Siman 157 Seif 1:
1. When the fourth hour arrives one should have a meal. If one is a Torah scholar and was engaged in Torah study he may wait until the sixth hour but should not delay any further since after that it is comparable to throwing a stone into a wine sack if he did not eat anything earlier in the day.
Siman 158 Seifim 13
1. When one will eat bread that requires המוציא he must wash his hands even if he knows that they are not tamei and recite .על נטילת ידים When eating bread that does not require המוציא , e.g. small rolls or pas haba’ah b’kisnin (bread made with sugar, almonds and hazelnuts) and one is not making this his meal he is not required to wash.
2. There is an opinion that maintains that if one will eat less than an egg’s volume of bread he should wash but should not recite the beracha.
3. If one eats less than an olive’s volume of bread there is an authority who maintains that he is not required to wash.
4. If one eats food that is dipped in one of the seven liquids whose mnemonic is י”ד שח”ט דם (wine, honey, oil, milk, dew, blood and water) and it is not dried off one is required to wash without reciting the beracha even if one’s hand does not touch a wet part of the food. Even if one immerses only the top of the fruit or vegetable he must still wash without reciting the beracha.
5. Someone who washes his hands to eat fruit is behaving in a haughty manner but only if he washes as an obligation but if he washes for cleanliness purposes it is permitted. Regarding roasted meat it appears from some authorities that even though juice oozes out, it is comparable to fruit. A cooked food of wheat that is dried is similar to fruit.
6. One who drinks is not required to wash even one hand (See below siman 170).
7. If one washed his hands to eat something that is dipped in liquid and then decides to eat bread, there is an opinion who maintains that the first washing is insufficient and certainly if one washed his hands without the intent to eat and then decided to eat the first washing was insufficient. If one did not become distracted he should wash without reciting the beracha. If while eating one touched a “dirty” part of the body he must wash again, see below siman 164 (where this halacha is repeated and it is explained that he must also recite the beracha again.)
8. One in the desert or dangerous place and does not have water is exempt from washing his hands.
9. It is appropriate to be careful regarding hand washing since one who disparages washing is liable to excommunication, will become impoverished and will be uprooted from the world.
10. Even though a revi’is (meaning a quarter of a log which is the volume of an egg and a half) of water is sufficient one should pour generously as R’ Chisda related, “I wash with many handfuls of water and I received many handfuls of goodness.”
11. One recites the beracha before washing since the beracha is recited before performing all the mitzvos. The custom is not to recite the beracha until after washing since there are times when a person’s hand are not clean and for this reason the beracha is recited after rubbing one’s hands so that they are already clean before one pours water on them a second time. One may recite the beracha before drying one’s hands since drying one’s hands is also part of the mitzvah and it is considered before the mitzvah. If one forgot and did not recite the beracha until after drying his hands he may recite the beracha then.
12. One should dry his hands well before cutting the bread since one who eats without drying his hands is comparable to one who eats tamei bread.
13. One who immerses his hands may eat without drying them and the same is true if one washes his hands at once and pours on his hands a revi’is of water at one time or if he pours a revi’is of water on one hand and then a revi’is of water on the other hand.
Siman 159 Seifim 20
1. One must wash his hands with a utensil. Any utensil is acceptable even one made from excrement, stone or earth. The utensil must have a capacity of at least a revi’is. If there is hole that allows liquid into the utensil, meaning if one were to place the hole on a liquid the liquid would seep into the utensil and this is larger than a hole that allows a liquid to drip out of the utensil, it is no longer considered a utensil and may not be used for washing even if it could retain a revi’is below the hole.
2. This (the halacha mentioned in the previous seif) is true only if one will wash from the opening on top so that the hole in the side nullifies the part above it from being considered a utensil and it is not considered as though one is washing from a utensil. However, if one pours water out of the hole it is permitted since the utensil contains a revi’is below the hole.
3. A utensil that holds a revi’is if it is supported but if it is not supported the water will spill out leaving less than a revi’is is not considered a utensil. Therefore, the cover of a barrel that comes to a point and cannot contain a revi’is if it is not supported may not be used for washing. If one widened the bottom so that it can contain a revi’is while it sits without support, it may be used for washing.
4. A חמת or a כפישה which are types of leather pouches which were made with a stand may be used for washing. A שק or a קפה that were made to sit without support and coated with pitch so that they could contain liquids may not be used to wash one’s hands since they are not designed to contain liquids. The same is true for a hat made from felt, even if it is hard enough that it could hold water without it seeping out since it was not made to hold water. In a pressing circumstance they may be used since travelers regularly drink from them.
5. If a utensil was originally made where it could not stand without support but is only used in conjunction with support is considered a utensil. Therefore, a utensil filled with holes on the bottom with a narrow mouth and when one places his finger on the opening the water does not pour out but when he removes his finger the water pours out, it may be used for washing even though it can’t hold anything since it was made to hold water in this manner and for this primary use it is considered a utensil. Certainly a utensil with a plughole on the bottom may be used since it was made to hold water with the plughole in place.
6. One may not pour water onto a friend’s hands with one’s hands since washing requires a utensil. Similarly, if one poured from a utensil onto his hand and then poured that water from that hand onto his other hand it is not effective. Rabbeinu Tam permits this since the washing onto the first hand was from a utensil. This allowance assumes that his first hand was tahor, e.g. he poured a full revi’is onto that hand. The custom is to be lenient in accordance with Rabbeinu Tam but the first rationale is more correct, therefore, one should be stringent in accordance with that line of reasoning.
7. The water has to reach one’s hands as a result of the force of someone pouring the water. Therefore, someone who draws water from the river and pours it into a pipe and from there it flows to water a field, one may not put his hands in the running water since it is not running as a result of human force being that the force of the one who poured the water has ceased. If one puts his hands close to where the water is poured, even though it is not beneath the pouring water it is an effective washing for as long as it is near where the water is poured it is considered as though the water is moving from the force of the one who poured it. If one immersed his hands in the running water they are not tahor from that immersion since that water was drawn. This applies when the water is poured directly in the pipe but if the water is poured out of the pipe and it flows from the ground into the pipe – hamshachah – and one immersed his hands in the water in the pipe his hands are tahor since drawn water that was nimshach is valid. Even if the water is poured directly into the pipe if the bucket that is used to draw the water has a hole in it that allows water to enter the bucket and while he is pouring water into the pipe it is pouring out the hole one may immerse his hands in that water and they will be tahor since it is considered as though one immersed his hands in the river since the stream connects the water in the bucket to the river even though the stream does not connect to the river if one wants to immerse his entire body. Some authorities disagree and contend that even for washing one’s hands this stream does not connect the water in the bucket with the water in the river. One should not wash from those stones that are attached to the wall that have a receptacle and a plughole but if it was originally made as utensil and then attached to the wall it may be used for netilas yadayim.
8. If one inserted his hands into a utensil filled with water and agitated the water – if the utensil is attached to the ground he has not properly washed his hands but if the utensil is not attached to the ground some authorities maintain that he has properly washed his hands and others say that he did not In a difficult circumstance one may rely upon the lenient position. If later on one has the opportunity to wash again he should do so without reciting the beracha.
9. One may take a barrel between his legs and wash from it. If it was on the ground and water was pouring out or if it was standing and water was pouring out of a hole in the side and one put his hands into that flow of water he did not properly wash his hands. If there was a plughole in the hole and one removed the plughole and the water poured on his hands it is considered as though the water is pouring from a person’s force. It must be reinserted and removed for each washing.
10. If one tipped a barrel filled with water and left and the water continues to pour out throughout the day as a result of the person’s tipping and he washed his hands in that water the netilah was valid.
11. Anyone is fit to pour water on someone’s hands, even someone deaf- mute, insane, a minor, a gentile or a niddah (there is an opinion that maintains that a child less than six has the same halacha as a monkey).
12. If a monkey pours the water there are authorities that invalidate the washing and other validate and that opinion seems correct (but nevertheless one should be stringent).
13. L’chatchila, one should intend for the washing to make one’s hands fit for eating (and the intent of the one who is pouring is also sufficient even l’chatchila even if the one who’s hands are being washed did not have this intent).
14. If one immersed his hands in a spring, even if it contains less than forty seah the immersion is effective as long as he immerses his entire hand at once. If he immersed his hands in a mikvah some maintain that it is the same as a spring and others require forty seah and halacha follows the lenient opinion (One should l’chatchila be stringent).
15. If rain water is running (flowing and moving rather than gathered in one spot) and contains forty seah there is room for doubt that perhaps one could immerse his hands in the water.
16. If forty seah of drawn water is in the ground according to Rambam one may not immerse his hands in the water but according to Ra’avad it is valid. If one was ממשיך drawn water, even all of it, according to Rambam one may immerse his hands in it.
17. One should not take water from a river with one hand and pour on his other hand since he will not have washed or immersed his hands.
18. If one washed one hand and immersed the other, his hands are tahor.
19. One who immerses his hands does not have to immerse them twice, nor is he required to dry his hands or lift them.
20. One who immerses his hands does not say על טבילת ידים , he should recite the standard על נטילת ידים . Some say that he should recite על טבילת ידים or על שטיפת ידים and this opinion is primary.
Siman 160 Seifim 15
1. Water whose appearance changed, whether by itself, whether something fell into it or whether from the place where it was stored, it is invalid for washing.
2. If one did some sort of work with the water it is invalid, for example, if one soaked his bread in water, even if his intent was to soak it in one container and he soaked it in another. If one chilled wine in water the water is invalid. If one washed dishes in water the water is invalid but if the dishes were clean or new they remain fit for use. If a baker immersed loaves in water they are unfit for use but if he merely immersed his hands and rubbed them on the loaves or if he took a handful of water for this purpose the water that remains was not used for work and therefore is valid for use if the color did not change. (The same halacha is true regarding the water that the baker used to wash his hands of the dough that stuck to them.)
3. The water before a blacksmith, even though its color did not change is invalid since it is known that it was used for work, i.e. cooling iron. Water before a barber is invalid if its appearance changed but if not it is valid.
4. There is an opinion that maintains that water from which a chicken drank or which a dog lapped up is invalid but that opinion appears incorrect and these waters or waters from which other creatures drank remains valid.
5. Only drawn water becomes invalidated if work was done with it, whether the water is currently in a utensil or in the ground but mikvah water and spring water while still connected to the spring does not become invalidated if work was done with it.
6. Water heated by fire may be used to wash one’s hands even if the water is yad soledes bo (hot enough that a child’s abdomen would become burned).
7. One may immerse his hands in the hot springs of Tiberias but he may not wash his hands with that water. If he directed the water on the ground via a groove away from its place and cut it off from the spring that flows and it contains the water necessary to constitute a mikvah one may immerse his hands there but if the water does not contain that quantity it may not be used. If the groove is connected to the hot water in the spring according to Rashi and Rashba one may not immerse his hands there but according to Rabbeinu Yonah one may immerse his hands there.
8. The reason the hot springs of Tiberias may not be used is that the water is bitter and unfit for consumption by a dog. If one were to find hot springs that flow which produces water that is fit for consumption by a dog it may be used for washing.
9. Water that is salty, has a foul odor or is bitter to the degree that a dog would not drink from it is invalid for washing even though it remains valid for immersing in a mikvah. If it is cloudy as a result of clay that is mixed in but a dog would still drink it the water may be used for washing but if a dog would not drink it the water is invalid.
10. One may wash with anything that originates from water, for example, red יבחושים (worms) or fish oil. It is logical that this is limited to where one ground them up since they are no better than snow.
11. If there is water about which one is uncertain whether it was used for work or if one is uncertain whether he has the minimum quantity of water or whether the water is tamei or tahor or if one is uncertain whether he washed his hands already or not one may be lenient (and any uncertainty regarding the taharah of one’s hands he may be lenient.) There is an opinion that maintains that if one has other water available he should wash his hands again to remove any doubt. If someone who did not wash his hands touched water the water does not become invalidated for washing and is not considered tamei but it is prohibited to wash one’s hands with water that a friend already used to wash his hands.
12. Snow, hail, frozen rain, ice (meaning, water that froze from the cold) and salt that were ground into liquid may be used for washing or for immersing one’s hands if there is a sufficient volume of them (See Yoreh Deah 201:30). There is an opinion that maintains that one may only use water. Some maintain that wine may be used for washing one’s hands regardless of whether one added water or not. However, it is prohibited l’chatchila to do so that one should not disrespect something important which has changed for the better (meaning for praise) to the point that it has its own unique beracha. (Some say that this is limited to white wine as opposed to red wine.) There is an opinion that maintains that any fruit juice may be used for washing in a pressing circumstance (and it is certainly permitted in a pressing circumstance to wash with beer or cooked honey water which is primarily water.
13. It is necessary to have a revi’is of water. This requirement is for one person but when two people will wash together the last person does not require a revi’is even if they wash successively as long as the stream does not break. How does this work? If there was a revi’is in a utensil and one stretched out his hands and someone poured water over his hands and then a second person came along and stretched out his hands beneath the first person’s hands but close by and the stream pours on the first person’s hands and on the second person’s hands that are beneath them, both of their hands are tahor even though a revi’is of water does not reach the second person’s hands since the water that reaches his hands is leftover from tahor water. Some authorities permit this even if they wash consecutively since when the first person began to wash there was a revi’is of water it is effective even for the second person since the water is leftover from tahor water. Three or four people could wash from half a log and a full log could be used to wash numerous people’s hands as long as there is enough water to pour on their hands three times. (Similarly,) four or five people could align their hands horizontally or vertically and wash them all at once as long as there is some space between their hands so that the water will reach all of their hands.
14. The revi’is has to be gathered in a single utensil for if one washed from an eighth of a log and then from another eighth of a log his hands remain tamei.
15. The revi’is requirement applies whether one’s hands are large or small. If two people washed, the first person one hand and the second person one סימן ק”ס סעיף י”ג-ט”ו hand and then the second person washed his second hand it is comparable to three people washing their hands and a utensil that contains half a log is required for their hands to become tahor. If the utensil does not contain half a log his second hand is not tahor since more than two people cannot wash with less than half a log.
Siman 161 Seifim 4
1. One must be cautious regarding interpositions because anything that intervenes for immersion intervenes for washing. For example, dirt under one’s fingernail which is not on the skin, dough under one’s fingernail even where it is on the skin, a bandage with ointment, clay from pits and clay used by pottery makers. If the intervening substance covers only a minority of one’s hand and one is not particular about its presence there is no reason for concern. For this reason people do not clean clay from under their fingernails for washing since it covers only a minority of their hand and people are not particular about its presence since people are not particular to remove it for washing. If, however, one is particular he must remove it and this opinion should be followed. It is possible to be lenient regarding interpositions regarding washing since there are opinions that maintain that there are no issues of interpositions for washing but halacha follows the first opinion.
2. Any material that one is not particular about is not an interposition. Something that some people are particular about and others are not particular about, for the one who is particular it constitutes an interposition but for those who are not particular it is not an interposition. If someone works with dye and his hands have dye on them the dye is not an interposition even if his hand has actual substance on them. If one is not a dyer and his hands are colored with actual dye substance it is an interposition since dry dye is an interposition but moist is not an interposition. Similarly, women who color their hands to beautify them or something similar, the coloring is not an interposition (a scab on one’s hands and one is not particular about it is not an interposition).
3. One must remove a ring from his hand when washing even if it is loose, and even if one is not particular about its presence while washing since one is particular about it when one does work so that it should not become soiled. Some have the custom to be lenient if the ring is loose but one should be stringent since we are not experts in what constitutes loose.
4. The part of one’s hand that must be washed is to the wrist. According to some it is sufficient to wash until the place that one’s fingers attach to one’s palm and it is appropriate to follow the first opinion.
Siman 162 Seifim 10
1. One who washes must lift his hands (meaning the tops of his fingers) up so that the water does not drip beyond his wrist and then return back to his hands making them tamei. One may also have his hands pointed downwards from the time he begins to wash until he is finished; the main thing is to be careful not to start with his hands facing upwards and then lower them since this will cause the water to drip past his wrist and make his hands tamei when they return. The restriction applies when one does not wash his hand to the wrist but one who washes his hand to the wrist does not have to lift his hands (some authorities disagree about this). Similarly, if one poured a full revi’is on both hands at once since there is no tamei water he does not have to lift his hands. One who immerses his hands is also not required to lift his hands. (Some maintain that one who pours water on his hands three times is not required to be cautious about this matter and the custom is in accordance with his position.)
2. When washing one should pour some of the revi’is to remove the dirt and any substance that could constitute an interposition. He should then pour a second time and this water is tamei. When he pours water a third time he makes the water on his hands tahor. If his hands are not dirty and have no intervening substance he may wash both hands with a revi’is and does not have to pour a second time. Similarly, if one has an abundance of water he may wash first to remove the dirt and then pour an entire revi’is without the need for pouring a third time. One who washes his hands must rub them together.
3. If one washed part of his hand and then washed the remaining portion of his hand, his hand is tamei as it was originally since hands cannot be washed in halves. If his hand was still wet ( טופח על מנת להטפיח ) when he poured water on the second part of his hand it is tahor. This applies to the first pouring but regarding the second pouring it is acceptable to wash one part of the hand and then the other part.
4. If one poured water onto one hand and rubbed that hand on the other he has not effectively washed his hands, even if afterwards he poured water on both of his hands. The reason is that the water he poured on his first hand became tamei and when he rubbed his hands together he made his second hand tamei and the second pouring of water only makes tahor the water that became tamei from that hand but not water that came from a second hand. Therefore, one who pours water from a vessel onto his hand and rubs his hand’s together must dry his hands and wash them again correctly. Accordingly, when washing one should have another person pour water on his hands. If another person is not available he should hold the vessel with his fingertips and pour the water onto his two hands at once. Alternatively, he could pour a full revi’is on each hand. Afterwards he should rub his hands together since after pouring a full revi’is it is not necessary to pour a second time being that a revi’is is comparable to immersion which does not require two times. If someone who did not wash his hands touches someone who washed his hands before they were dried he must rewash his hands since the other person’s hands made them tamei via the water. For this reason one must be cautious when pouring a third time, which is the second time besides the first pouring, to not touch his other hand until he pours water on the second hand. Alternatively, one may pour water on both hands together. If one washes each hand with a revi’is this issue is not a concern.
5. From what was written it should be clear that the capacity for one hand to make another tamei by rubbing them together is limited to where one washes one hand and then rubs his two hands together but if one wants to wash both hands together he may do so since both hands would be counted as one and would not make one another tamei. Even if four or five people put theirs hands next to one another or on top of one another they are considered a single hand and do not make one another tamei.
6. If one washed each of his hands independently and then decided to wash them the second time together and his two hands touched, his hands are tamei since they touched one another as they were brought together for the second washing being that the water that was on one hand made the water on the other hand tamei and when water was poured the second time the first water did not become tahor since it was tamei from the other hand. The opposite, in fact, occurred and the second water also becomes tamei and one must dry his hands and wash both hands again. One must certainly be cautious not to touch his hand that he washed once with his hand that he washed twice.
7. If one rubs his hands together he must be careful not to touch a part of the hand that was not washed since that part will make the washed part tamei.
8. If one washed his hand and wiped it on his head (Meaning he intended to dry his hand and that is why it did not become tamei as opposed to siman 164:2 where he scratched his head) or on the wall and then touched that water that came from his hand on his head or the wall it is t’mei’ah. The reason is that the tamei water went ahead and made his hand tamei again. Even though had he not touched the water his hand would be tahor as a result of rubbing the water off, now that he touched it he made it worse. We have already explained that one who pours a revi’is at once is not included in these halachos since there is no tamei water.
9. When one pours water on his hands the first time he must be careful that wood or stones or anything else are not on one’s hands since the water can only make the water on one’s hands tahor but not the water that is on the pebble. If one pours a revi’is at once one need not be concerned with these issues.
10. If one has a wound on his hand with a bandage on top of it, it is sufficient to wash his hand other than the bandage. He must be careful not to touch the bandage so that the water does not come off the bandage back onto his hand making it tamei. Alternatively, he can pour a revi’is on his hand so that the water should become tamei. The water poured on one’s hands before the meal may be poured onto a utensil or on the ground.
Siman 163 Seifim 2
1. If water is not available within four mil of the direction that one is travelling or one mil in the opposite direction he should wrap his hands in a cloth and eat the bread or the food that is dipped in liquid (or eat with a spoon).
2. Someone who feeds others is not required to wash but the one eating is required to wash even though someone else is putting food in his mouth and he does not touch the food. The same is true for someone who eats with a מגרפה (a utensil with teeth) that he must wash his hands. (It is prohibited to feed someone who does not wash his hands due to the prohibition of ‘ (.לפני עור וכו
Siman 164 Seifim 2
1. A person may wash his hands in the morning and stipulate that it should be effective for the entire day even if it is not a pressing circumstance as long as he is able to not become distracted from his hands (or make them dirty). If water is readily available it is preferred that he wash again but he should not repeat the beracha. The stipulation is effective only if the washing was not for eating but if one will be eating he may not make this stipulation.
2. If one is in the middle of a meal and realizes that he touched his calf or thigh or other covered parts of the body or if he scratched his head or something similar (e.g., dirty parts of the body where sweat gathers), he must wash again and repeat the beracha of .על נטילת ידים
Siman 165 Seifim 2
1. One who relieved himself and will then eat a meal must wash twice. After the first washing he should recite אשר יצר and after the second washing he should recite על נטילת ידים . If he wants to wash only once he should recite אשר יצר after he poured the water once and rubbed his hands and על נטילת ידים while he is drying his hands.
2. If many people are eating together at a meal the greatest amongst them washes his hands first. The Rosh was accustomed to wash last in order not to interrupt or speak.