Can a gentile pour or prepare the water for Netilas Yadayim?

Can a gentile pour or prepare the water for Netilas Yadayim?[1]

It is permitted for a gentile to wash one’s hands.[2] However, some Poskim[3] are stringent regarding a gentile to not allow a gentile to wash his hands.[4] Practically, it is proper to be stringent like their words to not have one’s hands washed by a gentile.[5] [The above discussion is only regarding a gentile man. However, it is forbidden for a gentile woman to pour the water on a man’s hands.[6]]

Preparing the water:[7] There is no problem for a gentile [male or female] to prepare the washing water in a vessel and bring it to a person for him to take and wash his hands with it prior to eating bread [or after awakening].[8] However, some Poskim[9] rule that one who is able to be careful to avoid having a gentile even bring the water, is praised. [Seemingly, according to Admur in the Siddur, there is no need to be careful in this matter.[10]

 

Summary:

It is permitted for a gentile to pour water on one’s hands, with exception to a female gentile pouring on the hands of a male. Nevertheless, it is proper to avoid having a gentile pour the water on one’s hands. However, a gentile may prepare the water and bring for washing hands, although some conclude that even in such a case it is praiseworthy to be stringent.

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[1] Admur 159/20; Seder Netilas Yadayim 16; Ketzos Hashulchan 35/5

[2] Admur 159/20; Michaber 159/11; Tosafus Nida 71b; Rosh and Rashba on Yadayim 1

The reason: A gentile impurifies an item through carrying it, and thus the water in the vessel has become impure even though she did not touch it. One can thus question how such water has ability to purify the hands even for Chulin, as since we wash hands due to Serach Teruma, and for Teruma the hands are impure [even after washing with such water] being that they have become impure with the impure water [therefore they should also be impure and invalid for Chulin/bread]. However, in truth, since in any event we are all Tamei Meis, and we cannot have pure water, therefore, there is no need to worry of the impurity of a gentile who carries the water. [Admur ibid; Taz 159/15; Rashba in Toras Habayis 6/4; Rosh ibid]

Maidservant: In 159/20 Admur adds that a maidservant who is a Nida may wash her masters hand. This seems to imply that Admur learned that any woman who pours the water as an act of service rather than an act of affection, is permitted to pour the water. This seemingly follows the opinion brought in the Rama E.H. 21/5 that acts of service is permitted. However, in the Siddur ibid Admur omits this inclusion of a maidservant, seemingly implying that he retracted from this opinion and concluded that in truth it is forbidden. See the coming footnotes for the various opinions on this matter.

[3] Machmir opinion in Admur 159/20 and Seder ibid; Rashal Kol Habasar 55, brought in Taz 159/15, M”A 159/22, Olas Tamid 159, Beir Heiytiv 159/15; Rash Yadayim 1; Tashbatz 278; Maharil Hilchos Netilas Yadayim p. 457

[4] The reason: As it is possible for one to beware from this form of impurity, and one thus cannot allow the impurity of a gentile, which is avoidable, based on the allowance of the impurity of Tumas Meis, which is unavoidable. [Admur ibid; See Chazon Ish 23/8 and Piskeiy Teshuvos 159/21 footnote 92]

[5] Admur ibid and Seder ibid; Taz 159/15; M”A 159/22; Morah Bietzba 2/1; Kesher Gudal 1/2; M”B 159/69; Lev Chaim 1/68; Ruach Chaim 5/6; Moreh Baetzba 2/51; Kaf Hachaim 4/38; Piskeiy Teshuvos 4/15 and 159/21

[6] Implication of Admur in Seder 16 who writes “Such as his daughter” and omits “a maidservant” thus implying that one may not do so from other women who is a Niddah; Michaber Even Haezer 21/5 regarding having Erva wash one’s hands; Ateres Zekeinim 159/20 and Machatzis Hashekel 159/20 that this applies even for washing hands for a Mitzvah and even if the woman is not a Nida; Yafei Laleiv 4/15 that it is proper to be careful even by a pure woman; Kaf Hachaim 4/38

The reason: As it is forbidden for a woman to bathe one’s body due to Erva. [Michaber ibid] Some Poskim however write that from the letter of the law, it is permitted for a woman to pour the morning washing water over a man’s hands as this is not being done for pleasure and hence does not fall under the prohibition mentioned in Even Haezer ibid. Nevertheless, it is a proper guard to avoid doing so. [Kaf Hachaim 4/38]

Ruling of Admur in Shulchan Aruch and other opinions: In 159/20 Admur adds that a maidservant who is a Nida may wash her masters hand. This seems to imply that Admur learned that any woman who pours the water as an act of service rather than an act of affection, is permitted to pour the water. This follows the opinion brought in the Rama E.H. 21/5 that acts of service is permitted. So also rules Mateh Moshe 267, brought in Elya Raba 159/20. However, in the Siddur ibid Admur omits this inclusion of a maidservant, seemingly implying that he retracted from this opinion and concluded that in truth it is forbidden.

[7] Admur 159/20

[8] M”A 159/22; Machatzis Hashekel ibid; Admur 159/20 in his Stam opinion regarding a gentile and seemingly the same would apply for a Nida [Vetzaruch Iyun why in truth Admur omitted the word Nida. Taz 159/15 brings Rashal who explains that a Nida has a greater Tuma than a gentile, as a Nida is Biblical. However, on the other hand, it is more difficult to avoid a Nida preparing the water, and hence it should be more lenient. Vetzaruch Iyun as to what inference can be made in Admur ibid]; Admur in Seder Netilas Yadayim 16 omits the entire Chumra brought in Poskim [and his Shulchan Aruch] regarding not preparing the water; M”B 159/69 omits the stringent opinion of Rashal/Taz

The reason: A Nidda impurifies an item through carrying it, and thus the water in the vessel has become impure even though she did not touch it. One can thus question how such water has ability to purify the hands even for Chulin, as since we wash hands due to Serach Teruma, and for Teruma the hands are impure [even after washing with such water] being that they have become impure with the impure water [therefore they should also be impure and invalid for Chulin/bread]. However, in truth, since in any event we are all Tamei Meis, and we cannot have pure water, therefore, there is no need to worry of the impurity of a Nida who carries the water. Now, although some are stringent to avoid having a Nida pour the water on one’s hands, this is because it is possible to avoid this. However, to have the water brought to him is completely permitted (as this is also a matter that one is not able to avoid.) [Admur ibid regarding a gentile]

[9] Admur 159/20; Rashal Kol Habasar 55, brought in Taz 159/15 and Beir Heiytiv 159/15

Preparing water for the home: Some Poskim rule that according to all, there is no need to avoid having a gentile prepare the water for the house, and the matter to beware is only against having the Nida prepare the water for the washing. [See Ashel Avraham Tinyana 159]

[10] As in Seder ibid Admur omits this opinion

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