a
    form of laundering, therefore, anyone who
    enters the water with a swimsuit violates this
    However, it is not agreed upon whether this
    law applies to every garment or only to a
    משנה ברורה סימן שב ס״ק) soiled is that garment
    לט(. According to the opinion of those who
    maintain that every garment is subject to this
    prohibition, one should not enter the water
    with a swimsuit unless it is made of nylon, in
    which case there is no absorption of water at
    all and no prohibition. However, there are
    those who believe that there is no prohibition
    with clean garments and only soiled garment
    were prohibited (Sefer Mitzvot Gadol, Sefer
    HaTerumah, Raah, and Rosh), and therefore,
    it is permissible to enter the water with a clean
    The Riva , based on the opinion that they
    prohibited only a soiled garment, understood
    it to mean actual filth but if it is only slightly
    soiled, there is no prohibition to swim with
    such a garment. However it seems from the
    words of the Mishnah Berurah (302:43) that
    any soiling is prohibited, as it prohibited even
    a clean garment.
    The opinion of Maran HaShulchan Aruch on
    the matter is not clear, many Sephardic rabbis
    held that he was lenient (אומר ביביע יוסף הגר״ע
    יט אות ס״ל ח״ד(, while Rabbi Moshe Levi felt
    that the Shulchan Aruch prohibited (מנוחת
    .(אהבה ח״ב עמוד שצז
    d. Gzerat Habalanim
    Additionally, it should be noted that the water
    should not be hot above thirty-seven degrees
    sages Our .)אור לציון ח״ב עמוד רנא) Celsius
    forbade washing in hot water, which they
    referred to as gezeirat habalanim; as
    mentioned by Maran HaShulchan Aruch (סימן
    ס״א שכו(:” It is forbidden to wash in hot water
    any part of the body, even a limb alone, even
    in water that was heated before Shabbat”.
    However, lukewarm water, up to the
    aforementioned temperature, does not have
    the status of hot water, and Sephardi custom
    permits to enter it on Shabbat.
    There are exceptions to this decree, for

    example, someone who wants to use the
    mikveh on Shabbat since it is a mitzvah (קרבן
    one ,However .)נתנאל מובא במשנ״ב סי‘ שכו סק״ז
    should just go in and out without delaying in
    שו״ת אבני נזר או״ח סי‘)pleasure for water the
    . (תקכו
    e. Getting into the water.
    Nevertheless, Ashkenazim have a custom to
    prohibit entering any water on Shabbat, even
    cold water, as stated by the Magen Avraham
    סימן) Berurah Mishnah the and ,)סימן שכו סק״ח)
    כא ס״ק (brings this as a concerns such as hair
    squeezing and other similar worries.
    Sephardim, on the other hand, did not restrict
    going into water on Shabbat and never had
    such a minhag to restrict it. Additionally,
    Ashkenazim who feel very irritated without
    washing their body when the days are very hot
    and humid, or those who need to go into the
    water for health reasons, may also find
    מנחת יצחק ח״ו סוף סי‘ לב בשם קצות)exceptions
    . (השלחן סי‘ קלג
    i. The spirit of shabbat
    After learning about the above leniencies, we
    should point out that many Halachic
    authorities highlight another aspect to
    consider, which is whether swimming in a
    pool aligns with the spirit of Shabbat. Many
    believe that even if there are no specific
    religious restrictions, it is still advisable to
    refrain from swimming in order to show
    proper respect for the sanctity of Shabbat.
    Since such a question is more hashkafa-related
    than halacha, one should consult his rabbi for
    In summary, summer is a popular time for
    people to seek relief from the heat by taking a
    dip in the pool. It’s a refreshing experience
    that many look forward to. However, when
    Shabbat arrives, the question of whether or not
    to use the pool becomes significant. Therefore,
    one should consider and examine all the above
    points to ensure that the kedusha of Shabbat
    remains sacred.
    There are specific conditions that must be met
    in order to justify using the pool on Shabbat.
    These conditions could vary based on different
    Halachot and customs. On the other hand,
    there are those, particularly within the
    Ashkenazi tradition, who refrain from using
    the pool altogether on Shabbat, regardless of
    any specific conditions.