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Shulchan Aruch: Chapter 164 - License to Make a Stipulation Regarding the Washing of One’s Hands

Shulchan Aruch: Chapter 164 - License to Make a Stipulation Regarding the Washing of One’s Hands

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SECTION 164 License to Make a Stipulation Regarding the Washing of One’s Hands. (1–2)

קסד שֶׁיָּכוֹל לְהַתְנוֹת עַל הַנְּטִילָה, וּבוֹ ב' סְעִיפִים:

1 A person may wash his hands in the morning1 and stipulate [that on the basis of this washing, he will be able to partake of bread throughout] the entire day.2 [This ruling applies] even when he is not in a pressing situation,3 provided he does not divert his attention from guarding [his hands] from touching places of filth. If he wears gloves, then there is no more effective protection than this. Nevertheless, if water becomes readily available to him without having to seek it out, it is preferable for him to wash again, but not to recite a blessing.4

Making a stipulation is effective not only regarding the morning washing, but regarding any washing, at any time throughout the day, [even when] it was not performed for the sake of eating bread, e.g., [one washed to partake of] food dipped in liquid or he [washed after he] used the lavatory. [When washing,] he may stipulate that [the washing is also] for the sake of eating bread later. [That stipulation is necessary,] because one must wash his hands with the intent [that the washing will enable him to partake of bread], as stated in sec. 158[:13].5 Even though one should not recite the blessing Al netilas yadayim when washing before partaking of food dipped in liquid or after using the lavatory, and, when he eats [bread], he should also not recite the blessing Al netilas yadayim for his previous washing, [the fact that the blessing is not recited] is of no consequence. [The rationale is that] he is exempt from washing [at this time], since his hands have been minded [the entire time].6

One is, however, forbidden to wash [earlier] only for the sake of eating bread later, for the Sages ordained that the meal should follow directly after the washing.7 When, by contrast, one washes for a purpose other than for a meal, but stipulates that he be able to eat later on the basis of this washing, he is not obligated to eat at the time of washing. Afterwards, when he is ready to eat, he is exempt from [the obligation to] wash and our Sages’ ordinance [to partake of bread immediately after washing] does not apply to him at all. For our Sages ordained that one must eat immediately after [washing] only when one washes in order to eat. This person, by contrast, did not wash for eating, but for another purpose.

If, however, one washed his hands for [one] meal and he was mindful of his hands, that washing is also effective with regard to a later meal. Indeed, [in this instance,] it is not even necessary to make a stipulation, for a stipulation is necessary only [because one must wash with] the intent [to eat] and this person had that intent when he performed this washing.

At present, it is customary not to make stipulations with regard to washing, for there are authorities who maintain that a stipulation is effective only in a pressing situation. [Their rationale is that] they were concerned that when others would see a person partake of a meal without washing, they would think that he was a non-Jew and feed him forbidden food. Nevertheless, if a person is travelling in a carriage together with a non-Jew who will not wait for him [to wash], that is considered a pressing situation [and he may rely on a stipulation, as described above].

א נוֹטֵל אָדָם יָדָיו שַׁחֲרִית1 וּמַתְנֶה עֲלֵיהֶם לְכָל הַיּוֹם כֻּלּוֹ,א,2 אֲפִלּוּ שֶׁלֹּא בִּשְׁעַת הַדְּחָק,ב,3 וּבִלְבַד שֶׁלֹּא יַסִּיחַ דַּעְתּוֹ ג מִשְּׁמִירָתָן מִנְּגִיעָה בְּמָקוֹם מְטֻנָּף.ד וְאִם הִנִּיחָן בְּבָתֵּי יָדַיִם – אֵין לְךָ שְׁמִירָה מְעֻלָּה מִזּוֹ.ה וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם, אִם נִזְדַּמְּנוּ לוֹ מַיִם ו מוּכָנִים לְפָנָיו וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לִטְרֹחַ אַחֲרֵיהֶם ז – טוֹב שֶׁיַּחֲזֹר וְיִטֹּל, וְלֹא יְבָרֵךְ.4

וְלֹא בִּנְטִילַת שַׁחֲרִית לְבַד מוֹעִיל תְּנַאי, אֶלָּא כָּל הַיּוֹם, בְּכָל זְמַן שֶׁנּוֹטֵל יָדָיו שֶׁלֹּא לְצֹרֶךְ אֲכִילַת פַּת, כְּגוֹן לְדָבָר שֶׁטִּבּוּלוֹ בְּמַשְׁקֶה,ח אוֹ שֶׁיּוֹצֵא מִבֵּית הַכִּסֵּא ט – מַתְנֶה עֲלֵיהֶן לַאֲכִילַת פַּת שֶׁיֹּאכַל אַחַר כָּךְ,י לְפִי יא שֶׁנְּטִילַת יָדַיִם צְרִיכָה כַּוָּנָה, כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן קנ"ח.יב,5 וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁטָּבַל בְּמַשְׁקֶה וְיוֹצֵא מִבֵּית הַכִּסֵּא לֹא יְבָרֵךְ "עַל נְטִילַת יָדָיִם", וּבִשְׁעַת אֲכִילָה גַּם כֵּן לֹא יְבָרֵךְ "עַל נְטִילַת יָדָיִם" עַל זֶה שֶׁנָּטַל כְּבָר – אֵין בְּכָךְ כְּלוּם, שֶׁהֲרֵי פָּטוּר הוּא מִן הַנְּטִילָה, כֵּיוָן שֶׁיָּדָיו שְׁמוּרוֹת.יג,6

אֲבָל אִם אֵינוֹ נוֹטֵל אֶלָּא לְצֹרֶךְ אֲכִילַת פַּת שֶׁיֹּאכַל אַחַר כָּךְ – אָסוּר, כִּי תַּקָּנַת חֲכָמִים הִיא שֶׁתְּהֵא תֵּכֶף לִנְטִילַת יָדַיִם סְעוּדָה,יד,7 מַה שֶּׁאֵין כֵּן כְּשֶׁנּוֹטֵל שֶׁלֹּא לְצֹרֶךְ אֲכִילַת פַּת אֶלָּא שֶׁמַּתְנֶה עֲלֵיהֶן שֶׁיּוּכַל לֶאֱכֹל עַל יְדֵי זֶה אַחַר כָּךְ, אֵינוֹ מְחֻיָּב כְּלָל לֶאֱכֹל עַכְשָׁו, וְאַחַר כָּךְ כְּשֶׁבָּא לֶאֱכֹל – כְּבָר הוּא פָּטוּר מִן הַנְּטִילָה, וְלֹא חָלָה עָלָיו תַּקָּנַת הַחֲכָמִים כְּלָל, שֶׁלֹּא תִּקְּנוּ אֶלָּא בְּנוֹטֵל לַאֲכִילָה שֶׁיֹּאכַל מִיָּד, וְזֶה לֹא נָטַל לַאֲכִילָה, אֶלָּא לְדָבָר אַחֵר.טו

וְאִם נָטַל יָדָיו לַאֲכִילָה – מוֹעֶלֶת נְטִילָה זוֹ גַּם לַאֲכִילָה אַחֶרֶת אִם שָׁמַר יָדָיו. וַאֲפִלּוּ תְּנַאי אֵין צָרִיךְ,טז שֶׁהַתְּנַאי אֵינוֹ אֶלָּא מִשּׁוּם כַּוָּנָה,יז וְזֶה נִתְכַּוֵּן (לִנְטִילָה בַּאֲכִילָה) [לַאֲכִילָה בִּנְטִילָה] זוֹ.

וְעַכְשָׁו נָהֲגוּ שֶׁלֹּא לְהַתְנוֹת עַל הַנְּטִילָה, לְפִי שֶׁיֵּשׁ אוֹמְרִים יח שֶׁאֵין תְּנַאי מוֹעִיל אֶלָּא בִּשְׁעַת הַדְּחָק, לְפִי שֶׁחָשְׁשׁוּ שֶׁמָּא יָבוֹאוּ לְהַאֲכִילוֹ דָּבָר הָאָסוּר כְּשֶׁיִּרְאוּהוּ אוֹכֵל בְּלֹא נְטִילָה, שֶׁיִּסְבְּרוּ שֶׁהוּא נָכְרִי. וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם, אִם יוֹשֵׁב בַּעֲגָלָה עִם נָכְרִי וְאֵין מַמְתִּינִים עָלָיו – הֲרֵי זֶה שְׁעַת הַדְּחָק: יט

2 If a person who is in the midst of a meal remembers that he touched a place of filth [after the initial washing], he must wash his hands again and recite the blessing Al netilas yadayim. If he touched such a place while a piece of bread is in his mouth, he should not swallow it until he washes his hands. The intent is not only a place of actual filth, but even [if he only touches] his calf, thigh, or [other] parts of the body that are usually covered. [They are considered like “places of filth,”] because dried perspiration is found there. This ruling also applies if one scratched his head or anything similar.8 (If, however, he merely rubbed his hand [on the hair] on his head from above, e.g., to dry it,9 but did not actually scratch within the hair on his scalp, there is no need for concern.)

Other authorities maintain that one should not recite a blessing for the washing of one’s hands in the middle of a meal, because [the blessing] was ordained only at the beginning of the meal. [They maintain that a second blessing is recited] only if one interrupted his meal, applied himself to another matter, and [thus] diverted his attention from watching over his hands.10 [In such a situation,] he must wash again and recite the blessing Al netilas yadayim, because it is considered as [if he began] a new meal, since he applied himself to another matter in the interim. Touching a place of filth — and even relieving oneself — does not, by contrast, warrant the recitation of a blessing for the washing of one’s hands.11

([The rationale is that] a person who performs one mitzvah twice does not recite a blessing the second time unless:

a) [after performing the mitzvah once], he applied himself to another matter, diverted his attention from [that mitzvah], and then changed his mind [and performed the mitzvah again];12 or

b) the mitzvah ceased on its own accord, [as it were,] and then, he performed it again, e.g., a person’s tallis slipped off him and fell, as explained in sec. 8[:23-6].13

[In this instance,] by contrast, the person either consciously interrupted the purity of his hands with the intent of purifying them again afterwards, or did so entirely unintentionally. Consciously, he would not have had them contract impurity except with the intent of purifying them again afterwards.14

[Accordingly, his actions] are not considered an interruption of the purity of [his hands] that requires him to recite a blessing when he purifies them again, since he did not divert his attention from their purification. [This premise is supported by the following law:] Even one who consciously removes his tallis without any intent [to put it on again] is not required to recite a second blessing if he is wearing a tallis katan [at that time]. For by doing so, he reveals his intent that he is not diverting his attention from this mitzvah even though he is not thinking about the tallis [he removed] at all and does not know whether he will wrap himself in it again [later on], as explained there. How much more so [is this true in this instance], when it is evident that he will return to the mitzvah, i.e., the purification of his hands, because he is taking part in a meal and has the intent of eating [further].)

(Weight should be given to their words and a lenient position taken with regard to a doubt whether to recite a blessing.)15

ב מִי שֶׁעוֹמֵד בִּסְעוּדָה וְנִזְכַּר שֶׁנָּגַע בְּמָקוֹם מְטֻנָּף – צָרִיךְ לַחֲזֹר וְלִטֹּל יָדָיו,כ וִיבָרֵךְ "עַל נְטִילַת יָדָיִם".כא וְאִם נָגַע בְּעוֹד הַפְּרוּסָה בְּפִיו – לֹא יִבְלַע עַד שֶׁיִּטֹּל יָדָיו.כב וְלֹא מְקוֹם הַטִּנֹּפֶת מַמָּשׁ, אֶלָּא אֲפִלּוּ שׁוֹק וְיָרֵךְ וּמְקוֹמוֹת הַמְּכֻסִּים בָּאָדָם, לְפִי שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהֶם מִלְמוּלֵי זֵעָה. וְכֵן אִם חִכֵּךְ בְּרֹאשׁוֹ, וְכָל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה כג,8 (אֲבָל אִם שִׁפְשֵׁף יָדָיו עַל רֹאשׁוֹ מִלְּמַעְלָה, כְּגוֹן כד לְנַגְּבָהּ,9 וְלֹא חִכֵּךְ בָּהּ תּוֹךְ הַשֵּׂעָר בְּרֹאשׁוֹ מַמָּשׁ – אֵין לָחֹשׁ).כה

וְיֵשׁ אוֹמְרִים כו שֶׁאֵין לְבָרֵךְ "עַל נְטִילַת יָדָיִם" בְּאֶמְצַע הַסְּעוּדָה, כִּי לֹא תִּקְּנוּ אֶלָּא בִּתְחִלָּתָהּ, אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן הִפְסִיק סְעוּדָתוֹ וְהָלַךְ לְהַפְלִיג בְּדָבָר אַחֵר וְהִסִּיחַ דַּעְתּוֹ מִשְּׁמִירַת יָדָיו, שֶׁצָּרִיךְ לַחֲזֹר וְלִטֹּל וּלְבָרֵךְ "עַל נְטִילַת יָדָיִם",כז,10 כִּי כִּסְעוּדָה אַחֶרֶת הִיא הוֹאִיל וְהִפְלִיג בֵּינְתַיִם, אֲבָל מִשּׁוּם נְגִיעָה בִּמְקוֹם הַטִּנֹּפֶת, וַאֲפִלּוּ עָשָׂה צְרָכָיו כח – אֵין לְבָרֵךְ "עַל נְטִילַת יָדָיִם".11

(שֶׁכָּל הָעוֹשֶׂה מִצְוָה אַחַת ב' פְּעָמִים – אֵינוֹ חוֹזֵר וּמְבָרֵךְ, אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן הִפְלִיג בֵּנְתַיִם, אוֹ שֶׁהִסִּיחַ דַּעְתּוֹ מִמֶּנָּה וְחָזַר וְנִמְלַךְ,12 אוֹ שֶׁפָּסְקָה הַמִּצְוָה מֵעַצְמָהּ וְחוֹזֵר לַעֲשׂוֹתָהּ, כְּגוֹן שֶׁנִּשְׁמְטָה וְנָפְלָה טַלִּיתוֹ מֵעָלָיו, כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר סִימָן ח'.כט,13 אֲבָל זֶה שֶׁהִפְסִיק טָהֳרַת יָדַיִם בְּיָדַיִם עַל מְנָת לַחֲזֹר וּלְטַהֲרָן, אוֹ שֶׁלֹּא מִדַּעַת כְּלָל, וּבְדַעְתּוֹ לֹא הָיָה מְטַמְּאָן כִּי אִם עַל דַּעַת לַחֲזֹר וּלְטַהֲרָן14 – אֵין זֶה חָשׁוּב הֶפְסֵק בְּטָהֳרָתָן לַחֲזֹר וּלְבָרֵךְ כְּשֶׁחוֹזֵר וּמְטַהֲרָן, כֵּיוָן שֶׁלֹּא הִסִּיחַ דַּעְתּוֹ מִלְּטַהֲרָן, שֶׁהֲרֵי אֲפִלּוּ מִי שֶׁמֵּסִיר טַלִּיתוֹ מִדַּעְתּוֹ בִּסְתָם – אֵין צָרִיךְ לַחֲזֹר וּלְבָרֵךְ אִם נִשְׁאַר עָלָיו טַלִּית קָטָן, שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּזֶה גִּלּוּי דַּעַת שֶׁאֵינוֹ מַסִּיחַ דַּעְתּוֹ מִמִּצְוָה זוֹ, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין בְּדַעְתּוֹ כְּלוּם עַל טַלִּית זוֹ, וְאֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ ל אִם יַחֲזֹר וְיִתְעַטֵּף בָּהּ, כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר שָׁם,לא כָּל שֶׁכֵּן זֶה שֶׁהַדָּבָר יָדוּעַ שֶׁבְּוַדַּאי יַחֲזֹר לְמִצְוָתוֹ לְטַהֵר אֶת יָדָיו, שֶׁהֲרֵי הוּא מֵסֵב בַּסְּעוּדָה וְדַעְתּוֹ לֶאֱכֹל).לב

(וְיֵשׁ לָחֹשׁ לְדִבְרֵיהֶם לְהָקֵל בִּסְפֵק בְּרָכוֹת): לג,15

From the Alter Rebbe’s later statements, it is evident that he is referring to the morning washing (negel vasser).
Chulin 106b. As mentioned in previous sections, at present, when running water is readily available, it is hard to conceive of the need for such practices. Nevertheless, in previous generations, a ready supply of water was far less available.

Even when travelling or touring, one should be able to find washing facilities en route. Use of water from the sink in a lavatory is normally discouraged, but is permissible in pressing circumstances (see Piskei Teshuvos 160:19). (Obviously, the blessing should not be recited in the lavatory. Where possible, the water should be removed from the lavatory before the washing as well.)

Although making a stipulation is acceptable in a pressing situation, one must bear in mind, however, that this is contingent upon not being distracted from keeping his hands pure. See the end of this subsection for further details.
Chulin 107a.
Since his initial washing is still valid, the blessing would be considered as having been recited in vain.
That source mentions a difference of opinion whether, after the fact, washing without the intent to observe the mitzvah is acceptable. All authorities agree, however, that, as an initial preference, such an intent is desired.
See similar concepts in sec. 158:13.
See Berachos 52b; see also sec. 166:1.
The Alter Rebbe’s Seder Netilas Yadayim, sec. 17, mentions also touching waste from one’s nose or ear.
See sec. 162:2 and also sec. 92:7.
Rashi (Yoma 30a) defines this lapse of attention as “a delay of an hour or two.” In his Igros Kodesh (Vol. 3, p. 211), the Rebbe explains the rationale: According to our Sages, the duration of an average meal is an hour; occasionally, however, a meal is extended beyond that time. As found in other related instances, the definition of an interval in which attention is likely to lapse is the time it would take to complete the entire matter itself. Therefore an interval of an hour or two would be considered as an interruption of a meal and — what is relevant here — one’s focus on the purity of his hands.
See sec. 165:1. Compare also to sec. 178:8 with regard to reciting the blessing HaMotzi again and sec. 25:30 with regard to reciting a second blessing for tefillin after an interruption.
E.g. a person intended to affix several mezuzos on various doorways, and then decided to stop doing so. Shortly thereafter, he changed his mind and decided to resume his activity and affix more mezuzos. He is obliged to recite the blessing again before affixing the additional mezuzos.
The issues mentioned here — diverting one’s attention and the tallis falling off — are discussed in the cited text.
I.e., whether the person consciously used the lavatory or unintentionally scratched his head, his intent was to interrupt the purity of his hands only momentarily.
For if the blessing is unnecessary, G‑d’s name will have been recited in vain. In his Seder Netilas Yadayim, loc. cit., the Alter Rebbe states that one should recite a blessing without mentioning G‑d’s name or His Sovereignty, i.e., Baruch Ata asher kidishanu….
רב חולין קו, ב.
שם קז, א וכלישנא בתרא. טור ושו"ע ס"א.
רמב"ם הל' ברכות פ"ו הי"ז. טור ושו"ע שם.
רש"י חולין שם ד"ה ומתנה. טור ורמ"א שם.
כל בו סי' כג בשם ה"ר דוד ב"ר לוי. ים של שלמה חולין פ"ח סי' מא. מ"א ס"ק ג.
סמ"ג עשין כז הל' נט"י. שו"ע שם.
מ"א ס"ק ד.
ראה לקמן סי' תעה ס"ב.
מ"א ס"ק ה. ואם רוצה לאכול מיד ע' לקמן רס"י קסה.
רבינו יונה ברכות ספ"ח (מא, ב) ד"ה נוטל. ב"י ד"ה ומ"ש רבינו פרץ. רמ"א ס"א.
מ"א שם וס"ק ב.
סעיף יג, מחלוקת אם מועיל בדיעבד בנמלך, וכאן כו"ע מודו שלכתחלה צריך להתנות ומועיל. וראה גם לעיל סי' קנט ס"כ.
ט"ז ס"ק ד. וראה כעין זה גם לעיל סי' קנח סוף סי"ג.
כדלקמן רס"י קסו וש"נ.
מ"א ס"ק ו.
מ"א שם.
מ"א ס"ק ב.
טור בשם סמ"ג עשין כז הל' נט"י. הגהת סמ"ק סי' קפא. מרדכי ברכות פ"ח רמז קצה. רש"ל בים של שלמה חולין פ"ח סי' כב. הובא במ"א ס"ק א.
רש"ל שם. מ"א שם.
וכ"ה בסדר נט"י לסעודה סי"ז.
שו"ת רשב"א ח"א סי' קצב ובמיוחסות לרמב"ן סי' קצה. שו"ע ס"ב.
מ"א ס"ק ז.
שו"ת רשב"א ח"א סי' קצג וסי' תשנה ובמיוחסות להרמב"ן שם. וראה גם לעיל סי' צב ס"ז.
בכת"י: כדי.
כדלעיל סי' קסב ס"ב וש"נ.
רש"ל בים של שלמה חולין פ"ח סי' מא. ט"ז ס"ק ה. מ"א ס"ק ח.
כדלקמן סי' קעח ס"ז. סי' קעט ס"ה. סי' קצז ס"א. סי' ר ס"ג. סדר ברה"נ פ"ה ה"ו.
ט"ז שם. וראה גם לקמן סי' קסה סוף ס"א. וראה גם לקמן סי' קעח ס"ח לענין ברכת המוציא. ועי' לעיל סי' כה ס"ל לענין הפסק בתפילין. וראה תהלה לדוד ס"ק ג.
סעיף כג (הסיח דעתו) כד (הפליג בינתיים) כו (נפלה). וראה גם לעיל סי' כה סל"ג, לענין נשמטו התפילין ממקום הנחתן: נגמרה המצוה השייכה לברכה שברך עליהם בתחלה וכשמחזירן למקומן מקיים מצות תפילין פעם שניה ולכן צריך לחזור ולברך. ושם סל"ב מחלק בין נשמטו בשעת התפלה לבין נשמטו שלא בשעת התפלה.
בכת"י: ידוע.
סעיף כה.
וראה גם לעיל שם סי' כה
ובסדר נט"י לסעודה סי"ז: ולכן יברך בלא שם ומלכות.
מתוך הספר "דורש טוב לכל עמו" בהוצאת "כפר חב"ד".
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