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



View Complete List

Look to the Future
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5764

Shlomo Katz - 5768

Kiddush Hashem
Shlomo Katz - 5772

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Don't Settle For Imitations
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5762

Lesson of the Bread
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5760

Understanding Relationships With G-d
Rabbi Yosef Kalatsky - 5763


You Can Say That Again!
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5759

The Power of Connection
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5768

Judaism 101
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5759

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Reality of the Big Picture
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5770

Two Dimensions In The Measure of Man
- 5769

Give Me Liberty
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5767

> Mitzvah-Watch
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5760

A Lasting Impression
Rabbi Label Lam - 5766

Criticizing the Craftsman
Shlomo Katz - 5758

When It Really Counts
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5764

Project Genesis Home

Torah Portion

Jewish Law



Learn the Basics




Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base


About Us

Contact Us

Free Book on Geulah! Home Copyright Information