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Morning Handwashing

Practical Parshah—Ki Tisa

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Morning Handwashing: Practical Parshah—Ki Tisa

The priests would wash their hands in the laver (“kiyor”) each morning before working in the Temple. What are the laws of the morning handwashing ritual?
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Parshah, Netilat Yadayim, Ki Tisa

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Kelly McDowell Georgetown, Ontario Canada via November 12, 2017

Todah, this was an amazing lesson! Very helpful for a Gentile, and hopeful convert.
The details were very helpful, I doubt I would have found them on my own.
As the teacher says, the internet is good for learning! Reply

Rabbi Mendel Kaplan Thornhill, Ontario February 18, 2013

Response We do recite a blessing before washing for Hamotzei ( bread), your other suppositions are correct. The problem with reciting a blessing immediately upon washing our hands in the morning is multifaceted: first of all the water that we used sits in the basin before us– disabling us from reciting G-d's name (as that basin must be and the first). Secondly, we are often not properly dressed– again something that may disable us from reciting a blessing. Thirdly, G-d's name is generally only verbalized after one's mouth is cleansed from the plaque/uncleanliness that gathers their while one sleeps. Hope that helps… Reply

MAsa CHava Staffin SKokie-Evanston January 20, 2013

DO we only say " natilas yadiym" the second time we wash our hands in the morning and not before hamotzi and not before our washings before davening, correct? Also could the morning blessings be said after the 1st handwashing for the day and before the 2nd hand washing for the day?
Thanks so much for this beautiful presentation!!!
-Masha CHava Reply

Rabbi Mendel Kaplan Thornhill, Ontario January 2, 2013

the washing cup? ceramic, wood, plastic or other can all be used to fashion this cup… Hope that helps! Reply

rut USA December 30, 2012

Morning Handwashing Does the vessel for washing the hands need to be made of metal? Or could it be ceramic? I have a vessel with two handles but is made of ceramic. The handles are on each side not both on the same spot as the one I saw in a Chabad video on the washing of the hands. Thank you Rabbi Kaplan Reply

Rabbi Mendel Kaplan Thornhill, Ontario March 9, 2012

Modeh Ani/Bracha The first handwashing requires no blessing at all. Modeh Ani should certainly be recited upon awakening (prior to the handwashing) and the blessing should be recited after washing our hands for the second time. Hope that clarifies… On a side note; it's nice to see somebody showing interest from Norfolk – my birthplace! Reply

Leo Norfolk, VA March 8, 2012

Modeh Ani Should the hand washing beracha be said before Modeh Ani? I thought as soon as your awake you should say Modeh Ani thanking G-d for returning your soul. Reply

Anonymous Oakhurst, NJ June 20, 2011

Siddur Tehilas Hashem translates “netilas” as “taking” by the beracha for the lulav but translates the same word as “washing” by hand washing.

1) Shouldn’t the beracha be “al netilas mayim”? After all, we are taking the water and we and we are not taking our hands. What is meant by saying “taking our hands”? We cannot take what we already have!

2) Why isn’t washing the hands included in the beracha? Shouldn’t it be “al netilas u’rechitzas yadayim” since the mitzvah is also to wash the hands because if one just takes water to fill the cup and does not wash, it is not correct? So why is the beracha only “al netilas yadayim” when taking the water is only part of the mitzvah? Reply

Rabbi Mendel Kaplan Thornhill, Ontario May 3, 2011

Response to shalom If you listen to the full lecture you will see that we don't wash our feet at all as a preparation for prayer today. The Kohanim in the Beit HaMikdash had to walk barefoot or their priestly service was rendered unfit. As such, it is clear that they were involved in the "avoda" with both hands and feet in the most literal sense. Ultimately whilst the general concept is lifted from Temple service the details are not identical. A case in point would be the fact that we don't wash from a "kiyor" but rather an ordinary tap etc. I hope this helps… Reply

nathan cairo, egypt May 2, 2011

shalom When the priest washed, he washed hand and foot. What about the people of Yisrael today? Why don't they wash the hand and foot? Reply

Anonymous Thornhill, ON via February 21, 2011

Thank You for the lecture My son has some questions on washing hands so listen to your lecture, very well done as always. Reply

binh tran fremont, ca February 19, 2011

Priestly washings Thanks Rabi M. Kapplan, morning hand-washing is new for me. Great teaching always. Reply

Uri Yitzchak Orlando, FL February 17, 2011

Rabbi Kaplan; thank you so much again for teaching us Torah in such a beautiful and interesting way; I look forward every week for these lectures. May G-d give you much joy for your work. Reply

Each week, Rabbi Mendel Kaplan will delve into that week's Torah reading to bring out a practical lesson for life and explain the Biblical sources for the customs, laws, practices and ethics of our people.
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