The order of bathing and smearing

To Purchase this Sefer [1]

Bathing: When bathing ones entire body one begins with washing [and placing shampoo[2] on] his head, as the head is the king of all the limbs. One then washes [and soaps] his right hand[3] first and only then proceeds to his left.

Washing hands: When washing hands one is to first wash his right hand. The same applies regarding applying soap.

 

Miscellaneous laws associated with bathing:

Avoiding scorching water:[4] One who is accustomed to pour very hot water on his skin can lead to leprosy.


The order of smearing oil, soaps and creams:[5]

One is to first smear the oil or soap on his right hand and then on his left. [If he is  smearing it on his entire body he is to begin with his head.[6]]


[1] Kama 2/6, Basra 2/4; M”A 2/4; Ben Ish Chaiy Vayishlach 17

The Aruch Hashulchan 260/3 writes that after washing the head one is to wash the heart, right hand, left hand, right leg, left leg. The same applies regarding the order of applying soap.

Other Opinions: The M”A ibid brings the Darkei Moshe which writes that he has not seen people being careful in the order of bathing and smearing. The Kaf Hachaim 2/8 brings the Mateh Yehuda 2/5 which suggests that perhaps the reason for this is because back then it was not common to bathe every day and hence it was not considered a matter of respect to precede one limb over the other. Nevertheless he concludes that one who is careful in this is blessed.

[2] Based on Kama ibid that also when anointing one is to precede the head.

[3] In the Basra ibid Admur writes to wash the right hand first. However in Kama ibid the word hand is omitted and perhaps it refers to the entire right side of the body; that it is to be washed first.

[4] Admur in Hilchos Shemiras Haguf Vehanefesh 9

[5] Kama 2/6; Basra 2/4

The Aruch Hashulchan 260/3 writes that after washing the head one is to wash the heart, right hand, left hand, right leg, left leg. The same applies regarding the order of applying soap.

[6] Kama ibid

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