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What is the exact procedure for the morning hand-washing?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg


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– Upon awakening in the morning, one is not supposed to walk even four cubits (approx. 6 ft.) before Netilat Yadayim (ritual hand-washing). It is therefore customary to place a cup of water and a basin at bedside before going to sleep. [For Kabalistic reasons, the water should not be placed beneath the bed.]

– Immediately upon wakening, before Netilat Yadayim, the following is recited:
Modeh ani li-fa-ne-cha Melech chai ve-ka-yam, she-heche-zar-ta bee nish-ma-tee be-chem-lah rabbah ehm-una-techa.
[I offer thanks to You, living and eternal King, for You have mercifully restored my soul within me; Your faithfulness is great.]

– Water is then poured onto each hand three times alternating between hands between each pouring. First the right hand and then the left hand, and this process is repeated until each hand has been washed three times. With each pour, the water should reach the wrist. The water must be poured from a vessel, it should not be coming directly from the sink faucet.

– After Netilat Yadayim the following blessing is recited:
Baruch atta Ado-noy Elo-hai-nu Melech ha'olam asher kid-sha-nu b'mitz-vo-tav v'tzi-vanu al Netilat Yadayim.
[Blessed are you, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded concerning the washing of the hands.]
The Chabad custom is to first get dressed and use the facilities, and then to wash Netilat Yadayim again before reciting the aforementioned blessing. Thus the blessing is recited when the person is more presentable, in mind, body, and spirit.

– Before Netilat Yadayim one is not supposed to touch the mouth, nose, eyes or any other body orifice.

– The “impure” water should be discarded immediately.

– One should wash Netilat Yadayim anytime one sleeps for more than 60 minutes. However, if one is napping during the day it isn’t necessary to prepare the water at bedside (you can walk to the nearest sink), and the blessing is not recited.


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Chabad, an acronym for Wisdom, Knowledge, and Understanding, is the name of a Chassidic Group founded in the 1770s. Two of the most fundamental teachings of Chabad are the intellectual pursuit of understanding the divine and the willingness to help every Jew who has a spiritual or material need.
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.