Sunday, August 23, 2009

Netilat Yadayim - Hand washing before meals


Thanks for your patience this past week; I hope to return to posting these emails now.

We begin a new topic: Washing one's hands for bread meals.

The Mishneh Berurah cites two reasons for washing:

1) A decree dating back to times when kohanim ate terumah (a tithe separated from Israeli produce, per biblical requirement). In those days, out of concern for impurity when handling terumah, everyone washed before bread, including non-kohanim. The decree persists even now.

2) A practice of maintaining sanctified cleanliness when approaching a meal.

(Mishneh Berurah 158:1)

Have a great day,

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