Chapter: Chapter 05: Netilat Yadayim in the Morning

01. The Morning Netilat Yadayim

Yisrael 2:29 and Halikhot Shlomo 2:5). The essential objective of netilat yadayim before Shaĥarit is cleanliness, as it is written (Tehilim 26:6): “I wash my hands clean,” and as detailed in Berakhot 15a. The reason for washing one’s hands before … Continue reading

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02. Ru’aĥ Ra’ah (Evil Spirit)

In addition to the reasons mentioned, the Sages of the Talmud state (Shabbat 108b) that one must be careful that her hands do not touch her mouth, nose, eyes, or ears before washing her hands in the morning because there … Continue reading

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03. Ru’aĥ Ra’ah Today

According to Zohar and the kabbalists, one must wash her hands immediately upon waking from her sleep so as not to prolong the ru’aĥ ra’ah upon her hands. They also caution against walking more than four amot before washing one’s … Continue reading

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04. The Time to Recite Al Netilat Yadayim

The correct time to recite “al netilat yadayim” is immediately after washing and before drying one’s hands. However, the general rule regarding all berakhot recited upon the performance of mitzvot, is to recite the berakha first and then perform the … Continue reading

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05. One Who Did Not Sleep All Night

The poskim disagree about the status of one who stayed up all night. In practice, SA 4:13 states that such a person must wash her hands before prayer without a berakha. That way, on one hand, she fulfills her obligation … Continue reading

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06. Hand Washing Three Times after Daytime Sleep

Why exactly does the ru’aĥ ra’ah linger specifically on one’s hands? Is it the mere state of sleep, when one’s consciousness abandons her and she is left without the ability to function? If so, even one who sleeps during the … Continue reading

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07. Waking in the Middle of the Night to Tend to a Baby or for Any Other Reason

A woman who wakes up in the middle of the night in order to cover her child or give him a pacifier need not, technically speaking, wash her hands before doing so, although she must be careful not to touch … Continue reading

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08. Food Touched by Unwashed Hands

We learned (section 2 above) that because ru’aĥ ra’ah rests upon one’s hands in the morning, one must not touch food or drink before netilat yadayim. If a Jew touched food without washing her hands, the ruling is as follows: … Continue reading

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09. Minors

Several major Aĥaronim write that it is important to ensure that even small children wash their hands in the morning. Even though they have not yet reached school age (gil ĥinukh), since they touch food, their hands must be washed … Continue reading

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