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Why do we ritually wash our hands when we wake up?

Why do we ritually wash our hands when we wake up?


A number of reasons are supplied for this washing:

a) During the course of the night, our souls ascend to the heavenly realms, where they "recharge"; drawing renewed life and energy for the following day. At that time, our bodies remain with only the lowest soul-powers—those that control our mechanical functions, such as the digestive and respiratory systems. The spiritual vacuum that ensues allows forces of impurity to cleave to the body. When we awaken in the morning we ritually wash our hands to remove the last remaining vestiges of these foreign influences.

b) G‑d returns our souls to our bodies every morning. The reason? There is a specific mission we have to accomplish today. We were given another day to serve G‑d. In this way, we are similar to the priest who is about to serve in the Holy Temple. Just as the priests were required to wash their hands before service, so, too, we wash our hands before beginning our day's service.

c) During the night, chances are that our hands have touched areas of our bodies which are normally covered. After touching such areas we are required to wash our hands before reciting the morning blessings and prayers.

Click here for more about the morning hand washing, including the prescribed procedure for this ritual.

Yours truly,

Rabbi Menachem Posner

Rabbi Menachem Posner serves as staff editor for
All names of persons and locations or other identifying features referenced in these questions have been omitted or changed to preserve the anonymity of the questioners.
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Jesse September 12, 2016

Response Awaited: Proof in the Bible Hello Posner,

Greetings once more. Can you please reply to my previous query? Awaiting your response. Reply

Ari Tirana June 14, 2017
in response to Jesse:

Hello dear Jesse
First of all a more respectful approach to the Rabbi won't hurt . As for your question , well you obviously are of the different religion so I don't think this website is a place where you can find your answers or have a religious debate.
Jews have their teachings and the others have theirs , the difference is that Jews won't force you have their beliefs or follow their teachings as others do.

Respectfully Reply

Jesse September 4, 2016

Proof in the Bible Hello Posner,

Where does it say in the Bible that our souls ascend and recharge in heaven? Which heaven are you talking about in the invisible worlds? Do give me a reference. Reply

M. Silverman milwaukee, wi / USA October 17, 2012

washing hands in the morning Dear Rabbi--

Will you explain forces of impurity cling to our bodies? If they are clinging to our bodies, how are they removed if we only wash our hands?
Respectfully, submitted,


robert neil solen davao city, philippines October 28, 2011

Thanks, now I know why we wash our hands. Reply

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