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Chapter 86:1
Bathing on Shabbos

1. It is forbidden to wash one's entire body or the majority of one's body [on Shabbos] in hot water, even if the water was heated up before the commencement of Shabbos (1). [This prohibition applies] even when washing oneself limb by limb. It is forbidden to enter a bathhouse even for the purpose of sweating. One may, however, wash one's face, hands, and feet (2) with hot water that was heated before Shabbos (3).

FOOTNOTES:

(1) Originally, bathing in hot water heated before Shabbos was permitted. However, the Sages discovered that many bathhouse owners were heating up water on Shabbos itself, and claiming that they heated it up before Shabbos. In response to this, the Sages prohibited bathing but still allowed entering the bathhouse on Shabbos for the purpose of sweating. They then discovered that people were entering bathhouses to bathe in hot water, and then claiming that they only entered to sweat. Consequently, the Sages prohibited entering the bathhouse even for sweating purposes (Shabbos 40).

(2) Or any other part of the body, as long as one doesn't wash the majority of one's body.

(3) According to the Mishna Berura in his Be'ur Halacha (326:1), if one is experiencing great discomfort, one may bathe in hot water which was heated before Shabbos. Others disagree.

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