Appropriate or Not?

Friend of mine was at the nail salon today and texted me that there was a religious lady there at the same time, getting a pedicure. Whilst sitting in the big huge massage chair, and having her toes and feet pampered and painted, she was reciting tehillim (psalms).

I guess it makes a break from reading the trashy magazines the nail salons leave lying around, but part of me is a little weirded out.

I know that the two times a year I go for a pedicure I enjoy every single second of it, and I take it as ME time. Perhaps that’s why I find it hard to understand that a woman can see a pedicure as a chore that takes time, and she’d better seize the moment of peace and quiet to pray.

But seriously, how can you concentrate on prayer when someone is manipulating your feet?


27 responses to “Appropriate or Not?

  1. I think it’s totally fine for her to say Tehillim while getting a pedicure. Kol Hakavod to her! It’s not something I’ve ever done but it certainly is not a bad thing & besides, she may find saying Tehillim relaxing. Maybe it just adds to her relaxation or maybe it’s the perfect time for her to do it since she isn’t doing anything else anyhow. In short, I think it’s COMPLETELY appropriate-nothing weird about it in the least!

  2. I think I’d feel like it’s too close to a bathroom, you know what I mean?

  3. This reminds me of the famous Berditchever Rebbe story about the wagoneer greasing the wheels of his wagon…

  4. I wouldn’t say it’s inappropriate, exactly… but I do think it’s kind of weird.

  5. Perhaps it puts her in her happy place and makes her feel closer to the Divine, if not quite divine in her own right.

    mrsjessica, is it inappropriate to pray in a bathroom? I distinctly recall doing that once, after a spinal tap, in the hospital – next thing I remember was three gowned and HAZMAT-suited nurses helping me back to bed, so I can only assume that G-d was there, and answered my prayers. If G-d is everywhere – well, okay, when I was little, THAT thought weirded me out (really, I know what you mean about G-d and bathrooms – it’s just awkward, but I think it’s OUR hang-ups, not G-d’s, right?) Anyway, I am pretty sure I struck a bargain with the Almighty at around age 6 – at least I THOUGHT G-d promised to stay on the other side of the door unless I was really desperately in need (like after that spinal tap).

    And on that note, Hadassah, I think maybe it’s a good thing to pray in happy times, like when having our feet massaged, to reflect in gratitude that we are so blessed as to be able to afford a pedicure. 🙂 Or maybe she’s just praying she doesn’t get one of those weird infections from the foot wash basins and lose a toe.

    • I think there is something against praying in the bathroom in Jewish law or customs but I am not a rabbi, just married to one and I could see how easy it would be to pray and talk to G-d in a bubble bath while others would argue, you shouldnt pray while naked or in such a “base” place. I feel G-d everywhere and talk to him whenver I can, though it is usually in my head and not obvious to anyone else.

      • We make a bracha in the mikvah stark naked although some (right wing or old school) mikvah ladies might suggest that women cover their hair with a towel & cover their breasts but according to my old kallah teacher, we are allowed to make the bracha completely naked & it’s not necessary to cover one’s hair or breasts while saying the bracha but it’s just a matter of comfort or preference (or ignorance on the part of the mikvah lady). That said, traditionally one doesn’t daven in a bathroom generally speaking but a woman can be in any state of dress or undress while praying, according to my teacher back in the day.

        • Thank you for the thoughtful replies! It has always seemed to me (and granted, I’m not Jewish) that it makes sense to be modest with other people – especially those we’re not related to – but it’s a bit odd to be so awkward about it “in front of” (as if we had any choice, really, ever) our creator. For regular prayer, it seems more respectful, maybe, not to make a habit of it in a bathroom – but it doesn’t strike me as inappropriate, either, if that makes sense. Like talking on the phone – it’s much nicer not to do that in the bathroom, generally speaking. But if you had to call 911 because you were having a heart attack or something, or had to answer a call from your child who needs you NOW – no one would CARE that you were in the bathroom and hold it against you.

          • Actually there is a prayer specifically written to be said when one has successfully used the restroom. It is my understanding that it is taped to the mirrors in the restrooms in hospitals in Jerusalem. In it, we thank God for the wonderous openings and closings of our body, and acknowledge that if one should be wrongly opened or closed, we would be unable to stand before God to pray.

            So it is permitted to pray in the restroom.

            • Although Susan, the Asher Yatzar prayer to which you are referring is typical recited as soon as one leaves the bathroom & often it is hanging outside the bathroom but I guess it can be said IN the bathroom if need be…I’ve never heard of it being taped to the restrooms in Jerusalem hospitals but thankfully I’ve never been in any.

              • Unfortunately, a rabbi from our synagogue had to be treated in a hospital in Jerusalem a couple of years ago. That is where I heard about the prayer being taped to the mirrors there.

                • Amanda Elkohen

                  Actually, it’s taped to the mirror over the sink which is usually in a different room from the toilet. (short of the “911” type prayer that Holly mentioned, it’s better not to pray in the presence of a commode)

  6. lady lock and load

    The manicurist should bring a sefer Torah into the shop and start minyanim. 😉 Or maybe they can come to synagogue and do my husband’s nails while he davens? I’m always nagging him to get a manicure!

  7. Not quite sure why you are opening this up to other people’s judgements. I don’t think this is weird at all and you may consider that this woman needed a break from something difficult in her life and while taking that break, was asking Hashem for his continued help.

    • I agree with Just Thinking. I really don’t think it’s our place to judge what others do especially when this lady is saying Tehillim which is probably more praiseworthy than the trashy magazines that I might read while getting a pedicure.

  8. It might be an appropriate time to say some prayers, if you’ve read about the bacteria and other stuff in the pedicure basin of your average salon.

  9. Or – (this might be a long shot – or not)
    maybe this was part of her preparing for mikvah and she says tehillim during every part she can. SHe can’t while she’s sitting in a tub soaking – – – in the bathroom with a (possibly) toilet close by.
    We also don’t know if this is a regular ritual of her’s, or if she is petitioning Hashem for something in particular.

  10. Maybe weird but does not seem inappropriate at all. I pray all the time whenever I can though I do not get pedicures and manicures. Maybe it is the only time she has time to herself AND the only time she has to pray. For all we know, she was praying for someone’s health and this isn’t something she does regularly. Some people see prayer as ME time. ME and G-d time and perhaps the only time one gets peace and quiet. It seems you were both getting the same relief from your pedicures, just in different ways.

  11. instead of being stressed and nervous about time etc. she was relaxed and being pampered and reciting tehillim. sounds like heaven!

  12. Actually that is the best time to relax and really concentrate. I say tehillim everywhere. It is a sort of meditation and to be pampered sounds like it would be an optimal place to do it.

  13. lady lock and load

    Not to judge the woman saying Tehillim while getting a pedicure, but for myself, I wouldn’t do it for a few reasons. I learned that one is supposed to wear shoes when praying because one would wear shoes if you were in front of a King. I was also taught to wash hands with a naigel vasser cup after cutting nails, so I wouldn’t pray or say Tehillim without washing my hands first. I also would feel funny whispering my prayers while a non-Jew (they are usually korean) is working on my feet and surrounded by others who might be weirded out by this Jewish lady and her prayer book.

  14. I’m not in any sense of the word, religious, and aside from the rules of shoes and the naigel cup,( I read she was only getting a pedicure so she could have washed before she started) if someone wants to pray, that should be totally up to the individual. And as far as other people not understanding her, the workers in my salon have no trouble speaking their language in front of me, so what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. If they want to learn, they can ask.

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