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A Brief History of Shabbos Toilet Paper

22 comments

I’m sitting in the bathroom when I do the awkward behind reach to the stack of pre-cut shabbos toilet paper on the top of the toilet. I can’t seem to get any, I either get the whole stack or nothing, they appear to be stuck together and in my frustration I begin to ponder how it came to this, how did we get to the point of it being an inconvenience to wipe your self on shabbos? I wondered if the shrinking size of the Jewish Press had to do with peoples unwillingness to be get on top of the toilet after cholent and stay there to read the entire paper.

The history of shabbos toilet paper:

When I was a kid everyone used regular toilet paper, if you were a frummy, you used tissues. Then modern orthodoxy began to shift to the right and we caught up to the frummies, we started using tissues as well. Then the frummies said that tissues stuck together so many of them said that you could tear toilet paper as long as you didn’t do it on the seems.

Then the frummies decided that tearing toilet paper was just as assur as cutting letters on birthday cakes and they went to those really poor quality tissues with the mountains on the boxes that apparently didn’t stick together. The modern orthodox wanted to keep moving to the right so we went back to tissues, but we heard that tissues with lotion may not be kosher for shabbos so we didn’t use them.

Then someone in the frum community (probably the people behind kosher innovations which makes 100% kosher for shabbos toilet paper) decided that you had to use pre-cut toilet paper which allows frumies to profile those who use tissues or toilet paper when a guest in their bathroom.

Like all communities the frummy community has a problem, while they are fervently pro-pre-cut toilet paper (it gives the little kids another erev shabbos chore) they continue to use tissues in shul, I have never seen a shul that used pre-cut toilet paper on its tables.

Most modern orthodox people have gone back to traditional tissues, though I am sure there are plenty modern orthodox machmir types who want to appear more frum who go with the horrible idea of pre-cut toilet paper. I am just wondering when someone will invent pre-cut toilet paper for shabbos use? Heck, Hollister sells pre-ripped jeans for those who want to look like they wore their own holes in them.

  • Yserbius the Yekke

    Just be thankful that the Israeli pre-cut cardboard tissues haven’t caught on.

  • http://shiltonhasechel.blogspot.com Shilton HaSechel

    >I am just wondering when someone will invent pre-cut toilet paper for shabbos use?

    In Israel they do don’t know about the states.

  • tesyaa

    Tissues are bad for the plumbing. It’s an extra mitzva to have your sewer pipe pumped out once a month.

    • A. Nuran

      Must. Resist. Urge. To. Make. Tasteless. Joke.
      Pain.
      Shatnerian.
      In.
      Intensity.

  • A. Nuran

    I asked my parents, who grew up Orthodox, about this. When they were children people just used regular toilet paper.

  • http://shiltonhasechel.blogspot.com Shilton HaSechel

    I stopped caring about ripping toilet paper when I found out from a Shabbat book that it’s muttar bdieved to rip toilet paper if you’re stuck.

    • Debbie Far Rockaway

      “If you’re stuck” does not excuse lack of planning, just what’s out of one’s own control.

  • Abijah

    reason number 48 to remain a Noahide. I just can’t get the hang of the 3 sea shells. Fortunately there is a Target just a block from shul if need be.

  • the other shim

    And don’t get me started on wipes! The really shtark don’t use them to wipe their kids tushies on Shabbos, they use that Baby Spritz stuff because wipes are sechita.

    • chosid

      Anybody that squeezes their wipes has other problems besides imaginary melachos.

  • http://abandoningeden.blogspot.com abandoning eden

    wow, just another example of seder’s that do more harm than good…you know when I was a kid the very first thing I transgressed (Which turns out to be a geder not a halacha) was tearing toilet paper on shabbas…once god didn’t strike me down for that one, I figure the rest was bs too

  • Julie

    I thought you were supposed to spend Xmas Eve ripping up toilet paper!?

    • http://www.frumsatire.net Heshy Fried

      Orthodox Jews don’t even eat chinese food on xmas because that acknowledges christmas exists

      • David

        Heshy,
        There are, in fact, Hasidim that have a long-standing tradition to pre-rip Shabbos toilet paper on December 24.
        This is partially becuase, Xtianity is considered the “waste product” of Judaism, and also many Hasidim don’t learn Torah on the evening of December 24 as mourning for all of the problems Xtianity has caused.

        • DS

          Dec 24 is not really his birthday so those chassidim are actually buying in to some other avodah zara

      • Bubba Metzia

        There’s a kosher Chinese place near where I’m from and there’s usually lots of people order from there then. Back in the day on Christmas eve there was a Hasidic tradition called Nittel Nacht where instead of learning Torah people stayed home and played chess.

  • Ben

    One shul that uses pre-cut toilet paper:

    Anshei Minsk, Downtown Toronto.

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  • Debbie Far Rockaway

    How about that shul shabbos toilet paper that (a) you get your finger stuck in the dispenser trying to get it out and (b) when you do you have to use half of it up to do a sufficient job.

    I have been buying the new pre-cut toilet paper, not because I’m too frum for tissues, but because a plumber told me tissues are bad for the plumbing and I’ve been known to forget to pre-cut the real stuff till it’s too late.

  • http://www.IsraeliCombatTraining.com Ben G

    Rediculous. Jews spending more time worrying about what they use to wipe their a$$es than being kind to eachother…scary

    • dassi

      agreed!!!!

    • Anonymous

      Sad but true

  • chevramaidel

    We’ve always used Marcal Aspen tissue – the one with the mountains on the box. It’s ubiquitous in frum houses because it’s cheap, and the sheets are not stuck together. It’s also made from recycled paper!

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