Halacha for Wednesday 5 Cheshvan 5778 October 25 2017

Things Which Require Netilat Yadayim

Question: Must one wash one’s hands after cutting one’s nails just as one would upon awakening in the morning?

Answer: The laws of Netilat Yadayim can be divided into four categories: Firstly, one is obligated to wash one’s hands upon awakening in the morning. Secondly, one is obligated to wash one’s hands prior to commencing a bread meal. Thirdly, one must wash one’s hands before eating something dipped in a liquid, for instance, if one dips celery into water and then eats it, one must first wash one’s hands as one would before eating bread (albeit without reciting a blessing). Lastly, one must wash one’s hands after touching an unclean place, being present in a place where impurity rests, or performing an action which necessitates Netilat Yadayim.

Things Which Require Netilat Yadayim
The Gemara (Pesachim 112a) states that one must wash one’s hands after cutting one’s nails. If one does not wash one’s hands after cutting one’s nails, this causes a mystical fear to befall the individual for one day and he shall not be aware of what is frightening him. Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch (Chapter 4, Section 19) rules likewise.

Rabbeinu David Abudirhem (great Sephardic luminary who lived approximately six-hundred years ago) writes in the name of the Sefer Ha’Tashbetz that there are seven things which require Netilat Yadayim: Awakening from one’s sleep, using the restroom, taking a shower (as we have discussed in the past), cutting one’s nails, removing one’s shoes, touching one’s feet, and scratching one’s head. (The Mordechi in Masechet Berachot [Chapter 194] and other great Poskim quoted by Maran Ha’Bet Yosef write similarly.)

Maran writes in his Shulchan Aruch (Chapter 4, Section 18): “These are the things which require one to wash one’s hands with water: Awakening from one’s sleep, using the restroom or the shower, cutting one’s nails, removing one’s shoes, touching one’s feet, and scratching one’s head. Some say that even one who walks among the deceased, one who touches a corpse, one who searches for lice, one who has engaged in marital relations, one who has touched lice, or one who touches his body with his hand [must wash his hands as well]. If one does any of these things and does not wash his hands, if he is a Torah scholar, he shall forget his Torah learning; if he is not a Torah scholar, a foolish spirit shall possess him.”

We see clearly from his words that one who cuts one’s nails must indeed wash his hands afterwards. In the following Halacha we shall explain the reason for this hand-washing and the correct way to carry this out, i.e. must it be done like one washes one’s hands in the morning or is simply rinsing one’s hands sufficient.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

The Laws of the Holiday of Sukkot

As per the request of many of our members and as a public service, we shall now list a synopsis of some laws which are essential for the upcoming Sukkot holiday: The Sukkah must be made of three walls and Sechach (the roof). The walls may be made of any material which can withstand a normal wi......

Read Halacha

The Customary Order of Rosh Hashanah

It is customary to eat certain symbolic foods during the two nights of Rosh Hashanah which signify good fortune for the entire upcoming year. It is therefore customary to eat black-eyed peas, pumpkin, leek, spinach, dates, pomegranates, apples dipped in honey, and meat of a sheep’s head on the......

Read Halacha

Megillah Reading-The Proper Procedure for One Who Has Missed Hearing a Portion of the Megillah

Every member of the Jewish nation is obligated to read the Megillah on the day of Purim. One must read it during the night and once again the next day, as the verse states, “My G-d, I call out to you during the day and you do not answer; during the night I have no rest.” This verse is wr......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Hearing Parashat Zachor

On the Shabbat preceding Purim, which is this coming Shabbat, after the opening of the Ark immediately following Shacharit prayers, two Sifrei Torah are removed; in the first one, we read the weekly Parasha (which is Parashat Tetzaveh this year, 5777) and in the second one we read the portion of &ld......

Read Halacha


The Custom of the “Commemoration of the Half-Shekel”-5777

It is customary to donate money before Purim as “a commemoration of the Half-Shekel” which was donated by the entire Jewish nation when the Bet Hamikdash stood. This money is customarily collected on the eve of Purim before reading the Megillah, as our Sages tell us (Megilla 13b) that &l......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Chametz and Kitniyot (Legumes) on Pesach

The Essence of Leavening The Torah (Shemot 13) tells us regarding the holiday of Pesach: “Matzot shall be eaten for seven days; neither leaven nor sourdough shall be seen in all of your borders.” The leaven that the Torah prohibits is produced by the combination of grain-flour and water......

Read Halacha

Motza’ei Yom Kippur-Unique Laws for this Year

Adding From the Mundane Onto the Holiness One must add some of the mundane weekday onto the holiness of Yom Kippur upon its exit, i.e. one should not end this holy day immediately with nightfall; rather, one should wait another few minutes. Thus, it is prohibited to eat or perform work on Motza&rsq......

Read Halacha

Some Detailed Laws Regarding Kitniyot (Legumes) on Pesach

In the previous Halacha we have briefly discussed the primary laws of Chametz and Kitniyot (legumes) on Pesach. We have explained that according to all communities, legumes such as rice and chick peas are not actual Chametz, for only grain products can be considered Chametz. However, Ashkenazim cust......

Read Halacha