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Chapter 86:3
Bathing on Shabbos

3. One may immerse one's entire body in cold water on Shabbos (1). Afterwards, however, one may not stand in front of an oven to warm (before drying oneself), since this would be considered equivalent to washing one's entire body in hot water. Even when one washed just one's hands in cold water, one should dry them [thoroughly] before [warming them]. One may not warm them near an oven while they are still wet, since this would be considered washing in water that was heated on Shabbos itself, with which one is forbidden to wash even a single limb (2). As mentioned in Chapter 80, Law 32, a person should rub his hands so that only a small amount of water will remain on them before drying them [with a towel] (3).


(1) The prohibition against bathing one's entire body in water heated before Shabbos, only applies if the water is considered hot (in other words, people would call it "hot water" - see Aruch Hashulchan 326:3). It is permissible to bathe one's entire body in luke warm water (as long as it was heated before Shabbos) and therefore, one may immerse in a luke warm mikvah on Shabbos (Mishna Berura 326:7); some authorities even permit using a hot mikvah. As we saw in HY 86:1, according to some, one who is experiencing extreme discomfort ("Mitztaer"), may bathe in hot water which was heated before Shabbos.

(2) Other authorities rule that one may place wet hands next to a fire to dry on Shabbos, because the water is only really becoming warm, not hot, and hence it is equivalent to water which was heated before Shabbos, with which it is permissible to wash individual limbs (Mishna Berura 326:17).

(3) In certain circumstances, making a towel wet on Shabbos is prohibited, because it is considered part of the laundering process.

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