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


 
Sell Chometz Online







ARTICLES ON PESACH AND THE OMER:

View Complete List

A Count of Anticipation
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

Out of Order
Rabbi Label Lam - 5774

A Potential Lesson
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5760

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

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

All The Days of Your Life
Rabbi Label Lam - 5765

Maybe Next Year, in Jerusalem!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5768

> Growth Period
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5755

Forget Your Belt...
Rabbi Moshe Peretz Gilden - 5762

Ordering Priorities
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5766

Looking for a Chavrusah?

All About Dipping
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

The Evil Son
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5756

We Were Slaves...
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

ArtScroll

Pesach Answers - Chad Gadya
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5766

In the Heart of “This Night”
Rabbi Label Lam - 5770

Urchatz, Karpas, Yachatz
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Elevated by Divine Command
Rabbi Naphtali Hoff - 5770



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