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 TERUMAH:

View Complete List

The Meaning of the Mishkan
Shlomo Katz - 5766

The Love you Take
Jon Erlbaum - 0

Make Way!
Rabbi Chaim Flom - 5768

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

A Tabernacle in Your Heart
Shlomo Katz - 5774

It Will be Built Again
Rabbi Label Lam - 5763

A Love Based on Nothing
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5756

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The Ultimate Elevated-Offering
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5767

Crowned Comestibles
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5760

Doing For Oneself
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5757

> Honesty Comes First
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5763

A Prior Commitment
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5773

Exchange Sacrifices for Torah Learning
Shlomo Katz - 5759

ArtScroll

Contradictory Descriptions As To How The Menorah Was Made
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5767

“The Love you Take”
Jon Erlbaum - 5770

Job Placement
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5757

Individually Upholding the Torah
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5760



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