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

Email this article to a friend

Kindness and Justice

The halachah rules that one should wash his right hand first. The Zohar explains the deeper meaning of this practice. "A person should wash his right hand with his left, in order that the right [representing kindness] should overpower the left [representing justice]" (Vayeshev 184b).

However, in another section, the Zohar tells us: "The water for netilas yadayim should be taken with one's right hand" (Terumah 154b). If the water is in the right hand, then the implication is that the left hand should be washed first. How can we understand this seeming contradiction?

In practice, these two passages are reconciled as follows: First, the cup of water is taken in the right hand, then it is passed to the left hand, showing that kindness (represented by the right hand) overpowers justice (represented by the left hand) (Shulchan Aruch 4,10). Washing the right hand first further demonstrates the superiority of kindness over justice (Mishnah Berurah 4,21). This simple symbolic action helps ensure that the attribute of Hashem's kindness will be showered on us throughout the forthcoming day.

After pouring the water over the right hand, one should pass the cup back to the right hand and wash the left one. This process is repeated two more times, until each hand has been washed three times. After washing one’s hands, they should be stretched out and lifted up parallel to one’s head, and one recites the berachah of netilas yadayim (Mishnah Berurah 4,9).


Text Copyright © 2012 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org


 






ARTICLES ON NOACH:

View Complete List

Parshas Noach
Shlomo Katz - 5772

Making Something of Nothing
Rabbi Shlomo Jarcaig - 5764

Beyond Youth
Rabbi Label Lam - 5764

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

When the Illegitimate Becomes Legitimate
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5758

Compliments -- In The Presence And Outside The Presence Of A Person
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5774

In Man's Diminished Image
Rabbi Label Lam - 5770

> Making It Perfect
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5763

Leisure Time
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5766

The Rainbow Coalition
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5761

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The World is a Symphony
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5757

Understanding the Faith of Noach
Rabbi Yosef Kalatsky - 5763

Improving Our Own World
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5760

ArtScroll

Too Perfect
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5759

Choosing Sides
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5771

Sins Committed In Private Ultimately Lead To a Violent Society
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5765

Faxs vs. Kidney Stones
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5759



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