Upon Awakening

• When one awakens in the morning, one must immediately recognize and appreciate the kindness G‑d has done with them. Not only has G‑d returned the soul which had been entrusted to Him the night before, He's returned the soul refreshed and rejuvenated, unlike the tired and weary soul which had been given over the previous night. Hence, while still in bed, even before he washes his hands, he should say Modeh Ani - "I offer thanks to you..." Since the Modeh Ani does not contain G‑d's name, one is permitted to say it before washing their hands. By saying Modeh Ani immediately upon awakening, he will realize that G‑d is in his midst and will immediately get out of bed and prepare himself for the service of G‑d1.

The Modeh Ani prayer:

Transliteration: Modeh Ani Lefonecha Melech Chai Vikayom, Shehechezarta Bi Nishmasi Bechemlah. Rabah Emunashecho.

Translation: I offer thanks to You, living and eternal King, for You have mercifully restored my soul within me; Your faithfulness is great

• When saying the Modeh Ani in the morning, one must make sure to make a slight pause between the words "bechemlah" - "...within me" and "rabah" - "Your faithfulness2."

Washing the Hands

• One should not walk more then four cubits from his bed before washing his hands upon arising in the morning (Netilat Yadayim or Negel Vasser)3. Many have the custom not to touch their clothes or walk even the four cubits from their bed. To be able to do this, many prepare on the side of their beds water in a cup and basin prior to retiring at night. The Alter Rebbe writes that one who is G‑d fearing should follow the directives of the Zohar.

• Prior to washing one's hands in the morning one should not touch the following with his hands: His mouth, eyes, nose, ears or any other part of the body which has openings. Neither should one touch food or drink and clothing. Women in particular must be careful in regard to touching food prior to washing their hands, since they handle most of the food at home. Likewise, one must be very cautious not to dip his fingers inadvertently into the water he will be using for the washing of their hands, because by dipping the unwashed finger into the water he has made the water unclean and unfit for washing4.

• Generally, nowadays, one is lenient in regard to using foods which have been handled by people before washing their hands in the morning, since there are so many people who are not careful with washing their hands properly, and much of the commercially sold products have this problem5.

Saying G‑d's Name

• One should not say any blessings or pronounce G‑d's name without first washing out one's mouth, since one accumulates saliva in his mouth during sleeping6.

• In the morning, after one washes ones hands upon arising, one does not say the blessing of "Al Netilat Yadaim" immediately. Rather, they should rinse their mouth first. Additionally, since it's normal for one to have to relieve oneself upon awakening, one should first use the bathroom and upon leaving the bathroom, wash his hands a second time and only then say the blessing.

The Blessing:

Transliteration: Boruch A-toh Ado-noi E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ho-olom A-sher Ki-de-sha-nu Be-mitz-vo-sov Vi-tzi-vo-nu Al Ne-Ti-Lat Ya-Dayim.

Translation: Blessed are You, L-rd our G‑d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us concerning the washing of the hands.

• If he does not need to relieve himself, then he should try to say the the blessing as close in time to the washing of his hands the first time7.