Halacha for Monday 1 Shevat 5782 January 3 2022

Netilat Yadayim for One Who Has Touched his Feet or a Baby

One who touches parts of the body which are usually covered, such as one’s shoulders or feet, one must wash one’s hands. One may also not recite words of holiness, such as blessings or Torah study, until one does so.

Hagaon Rabbeinu Yosef Haim zt”l writes in his Responsa Torah Lishma (Chapter 14) that if one touches a body part that is usually covered, one must wash the entire hand and merely washing that part of the hand or fingers that touched the body part is insufficient. For instance, if one touched one’s foot or leg with one’s finger, washing that finger is not sufficient and one must wash one’s entire hand. The Mishnah Berura (Chapter 613, Subsection 6) and Yalkut Yosef (Chapter 4, page 399) rule likewise, although there are those that disagree.

Netilat Yadayim in this context refers to washing one’s hand under the faucet and one need not necessarily use a vessel. If one touched the sole of one’s foot, one should preferably wash one’s hands three times (see Responsa Yabia Omer, Volume 5, Chapter 1, Section 5).

The Poskim disagree regarding one who touches a baby whose body is not usually as covered as adults. For instance, during the summer months when it is commonplace for a baby’s legs and feet to be uncovered, if one touches a baby’s feet, since for the baby, these areas of his body are not truly considered “covered”, must one wash one’s hands or not?

Clearly, this refers to touching a baby’s feet when they are clean, for if they are soiled or if one touches the soles of the baby’s feet, one must certainly wash one’s hands.

Halachically speaking, Hagaon Chazon Ish ruled stringently in this regard as is quoted in his name in several books (see Piskei Teshuvot, Volume 1, Chapter 4, note 228). Nevertheless, Hagaon Harav Ben Zion Abba Shaul zt”l is quoted as having ruled leniently (see Ohr Le’Zion, Volume 2, Chapter 44, Section 6). This seems to be the prevalent custom nowadays. We have heard Maran zt”l rule likewise.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

The Proper Way to Immerse Vessels in a Mikveh

One must make certain that there is nothing separating between the vessel one is immersing and the waters of the Mikveh. Thus, when one is immersing a vessel, one must hold the vessel loosely, for if one holds it tight, one’s hand will be separating between the vessel and the waters of the Mik......

Read Halacha

Question: Is one obligated to wait six hours after eating meat foods before eating dairy foods?

Answer: The Gemara in Masechet Chullin (105a) states: “Mor Ukva said: When my father would eat meat, he would not eat cheese until the next day. Regarding myself, however, within the same meal I do not eat meat and then cheese, but I would eat cheese during the next meal.” The Rif writes......

Read Halacha

Reading Scripture at Night

Question: May one read chapters of Tanach or Tehillim at night or is this forbidden according to Kabbalah? Is there room for leniency when this reading is being done for the sake of an ill individual or a woman in labor? Answer: Maran Ha’Chida in his Responsa Yosef Ometz (Chapter 54) quotes......

Read Halacha

Spiritual Blockage of the Heart

Question: Must one be careful regarding the Kashrut standards of the foods one’s children eat as well? Answer: Regarding any food which is prohibited for consumption by the Torah, such as milk and meat or an impure animal’s milk, it is certainly forbidden to give such foods to childre......

Read Halacha


Drinking Beverages in a Café or in a Home Where the Vessels have not been Immersed in a Mikveh

Question: May one drink coffee in a friend’s home or in a Café (such as an espresso without milk served in Cafes) when they are not meticulous about immersing their vessels in a Mikveh? Answer: In the Halachot discussed before Tisha Be’av, we have explained that vessels produc......

Read Halacha

Question: Do disposable vessels and electric kettles require immersion in a Mikveh?

Answer: In the previous Halachot, we have discussed the general law that any new vessels purchased from a non-Jew must be immersed in a Mikveh before using them. We shall now discuss whether or not disposable vessels require immersion. We have already explained that according to Maran zt”l,......

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

The Laws of Fire on Yom Tov

In previous Halachot we have explained that Yom Tov and Shabbat are equal regarding all prohibitions besides for certain works associated with food preparation, such as cooking, which are permitted on Yom Tov. Igniting a Flame One may not produce a new fire on Yom Tov, for instance by striking a......

Read Halacha