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The Way of G-d

Part 4: "Divine Service"
Ch. 6: "The Sequence of the Day"
Paragraphs 3 & 4

But take heart, for there's indeed a way to undo the forces of unholiness that continue to stand their ground in the morning, and to thus greet the daylight with new spiritual vigor.

And though it comes down to the seemingly simple act of handwashing (albeit with a difference), know that this process has been transmitted to us by the Torah and its sages every bit as much as the apparently grander and more solemn ritualistic things we do. The truth be known, though, our morning handwashing comforms to the sort of ablutions that were done in the Holy Temple by the High Priest and others, but that's besides our point.

Thus we proceed to pour water over our right hand, then our left, and back again, three times in a row. And that purifies them and undoes the last vestige of the forces of unholiness left behind on our fingers.

(Many explain, by the way, that the reason why the night's unholiness stays attached to our fingers, of all places, is because the fingers are the outermost ends of our body, which is itself the outermost end of our soul.)

And once our hands are thus cleansed, our whole body becomes ritually clean, and the universe itself is cleansed of the nightime unholiness on an esoteric level, since we're a microcosm of it. This recondite cleansing process also comes into play the other times we cleanse ourselves (as we do after using the bathroom, for example), but on a lower level. For in each instance we not only remove dirt and grime, we also dislodge a lot of the grit and goop of unholiness, and can thus draw closer to G-d.

Text Copyright 2005 by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman and



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