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


 
Sell Chometz Online







ARTICLES ON PESACH AND THE OMER:

View Complete List

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

Searching for the Chametz Within
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5756

Tarnished Treasures of Pesach
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5759

> Shabbos Hagadol
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5759

Inherent and Essential Contradictions
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5770

Why On This Night Do We Dip Twice?
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5765

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Ha Lachma Anya
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5770

Pesach Questions
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

Relating the Chain of Events: Part 1
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Another Link in the Chain
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5759

The Great Shabbos
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5758

The Great Shabbat
Shlomo Katz - 5764

ArtScroll

Break Free!
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5764

Kid Tips
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Sefiras HaOmer and Rabbi Akiva
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5766

A Holy Nation?
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755



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