Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  Page title
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Other Reasons for Netilas Yadayim

In the last sections, we cited a number of practical halachos that stem from the Zoharís statement that the nature of the mitzvah is to remove a harmful impure spirit. Most authorities agree that one recites a blessing of netilas yadayim only when doing a mitzvah, e.g., washing for bread. Washing away an impure spirit is only a protective measure and not a mitzvah, and the Zoharís reason for netilas yadayim is not sufficient to obligate us to recite a berachah on netilas yadayim.

The Rashba and Rosh offer other reasons why netilas yadayim every morning is a mitzvah and not just a protective measure. It is because of these other reasons that we recite a berachah on netilas yadayim each morning (Pri Megadim, Eshel Avraham 4,1; Mishnah Berurah 4,8). Familiarity with these reasons helps us understand many of the halachos of netilas yadayim. The Rashba associates this washing with the renewal of our life force each morning. Just as a kohen had a mitzvah to purify himself before starting his service in the Temple, we also have a mitzvah to wash our hands each morning. In doing so we are purifying ourselves before we start a new day of Divine service (Responsa 1,191).

The Rosh cites a different reason for this mitzvah. He writes that there is a mitzvah to wash our hands before each regular prayer, lest we had touched a place on the body that is generally covered. Preparing oneself for tefillah is considered to have the status of a mitzvah, and we therefore recite a blessing (4,2).

One practical difference between these two approaches is presented if one sleeps during the day. If the reason for washing is that one becomes a new creation after a full day passes, this will not apply to a nap during the day. Conversely, if the reason for washing is that oneís hands may have touched a covered place, this is equally possible during a nap. If a person slept for half an hour or more, he should wash without a berachah (Shulchan Aruch 4,15).

Another practical difference arises if one stays awake all night. Since a full day has passed, it is possible to say that he is considered a new creation. However, if the reason for netilas yadayim is that one might have touched a covered place while sleeping, the absence of sleep suggests there will be no obligation to wash (Shulchan Aruch 4,13). The ruling is that he should wash without a berachah, unless he uses the restroom before tefillah, in which case he can recite the berachah (Mishnah Berurah 4,30).


Text Copyright © 2013 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org


 
Sell Chometz Online


ARTICLES ON TZAV AND PESACH:

View Complete List

Pie From the Sky
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5773

The Fifth Son
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5772

To Be Chosen Again
Rabbi Label Lam - 5768

> Relating the Chain of Events: Part 3
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

To Express a Higher Yes!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5766

Parshas Acharei Mos and Pesach
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5774

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The Importance of Order
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5759

Expanding Upon A Thought From The Kli Yakar
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5774

Just Think!
Shlomo Katz - 5760

ArtScroll

A Ritual Memory Transfer
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5760

Taking the Right Approach
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5772

Dressing the Part
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5764

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The Price of Being Special
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5760

Why are you asleep?
Shlomo Katz - 5771

Pesach Weather
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5765

Telling Others
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information