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 Precedence Regarding Blessings (Continued)

In the previous Halacha we have explained that there are instances that priority is given to recite a blessing upon a certain food over another because of the innate significance of the given food, for instance, because it is a fruit that belongs to the Seven Species of fruits that the Land of Israe......

Read Halacha

The Month of Shevat and the Law that Food Must be in Front of the Individual While Reciting a Blessing

Next Wednesday (actually, beginning from next Tuesday night) will mark the Fifteenth of Shevat or Tu Bishvat. We will therefore begin a segment on the laws of Blessings of Enjoyment. In following Halachot we shall discuss some more laws pertaining to reciting blessings which we have discussed in the......

Read Halacha

Precedence Regarding the Order of Blessings (Continued)

Summary of the Laws Explained Thus Far In the previous Halachot we have explained that there is an order of priority regarding blessings, sometimes because of the innate importance of the food and sometimes due to the importance of the blessing. Priority of “Boreh Peri Ha’etz”......

Read Halacha

The Laws of the Blessing on Fruits

In the previous Halachot we have explained that there is an order of priority regarding blessings. Thus, if one wishes to partake of apples and dates, one must recite the blessing on the dates, for they are one of the Seven Species. Precedence Regarding Blessing-Only Preferable Maran Ha’Be......

Read Halacha


Question: Is one permitted to act stringently in any situation one pleases?

Answer: In the previous Halacha we have discussed that one must wait six hours between eating meat and cheese in accordance with the ruling of Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch. This law is based on a Gemara in Masechet Chullin (105a). For the purpose of our discussion, we shall quote the words of the G......

Read Halacha

Eating Meat Dishes after Dairy Foods

In the previous Halachot, we have discussed the laws of eating dairy foods after meat. We have explained that one must wait six hours between eating the respective foods. We shall now discuss the laws of eating meat dishes after dairy foods. The Opinion of the Gemara which Permits Eating Meat aft......

Read Halacha

Some Detailed Laws Regarding Eating Cheese after Meat

In the previous Halachot we have mentioned that after eating meat, one must wait six hours before eating dairy products. A Woman who has Given Birth or is Nursing A woman who is within thirty days of having given birth may eat dairy products after eating meat and she need not wait six hours. It ......

Read Halacha

Eating Dairy Items after Eating Poultry

In the previous Halacha we have discussed in general the law that one must wait six hours after eating meat before eating dairy foods either because the nature of meat is to get stuck between one’s teeth or because meat gives off a taste in one’s mouth for a prolonged amount of time. ......

Read Halacha