Tum’a Removal part 2 – Handwashing

HANDWASHING: ONE-TIME METHOD
When To Use the One-Time Handwashing Method
Use the One-Time Method to wash hands from tum’a:

Before…

  • Eating bread.
  • Prayer services.

After…

  • Cutting fingernails or toenails.
  • Getting a haircut or shaving.
  • Giving blood.
  • Urinating or defecating.
  • Scratching the hair on your head.
  • Touching leather shoes (not after touching synthetic or cloth shoes).
  • Touching normally covered parts of your body.
  • Touching a pet.
How To Wash Hands the One-Time Method

To wash hands the One-Time Method:

  • Fill the washing cup with at least 3.3 fl. oz. (99 ml) of water.
  • Pour enough water (may be as little as 1.3 fl. oz.–39 ml, or 1/6 cup) from the washing cup to completely cover your entire first hand (either hand may be first but it is proper to wash your right hand first).
  • Pour enough water to completely cover the second hand.
NOTE: You do not need to pour any more than that or to break up the revi’it into two pours.

Drying Hands after Washing for Bread

When washing your hands before eating bread, the ideal procedure is to wash, say the blessing al netilat yadayim, and then dry your hands (since the drying is part of the washing procedure). Many people have the custom of pouring water onto each hand twice but only before eating bread.

NOTE: If you washed your hands, dried them, and then said the blessing al netilat yadayimb’di’avad you are covered. But if you washed your hands and dried them but did not yet say the blessing al netilat yadayim, you should touch a normally covered part of your body, wash your hands again, say al netilat yadayim, and go on to say ha’motzi on bread.
HANDWASHING: THREE-TIMES METHOD

When To Use the Three-Times Method

Use the Three-Times Method to wash hands from tum’a after…

  • Sleeping 30 minutes or more,
  • Intercourse,
  • Touching a dead person,
  • Being in a building with a dead person,
  • Being in a funeral procession,
  • Visiting a cemetery.

These are the only times we wash the three-times way.

How To Wash Hands Using the Three-Times Method

To wash hands the Three-Times Method:

  • Fill the washing cup with at least 3.3 fl. oz. (99 ml) of water for the first pair of pours.
  • Pour enough water (may be as little as 1.3 fl. oz.–39 ml, or 1/6 cup) from the washing cup to completely cover your entire first hand (either hand may be first, but it is proper to wash your right hand first).
  • Pour enough water to completely cover the second hand.
  • Repeat the pouring twice more, alternating hands, until each hand has been completely covered a total of three times.
NOTE: There is no minimum required volume for the subsequent pours, and you may refill the cup in order to have enough water to cover each hand for all three pairs of pours.
TUM’A REMOVAL: WASHING CUP

Washing Cup Spout

If a washing utensil has a spout that is lower than the rim, pour only from the spout. If the spout is higher than the rim, pour off of the side or back, opposite the lowest edge level.
REASON: The principle is that water may only be poured from the lowest level that can hold water.

Squeeze Bottle as Washing Cup

You may wash your hands for any halachic purpose using a squeeze bottle.
TUM’A REMOVAL: WASHING WATER

Evaporated Washing Water

Washing water does not have any residual tum’a once it has evaporated.

Reusing Washing Water

You may re-use washing water for other purposes (e.g., to irrigate plants) EXCEPT for water used after waking from sleep and the other three-time handwashing categories (which have higher levels of tum’a).

Praying if No Water for Handwashing

If there is no water to wash hands, even after sleeping, you still say blessings and prayers. You should say asher yatzar even if you can’t wash, but do not say al netilat yadayim in shacharit!

NOTE: Even if you do not have water with which to wash your hands, you should wipe them off on a towel or some substance that can rub off any physical impurities that you may have gotten on them while sleeping.

Copyright 2015 Richard B. Aiken. Halacha L’Maaseh appears courtesy of www.practicalhalacha.com Visit their website for more information.