Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Netilat Yadayim Cup


We have been discussing the laws of washing one's hands before eating bread.

For numerous laws of purification, such as washing before entering the beit hamikdash, one must wash using a kli - a durable receptacle made of certain materials (metal, stone and pottery, for example) that can hold a minimum of a reviit-volume (a little less than four ounces). Therefore, the sages used the same standard for hand-washing for bread.

Two important ramifications:

1. The materials requirement means that use of a disposable plastic receptacle is questionable, because that may not qualify as a kli. The same question may be asked even regarding a durable plastic receptacle. (For specifics on this, please ask your rabbi.)

2. The reviit-holding-receptacle requirement means that one who is washing for bread may not simply open and close a faucet. (There is room to discuss a faucet which has a long vertical segment directly above the faucet, such that there might be a reviit of water held in that segment before one opens the tap.)

(Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 159:1; Mishneh Berurah 159:1)

Have a great day,

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