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 NASO:

View Complete List

From the Depths of the Heart
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5762

Why Did The Younger Brother Get The Better Job?
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5766

Domestic Harmony and National Peace
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5755

Looking for a Chavrusah?

A Lesson in Community Service
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5757

Channels of a Different Type
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5758

Ode to Joy
Shlomo Katz - 5775

> Out Of Control
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5771

Small Talk
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5757

A Promise of Good Will Not Be Retracted
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5758

ArtScroll

Behold Your Teacher!
Shlomo Katz - 5774

The Common Denominator Between Long Hair and A Shaven Head
- 5769

To Drink or Not to Drink?
Shlomo Katz - 5760

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Learned From Their Mistakes
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5764

Giving is Receiving
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5759

Learned From Their Mistakes
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5756

A Source For The Singing of the Levites
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 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