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

Email this article to a friend

Understanding the Halachos of Getting Out of Bed

Al Netilas Yadayim - Washing the Hands

When a person dies, the soul leaves the body, rendering it impure. Sleep is like death, and while a person is asleep, a similar type of impure spirit (ruach ra'ah) descends on his hands. He should wash his hands as soon as possible, in order that this impure spirit should be removed.

Most authorities agree that one recites the blessing of “netilas yadayim” only when doing a mitzvah. Washing away an impure spirit is only a protective measure and not a mitzvah (Pri Migadim, Eshel Avraham 4,1; Mishna Berura 4,8). Why, then, do we say a blessing after we wash our hands in the morning?

Some early commentators connect this washing to the renewal of our life- force each morning. Just as a Cohen had a mitzvah to purify himself before starting his service in the Temple, we also have a mitzvah to wash our hands each morning to start a new day of Divine service (Responsa of Rashba 1,191).

Others write 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 (Responsa of Rosh 4,1). Since this act is considered to have the status of a mitzvah, we therefore recite a blessing. These two reasons give the washing the status of a mitzvah and are sufficient to obligate making a blessing on the washing.


Text Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org


 

ARTICLES ON KI SISA AND PURIM:

View Complete List

Did Esther Succeed
Rabbi Label Lam - 5769

Why to Eat, Drink and Be Merry
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Just a Coincidence?
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5757

ArtScroll

Allusions and Illusions
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5761

What's Bad is Good
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5759

Sanctifying Through The Physical
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5759

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The Game is Over
Rabbi Label Lam - 5768

Two Types of Shabbat
Shlomo Katz - 5763

How to Pray
Shlomo Katz - 5762

> Searching for Haman
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5761

Tipping the Scales
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5761

Hey! You Never Know!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Forged With Love
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5770

Consumer Oriented
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5760

"Washing the Workweek Away – Part II"
Shlomo Katz - 5773

Spiritually-Independent
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5772



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