web analytics
September 2, 2014 / 7 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



Q & A: Netilat Yadayim (Conclusion)


QuestionsandAnswers-logo

QUESTION: Does one wash one’s hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring [fresh] water from a vessel with handles three times on each hand alternatingly? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning.
A Reader
New York, NY
ANSWER: Last week we explained the basic principle of washing the hands in the morning with water poured three times on each hand, alternatingly (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayyim 4:1-2), and cited several sources for this established practice. The vessel should contain a revi’it of water – just as for washing before a meal – but if there was less water, the blessing al netilat yadayim may still be recited.
We also noted that washing the hands in the morning is the only one that requires pouring water alternatingly three times on each hand according to all opinions, whereas in other situations pouring water three times is not required, and in some cases the hands may even be cleansed with anything that will clean them.
* * *
The Mechaber (Orach Chayyim 4:18) states that the following require washing with water (the Magen Avraham, the Taz and the Ba’er Heitev, based on Seder Hayom, explain that although water is required, pouring alternatingly three times on each hand is not):
Upon getting out of bed, leaving the bathroom and/or the bathhouse, cutting one’s nails, removing the shoes (when using a hand to touch them), touching one’s feet or washing one’s hair. Some add: One who has walked in a cemetery. Also included are touching a corpse, after cleaning one’s vessels (since he might have found and touched a dead insect, and the rule applies even if he did not find any), marital relations, touching a louse, touching one’s body (obviously this refers to parts of the body that are usually covered, see infra 4:21). The Mechaber concludes: ‘One who has done any of these and has not washed his hands, if he is a scholar he forgets what he has learned. If he is not a scholar, he goes out of his mind.’ The Mishna Berura explains, quoting Eliyahu Rabbah, that a spirit of folly takes hold of him, which in turn may cause him to sin, as noted in Tractate Sotah (3a): Resh Lakish said, A person does not commit a transgression unless a spirit of folly enters into him.
The Vilna Gaon (Be’ur HaGra ad loc.) lists the various Talmudic sources on which these rulings are based.
Sha’arei Teshuva states that there are different reasons for washing the hands in the cases listed by the Mechaber, since some are due to the evil spirit resting on the hands (after sleeping), while others are mandated for the sake of cleanliness. Only upon arising from sleep is there a requirement to wash three times with water.
But both the Sha’arei Teshuva and the Mishna Berura cite sources that advocate strictness in the case of exiting from a bathroom, namely, washing the hands by pouring water on them three times. (The Mishna Berura attributes this opinion to Heichal Hakodesh.)
So, although from a strict halachic point of view, the requirement to wash the hands by pouring water from a vessel is limited (according to most opinions) to the morning, there is much confusion in this area of practice, particularly when it comes to a child’s education. A child forms lasting impressions at a very young age, and that is why girsa de’yankuta, the knowledge acquired in childhood, is so important. In his responsa Mishneh Halachot, vol. 7:1, HaGaon R. Menashe Klein answers the question: At what age are small children required to perform netilat yadayim? He quotes the Pri Megadim on Orach Chayyim 4:7, who is astonished by the fact that many parents are lax in this regard. Therefore he suggests that as soon as it is possible to do so, even when children are one year old, the parents should wash their children’s hands (by pouring water) since it is not so much a question whether they are of an age to be halachically required to do so, but rather a matter of avoiding danger.(The Pri Megadim states in his general introduction, Peticha Kollelet 2:1, in regard to the mitzva of sukka, that for the purpose of chinuch, education, the child can even be younger than age five). The Chida points out that we wash the hands of very small children so that they will not contaminate [ritually] whatever they touch.
R. Klein does not cite the Mishna Berura (op. cit. 4:2) who remarks that it is important that small children wash their hands in the morning because they touch the food (that their mothers prepare), and concludes that if a Gentile touches food (as in a restaurant etc.) without washing his hands [ritually], it is of no concern since they are not defiled by the nocturnal evil spirit.
R. Klein also quotes R. Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, who states in his Minchat Shelomo (4:2) that the spirit of uncleanliness seeks to rest on a vessel of holiness, i.e., the body whose soul has risen to heaven while a person is asleep, and leaves once the soul returns. Since it is accepted that the divine soul establishes itself in the human being at the age of responsibility for the fulfillment of mitzvot, i.e., twelve plus one day for a girl and thirteen and a day for a boy, people have been lenient about allowing small children to touch food even without [ritually] washing their hands. Thus accustoming children to wash their hands is for educational purposes.
Finally he quotes the Lechem Mishneh’s commentary on Rambam (Hilchot Shevitat Asor 3:2), who states that according to Rambam we do not worry about evil spirits since they are not found among us today.
Therefore, concludes R. Klein, we teach young children to wash their hands as soon as they are able to comprehend the meaning of the mitzva.
It is written in Mishlei (22:6), ‘Chanoch lana’ar al pi darko, gam ki yazkin lo yasur mimmenah ‘Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.’ In order to endure, a structure needs a solid foundation.

About the Author: Rabbi Yaakov Klass, rav of Congregation K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush, Brooklyn, is Torah Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at yklass@jewishpress.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Q & A: Netilat Yadayim (Conclusion)”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Candy-laden bulletin board greets children on their first day of school in the lobby of an Efrat apartment building. Sept. 1, 2014.
The message reads:
"To our dear children ... may it be a year of fun and happiness in your studies." 
Did You Know September 1 is an Israeli National Holiday?
Latest Judaism Stories
shofar+kotel

If you had an important court date scheduled – one that would determine your financial future, or even your very life – you’d be sure to prepare for weeks beforehand. On Rosh Hashanah, each individual is judged on the merit of his deeds. Whether he will live out the year or not. Whether he will […]

The_United_Nations_Building

It is in the nature of the Nations of the World to be hostile towards the Jewish People.

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

First, how could a beis din of 23 judges present a guilty verdict in a capital punishment case? After all, only a majority of the 23 judges ruled in favor of his verdict.

Of paramount importance is that both the king and his people realize that while he is the leader, he is still a subject of God.

Untimely News
‘A Mourner Is Forbidden To Wear Shoes…’
(Mo’ed Katan 20b)

Question: The Gemara in Berachot states that the sages authored our prayers. Does that mean we didn’t pray beforehand?

Menachem
Via Email

When a person feels he can control the destiny of other people, he runs the risk of feeling self-important, significant, and mighty.

Needless to say, it was done and they formed a great relationship as his friend and mentor. He started attending services and volunteered his time all along putting on tefillin.

He took me to a room filled with computer equipment and said, “You pray here for as long as you want.” I couldn’t believe my ears.

On Friday afternoon, Dov called Kalman. “Please make sure to return the keys for the car on Motzaei Shabbos,” he said. “We have a bris on Sunday morning and we’re all going. We also need the roof luggage bag.”

On Chol HaMoed some work is prohibited and some is permitted. According to some opinions, the work prohibition is biblical; according to others, it’s rabbinical.

If there is a mitzvas minuy dayanim in the Diaspora, then why is there a difference between Israel and the Diaspora in the number of judges and their distribution?

Judaism is a religion of love but also a religion of justice, for without justice, love corrupts.

The time immediately preceding Mashiach’s arrival is likened to the birth pangs of a woman in labor.

More Articles from Rabbi Yaakov Klass
Questions-Answers-logo

Question: The Gemara in Berachot states that the sages authored our prayers. Does that mean we didn’t pray beforehand?

Menachem
Via Email

Question: The Gemara in Berachot states that the sages authored our prayers. Does that mean we didn’t pray beforehand?

Menachem
Via Email

A CPE class at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center in Brooklyn was tailor made for Orthodox participants.

Question: The Gemara in Berachot states that the sages authored our prayers. Does that mean we didn’t pray beforehand?

Menachem
Via Email

Question: The Gemara in Berachot states that the sages authored our prayers. Does that mean we didn’t pray beforehand?

Menachem
(Via E-Mail)

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/ask-the-rabbi/q-a-netilat-yadayim-conclusion/2001/06/01/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: