List of restrictions that apply prior to washing hands in the morning

1. The reason behind the restrictions [1]
Impurity resides on body: The Sages stated that upon sleeping for sixty breaths[2] at night the G-dly soul of every Jew ascends from the body and a spirit of impurity [which is called Shibsa and Bas Melech[3]] then resides on the body. When the person awakens and the [soul returns to the body[4]] the impurity immediately leaves the entire body and remains only on the hands, until he proceeds to wash them properly. [This spirit of impurity which resides on the hands upon awakening is mentioned both by the Zohar and the Talmud, and due to it, there are restrictions given as to what may be done prior to removing this impurity through washing hands.[5]]

 2. How to remove the impurity:[6]
The Talmudic[7] sages stated that the impurity does not [completely[8]] leave ones hands until one pours water on each hand three times. The sages [of Kabala[9]] received a tradition that these three pourings on each hand [must[10]] be done inconsecutively [in order to completely remove all remnant of the impurity from ones hands[11]].

Sparks of Kabala:
The reason why the water has ability to remove the impurity from the hands is because water is Chesed [kindness] while the impurity is Gevuros [severities]. The Chasadim of water thus come and nullify the Gevuros.[12]

3. The restrictions which apply prior to washing ones hands:
A. The parts of the body that one is to avoid touching:[13]
[The Talmud severely warns[14] that] one may not touch his eyes[15] [lest he become blind[16]], ears [lest he become deaf[17]], nose [lest he contract bad smells[18]], mouth [lest he become mute, and have bad breath[19]], [anus[20]], [and male genitals[21]]. [Likewise one may not touch any orifices of the body, such as the opening of a wound.[22] Regarding if one may touch these areas using a cloth-see Q&A. It is permitted to touch any other area of the body which is not listed above. Hence one may scratch an itch on his body prior to washing hands in any area not listed above.]

B. Not touch the washing water:[23]
One must be [very[24]] careful[25] not to touch the water in the vessel before washing[26] as one who does so contaminates the water with his hands [and is considered as if it was already used and is hence invalid for washing[27]]. Thus one must be very careful while washing with the vessel that his fingers do not touch the water in the vessel.[28] [See Q&A regarding if one touched the water prior to going to sleep.]

C. Not to touch food and drink:[29]
[It goes without saying that one must be very careful[30]] not to touch any food or drink prior to washing in order not to contaminate it. [Women must be especially warned regarding this as the majority of the food preparations are done by them.[31]]
Gentiles:[32] There is no need to beware from a gentile touching one’s food or drink prior to washing hands after awakening, as the evil spirit does not reside on the hands of gentiles, as will be explained.
Children:[33] It is accustomed to be lenient regarding food that is touched by children after they awaken, prior to washing hands, if the child is below the age of Chinuch.[34]  [However once the child has reached the age of Chinuch one must beware from allowing him or her to touch food or drink prior to washing hands after awakening.[35]] (Furthermore one who is careful to beware from allowing a child to touch foods from the day of his circumcision and onwards is doing an act of holiness.)[36]
D. The stringencies of the Zohar-Not to touch one’s clothing; walk 4 cubits; say words of Torah:[37]

According to the Talmud and Codifiers one may [walk[38] and] touch his clothing prior to washing[39], [and if one slept in his clothing[40], then since it is possible his hands did not touch any covered areas[41], his hands are therefore considered pure enough[42] to recite Hashem’s name within blessings and to speak words of Torah prior to washing.[43]] The only restriction according to the Talmud is not to touch food and drink [or orifices of the body]. The Zohar[44] however is very stringent in these matters stating that [it is forbidden to learn or say G-d’s name even if he slept with his clothing[45], and] it is forbidden to touch ones clothing[46] prior to washing. Likewise[47] [the Zohar[48] states] one may not walk [even[49]] four cubits[50] while the impure spirit resides on ones hands prior to the morning washing, [and one who does so is liable to death[51], as through residing this impurity on his hands he has desecrated G-d’s holiness which resides on him.[52] As a servant of G-d, which is sanctified with the sanctity of Hashem and His holy Torah require greater holiness and purity than the regular layman which is not holding on this level.[53]]

The following is the final ruling in this matter:
Touching clothing:[54]
One is to be stringent like the Zohar and avoid touching clothing prior to washing. [Thus one may not even put on his socks prior to washing.[55] See Halacha 7 regarding what to do if there is no water available.]
Walking four Amos:[56]
One is to be stringent like the Zohar and avoid walking four Amos prior to washing. [Four Amos is approximately 192 centimeters or 6 feet 4 inches.[57] Practically one is to refrain from placing his feet on the ground until after he washes hands, as will be explained in the Q&A. Due to the above restriction against walking before washing, prior to going to sleep one is to prepare a basin of water near his bed to wash with upon awakening. See Halacha 7 regarding what to do if there is no water available. See Chapter 4 Halacha 5 for further details on this subject.]

Speaking words of Torah and saying blessings:[58]
It is forbidden to recite Hashem’s name within blessings or to learn words of Torah prior to washing hands in the morning.[59] One must[60] be stringent to avoid doing so even if he slept in his clothing.[61] [See Halacha 7 regarding what to do if there is no water available.]

May one think words of Torah prior to washing?[62] It is permitted to think words of Torah prior to washing hands after awakening in the morning. This applies even if one slept without clothing, in which case we assume his hands touched the commonly covered areas of his body, nevertheless thinking words of Torah is permitted. Nevertheless one should not speak or even think words of Torah while still lying in his bed, [even if he has already washed his hands[63]], rather he should get up [and stand or sit in fear of Heaven[64]] as the verse states that one needs to prepare himself properly before he comes to greet G-d.[65]

Summary:
Upon awakening in the morning one may not do any of the following actions until he washes each hand three times in-consecutively:

  1. One may not touch the orifices of the body to be listed below.
  2. One may not touch food or drink.
  3. One may not touch the washing water that is in the basin.
  4. One may not say any of Hashem’s names, or recite words of Torah. One may however think words of Torah prior to washing. Although one should not speak or even think words of Torah while still lying in his bed, even if he has already washed.
  5. One may not touch clothing.
  6. One may not walk 4 cubits [6 feet 4 inches].

 List of areas of the body that may not be touched prior to washing:

  • Nose
  • Eyes
  • Ears
  • Mouth
  • Anus
  • Genitals
  • Wounds

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[1] Kama 4/4
Basra 4/2: Upon sleeping the G-dly soul ascends from the body and a spirit of impurity then resides on the body. When the soul returns to the body the impurity leaves the entire body and remains only on the hands.
When at night does the evil spirit reside on the body? Some write that the evil spirit only resides on one’s body if he is sleeping by midnight. Hence if he awoke before midnight or went to sleep after midnight the below mentioned restrictions would not apply. [Divrei Shalom 48, grandson of Rashash in name of Rashash, brought in  Kaf Hachaim 4/4 and 52; Shulchan Hatahor 4/10] Practically the Poskim do not differentiate in this matter and the restrictions apply in all cases that one slept at night. [Piskeiy Teshuvos 1/6]
Other Opinions regarding Ruach Raah: Some rule that today there is no more Ruach Raah and hence one is not required to wash his hands three times in the morning. [Lechem Mishnah in his explanation of Rambam Hilchos Shevisas Asor 3/2; Rashal in Yam Shel Shlomo Chulin 88; Mahram Chaviv Yuma 44b]

[2] Regarding the length of sixty breaths see Chapter 4 Halacha 17 Q&A; Regarding if the spirit of impurity resides even if one sleeps only a temporary sleep see Halacha 6 Q&A.

[3] Gemara Shabbos 108b; Kaf Hachaim 4/6

[4]  Basra 4/2

[5]  Basra 4/1 and 2

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

[7] Basra 4/2; Tractate Shabbos 109a

[8] Basra 4/2. This implies that one pouring removes some part of the impurity. [Ketzos Hashulchan 2 footnote 11] Due to this some of the below mentioned restrictions are removed with a single washing. A full three time washing is only required to remove all the impurity and all the restrictions. This will be explained in Halacha 7B in Q&A and Chapter 4 Halacha 12.
Other opinions regarding if wiping the hands removes impurity: Some Poskim suggest that perhaps even wiping the hands on an item three times, such as a stone, can remove the impurity. [Birchas Avraham mentioned in Olas Tamid 4/13; Elya Raba 4/12; Kaf Hachaim 4/101]

[9] Siddur; Shaar Hakavanos of Arizal; Peri Eitz Chaim 3; In Basra 4/2 Admur it is implied that this applies also according to the Sages of the Talmud, although in truth one can read it differently. In Ketzos Hashulchan 2 footnote 11 he writes that according to the Talmud inconsecutive pouring is not needed to remove the impurity. In Kama 4/4 no mention is made regarding who instituted the inconsecutive pouring.

[10] Siddur and Basra 4/2; Kama 4/4 it mentions this as a separate point, without stating that if done consecutively that the impurity will not be removed. Regarding if one may make a blessing if he washed consecutively and no longer has any more water to wash with, see Chapter 4 Halacha 12 with regards to what to do if one does not have enough water.

[11] Siddur and Basra 4/2; This implies that even consecutive pouring removes some part of the impurity. [Ketzos Hashulchan 2 footnote 11] Due to this some of the below mentioned restrictions, are removed with a single washing. A full three time inconsecutive washing is only required to remove all the impurity and all the restrictions. This will be explained in Halacha 7B in Q&A; Chapter 4 Halacha 12.

[12] Kaf Hachaim 4/12

[13] Basra 4/2; Siddur Hilchos Netilas Yadayim; Kama 4/5; Based on Michaber 4/3; Gemara Shabbos 108b

[14] Basra 4/2

[15] Regarding the order of areas that one is to refrain from touching, the order written above [eyes, ears, nose, and mouth] follows the order written in Admur Basra 4/2 and in the Siddur. However in Kama 4/5 Admur writes the order as follows: mouth, ears, eyes, and nose. The order of the Michaber 4/3 is mouth, nose, ears, and eyes. The order of the Gemara Shabbos 108b which is the source of the above ruling is eyes, nose mouth, ears. It requires further analysis as to the reason behind the change of order in all the above different versions of the Halacha.

[16]  Kama 4/5 based on Gemara ibid.
Will one really become blind if he touches his eyes prior to washing hands? The Soles Belula explains that all the above mentioned consequences of touching the body with impure hands refers to spiritual matters. Meaning if one touches his eyes or ears then on that day he will be blind or deaf to matters of Torah that he reads or hears. [Kaf Hachaim 4/19]

[17]  Kama 4/5

[18]  Kama 4/5

[19]  Kama 4/5

[20]  Basra 4/2. Omitted in Kama 4/5 and Siddur; M”B 4/13 in name of Gra and Chayeh Adam.
Background:
In Tractate Shabbos 108b, which is the source for these Talmudic restrictions it does make mention of the anus and the private limb. However Rashi there explains that this has nothing to do with the impurity on ones hands which comes upon awaking in the morning. Rather Rashi explains that this restriction applies throughout the day, as touching the anus area often, can cause the disease of Tachtuniyos. Likewise touching the private area is always forbidden due to that it stimulates a person. [See chapter 7 Halacha 11]
Perhaps this is the difference between the Siddur and Kama which do not mention the anus, and thus rule like Rashi, and the Basra which does mention it and thus views the Gemara literally, that its restricted due to the impure spirit on ones hands. So learns also M”B ibid in name of Gra and Chayeh Adam.

[21]  Basra 4/2 and Siddur. Omitted in Kama 4/4. See above note for explanation of difference between the Kama and Basra. M”B 4/13 in name of Gra and Chayeh Adam mentions it is forbidden to touch the urethral opening [as opposed to other areas of the genitals] . Admur does not differentiate in this matter.
Isn’t it always forbidden to touch the private area? Although in general it is forbidden to ever touch one’s private area even if his hands are pure, nevertheless there are exceptions to this rule, as it is permitted to touch the crown area to help him urinate or to touch it to assist in marital relations. Hence the novelty here is that if one’s hands are impure he may not touch the private area even during these times. [Basra ibid; Siddur ibid]

[22] M”B 4/13; Ketzos Hashulchan 2/2; Piskeiy Teshuvos 4/9; Admur in Kama 4/6 and Basra 4/2 [based on Taz 4/2] mentions not to touch the area of the body from which blood was let from. From here we can also learn that it is forbidden to touch any wound on the body prior to washing hands.
The reason: As the impure spirit which resides on the hands can damage any opening of the body. [M”B ibid]
The Naval: Vetzaruch Iyun why no mention was made of the naval, which is also considered an orifice. See M”B ibid which states the law applies to all orifices.

[23]  Siddur; Basra 4/2, Kama 4/12

[24]  Basra 4/2

[25]  Siddur and Basra 4/2, However Kama [4/6] does not warn against doing so, rather just simply states in 4/12 that if one does so the water is contaminated.

[26] However if one already washed touching other water accidently does not contaminate it. That which is explained in Beis Yosef; Shulchan Gavoa 1/8; Kaf Hachaim 4/25  that even after washing one should not touch it, is referring specifically to beer as touching it can ruin it. It has no relation to the current Halacha. [Mamar Mordechai 4/5]

[27] Kama ibid

[28] Basra ibid.
What is the law if one accidently touched the water: From Admur ibid it is implied that even if one accidently touched the washing water it becomes impure. However the Ashel Avraham Butchach 4 rules that only when one touches the water intentionally does it become impure as opposed to one who touches it by mistake. [See Piskeiy Teshuvos 4 footnote 158]

[29] Basra 1/7 and 4/2; Kama 4/6

[30] Siddur and Basra 4/2

[31] Siddur and Basra 4/2

[32] Basra 4/2

[33] Basra 4/2; So also rules: Mishmeres Shalom 1/4; Keren Ledavid 1/1; Halichos Shlomo 20/25; Tzitz Eliezer 7/2

[34] As the G-dly soul only completely and mainly enters into a person when he reaches the age of Bar or Bas Mitzvah, and it is for this reason that when they reach this age they become Biblically obligated to keep the commands, and are punished for transgression. Now the beginning of the entrance of the G-dly soul into a child’s body is from the age that the Sages obligated the child to be educated in Torah and Mitzvos. [ibid; Thus before the age of Chinuch since the G-dly soul has not even begun to enter this impurity does not desire to seek nurture in their bodies upon them sleeping].

[35] See previous footnote

[36] Parentheses in original.
Reason: As in truth the G-dly soul begins to enter into the child’s body from the day of his Bris Milah. [ibid; Thus the evil spirit has reason to reside in his body when sleeping starting from after the Milah.]

[37] Basra 1/7; Kama 1/7; Siddur

[38] Kama 1/7: “According to Talmudic Law one is not required to wash as soon as he awakens and rather he is allowed to walk around in the interim until he washes.” In the Basra ibid and Siddur, Admur does not explicitly mention that walking is permitted according to the Talmud. Nevertheless it is evident from their ruling that it is only required according to the Zohar as opposed to the Talmud.

[39] This is despite the fact that one has the impure spirit reside on his hands prior to washing. [Basra ibid; Siddur]

[40] If however he slept without clothing then even according to the Talmud it is forbidden for him to learn or say blessings until he cleans his hands. However it is not necessary to use water. [Kama 4/3; Basra 1/6; Understood from Siddur Hilchos Netilah Shacharis; Ketzos Hashulchan 1 footnote 8] However see 47/9 that initially one is to use water. This is due to the impure spirit that resides on the hands. [Igur 3]

[41] Siddur; In Basra ibid Admur writes “any dirty areas” [“Makome Hatinofes”]. Covered areas are defined as all areas that are commonly always covered. [Siddur]

[42] Lit. “Stam Yadayim Ksheiros”. Meaning regarding Torah and blessings since one is not certain that they touched covered areas therefore the hands are Kosher in this regarding. However regarding prayer even Stam Yadayim are invalid being it is possible they touched an uncovered area. [See Kama 4/3; Basra 4/1]

[43] Basra 1/7 and Siddur Hilchos Netilas Shacharis.
Ruling of Kama: In the Kama [1/7] Admur does not make mention of a difference of ruling between the Talmud and Zohar regarding learning prior to washing hands. In Kama 1/5 Admur plainly rules that it is forbidden to speak Torah before washing and does not mention that according to the Talmud this is allowed, or that this is because of a spirit of impurity. [To note however that in that Halacha it is implied that it is discussing one whose hands are dirty, such as in a case that he slept without clothing, and hence even according to the Talmud he would be required to wash.]  In Kama 4/3 Admur rules that in a case that there is no water, if one slept with clothing, one may learn and say blessings. Admur does not mention that according to the Zohar this is forbidden. Nevertheless perhaps one can learn from there that if one does have water available he must wash his hands beforehand even if he slept with clothing. According to this, in summary, it does not seem that there is any practical Halachic difference in this matter between the Kama and Basra, even though in Kama Admur did not explicitly mention this ruling. If however one learns from 4/3 that whenever one slept with clothes he may learn before washing, even if there is water available, then there is a dispute between the ruling in Basra and Kama whether the Zohar requires one to be stringent or not. Afterwards I found that in 47/9 [which is part of Kama] that Admur rules [based on Rama 47/13] that “initially one is to wash his hands prior to saying Birchas Hatorah, and if there is no water available he may say the blessing and learn without washing, although he must clean his hands on other areas that clean”. Now although it is evident that this case is referring to one who slept without clothing, nevertheless this would not explain why washing with water is initially required unless one concludes that Admur requires water in suspicion of the ruling of the Zohar. After researching the source of this ruling of Admur it is corroborated that in truth this is the case. The source of this ruling is in the Iggur 3 which says the reason for initially washing the hands with water is to remove the impure spirit. Thus in conclusion even in the Kama Admur acknowledges the prohibition of learning Torah, even if he slept with clothing, due to the impure spirit.

[44] In Kama ibid Admur states “The Sages of the Zohar”

[45] Siddur and Basra 1/7 explicitly write this is only in accordance to the Zohar. Kama 1/7 does not mention any difference between the Talmud and Zohar in this matter. However in 47/9 he rules that initially one is to use water. This is due to the impure spirit that resides on the hands. [Igur 3] Thus even in Kama Admur suspects for the opinion that does not allow Torah learning with impure hands.

[46] Kama 1/7; Basra 1/7; Siddur ibid; Brought in: Seder Hayom; Peri Eitz Chaim; Beir Heiytiv 4/1; Ben Ish Chaiy Toldos 6; Olas Tamid p. 17a; Tzvaas Rebbe Eliezer Hagadol; Sheivet Mussar 16.
Background:
The first source which mentions not to touch clothing before washing is the Seder Hayom. Admur ibid rules that this is based on the Zohar. The M”A [4/1] asks on this from the Talmudic ruling brought in Admur 46/2 that one gets dressed prior to washing hands. Seemingly Admur answered this contradiction by stating that based on the Talmud and Poskim it is allowed and only based on Zohar it is forbidden. The Levushei Serud [8/1] concludes that in truth even the M”A agrees to this stringency and it is a stringency of the later authorities and was not followed in the times of the Talmud. [Accordingly this answers the seeming contradiction between the rulings of Admur here and in 46/2]
Other Opinions: It is evident from Michaber 46/1 that he does not hold of this stringency to not touch the clothing before washing. [Levushei Serud ibid] In Od Yosef Chaiy Toldos 10 he justifies those that are accustomed to touch clothing prior to washing as the evil spirit only passes to food and not clothing.

[47] Siddur and Basra ibid mention the stringencies of the Zohar in the above order. However Kama ibid first mentions this stringency of not walking four Amos and only after mentions that “likewise one is not to touch clothing”.

[48] This is brought down in many Poskim in the name of Tolaas Yaakov in name of the Zohar [see Beir Heiytiv 1/2; Kaf Hachaim 4/1]

[49] Kama ibid

[50] Each cubit is 6 Tefachim [Ketzos Hashulchan 2 footnote 3; Shiureiy Torah p. 139] and each Tefach is 8 centimeters for a total of 48 centimeters per Ama. [Shiureiy Torah p. 249] Thus four Amos is a total of 192 centimeters or 6 feet 4 inches.

[51] Basra 1/7 as writes Tolaas Yaakov ibid in name of Zohar, mentioned in many Poskim. [see footnote in final ruling for list of Poskim] See Teshuva Miahava 1/14; 2/212 that this matter is not found in the printed Zohar, but is in a old manuscript of the Zohar.

[52] The Tolaas Yaakov writes “By doing so one brings a foreign G-d on his hands as the verse states “For that which he brought a god on his hands”. Piskeiy Teshuvos 1/6 learns from here that it is tantamount to idol worship.

[53] Basra 1/7

[54] Sefer Haminhagim p. 4 [English]; Kama 1/7 concludes that every G-d fearing Jew should be stringent like the Zohar. In Basra and Siddur Admur does not give an explicit ruling in the dispute between the Zohar and Talmud, although it is clearly implied that they rule like the Zohar perhaps to an even greater degree than the Kama. [As in the Kama Admur limits the stringency to a G-d fearing Jew. However in the Basra and Siddur it is implied that all Jews are to follow the Zohar. Vetzaruch Iyun.]  For this reason we did not write above [like the Kama] that specifically “a G-d fearing Jew” should follow the Zohar” as perhaps this now applies to all people, and so plainly writes Sefer Haminhagim ibid.
Ruling of Admur in 46/2: Regarding that which is written in the footnotes of the new Shulchan Aruch Harav; Hiskashrus 623 p. 16 footnote 2 that Admur in Basra 4/2 and Kama 4/5-6 and 46/2 does not mention this stringency of not touching clothing, [and hence seems to imply we don’t need to keep it] this is because there it is giving the ruling of the Talmud, although based on Zohar Admur agrees one must be stringent. [See previous footnotes from Levushei Serud 8/1] Upashut as that’s why he did not mention the other stringencies of the Zohar either! Upeleh Gadol that the above places did not pay attention to this obvious difference and hence no leniency in the opinion of Admur can be learned from those places.

[55] Ben Ish Chaiy Toldos 6

[56] Sefer Haminhagim p. 4 [English]; Kama 1/7 concludes that every G-d fearing Jew should be stringent like the Zohar. In Basra and Siddur Admur does not give an explicit ruling in the dispute between the Zohar and Talmud, although it is clearly implied that they rule like the Zohar perhaps to an even greater degree than the Kama. [As in the Kama Admur limits the stringency to a G-d fearing Jew. However in the Basra and Siddur it is implied that all Jews are to follow the Zohar. Vetzaruch Iyun.]  For this reason we did not write above [like the Kama] that specifically “a G-d fearing Jew” should follow the Zohar” as perhaps this now applies to all people, and so plainly writes Sefer Haminhagim ibid.
Poskim which are stringent like Zohar: The following Poskim bring this prohibition of the Zohar: Tolaas Yaakov in name of the Zohar; Peri Eitz Chaim; Olas Tamid 17a; brought also in Bach; Shiyurei Kneses Hagedola 4; Halacha Berurah 1; Birkeiy Yosef 1/1; Shalmei Tzibur 18a; Beis Oveid; Matzas Shmurim 3a; Ben Ish Chaiy Toldos 6; Beir Heiytiv 1/2; Shaareiy Teshuvah 1/2; Kaf Hachaim 4/1; M”B 1/2.
Other Opinions: The Elya Raba 1/4 brings in the name of Damesek Eliezer that the warning of the Tolaas Yaakov in name of Zohar against walking prior to washing only applied back then and today it is seemingly no longer accustomed. The Birkeiy Yosef ibid negates their words. [Kaf Hachaim 4/1] Shvus Yaakov 1/8 rules the custom is not to be careful in not walking four Amos being people consider the entire house as four Amos. [Shaareiy Teshuvah 1/2] See Teshuva Miahava 1/14; 2/212.
Tradition from GR”A: Some quote a tradition from the Gr”a that the spirit of impurity has been weakened in the latter generations and hence there is no need to be careful to avoid walking 4 Amos. [See Isheiy Yisrael 2 footnote 17 in name of Rav SZ”A] They account this diminishing of impurity based on a certain martyr [Avraham the Ger or Count Potatzky] that was publicly burnt at the stake. Nevertheless even amongst the Rabbinical descendents of the Gr”a there are those that dismiss this tradition and write one must be stringent in the matter. This story also clearly contradicts the story with the Gra that is recorded in Maaseh Rav 25 and hence cannot be relied upon even amongst his followers.

[57] Each cubit is 6 Tefachim [Ketzos Hashulchan 2 footnote 3; Shiureiy Torah p. 139] and each Tefach is 8 centimeters for a total of 48 centimeters per Ama. [Shiureiy Torah p. 249] Thus four Amos is a total of 192 centimeters or 6 feet 4 inches. It is however proper to be stringent to consider the Ama 47 centimeters and hence the total length of four Amos is 188 centimeters. [Shiureiy Torah p. 250]

[58] Sefer Haminhagim p. 4 [English]; Kama 1/7 concludes that every G-d fearing Jew should be stringent like the Zohar although makes no mention that the Zohar is stringent in this matter of not reciting Hashem’s name. However in 47/9 he rules initially that one is to wash hands before Birchas Hatorah. In Basra and Siddur although Admur mention this stringency of the Zohar, he does not give an explicit ruling in the dispute between the Zohar and Talmud, although it is clearly implied that they rule like the Zohar perhaps to an even greater degree than the Kama. [As in the Kama Admur limits the stringency to a G-d fearing Jew. However in the Basra and Siddur it is implied that all Jews are to follow the Zohar. Vetzaruch Iyun.]  For this reason we did not write above [like the Kama] that specifically “a G-d fearing Jew” should follow the Zohar” as perhaps this now applies to all people, and so plainly writes Sefer Haminhagim ibid.
Other Opinions: The Michaber 4/23 rules like the Talmud that one may recite words of Torah prior to the morning washing. The Graz of Vilna [brother of Rav Chaim Volozhin] followed this opinion and would hence sleep with gloves in order to be able to learn Torah as soon as he awakens, before washing hands, and so writes Yosef Ometz 198. However see Nemukei Orach Chaim 4/1 which completely negates this practice and doubts the validity of whether the Graz in truth did so.
The following Poskim rule like the Zohar that doing so is forbidden: Mahram di Lunzano in Derech Chaim; Or Hachama [Avraham Azulai]; Birkeiy Yosef 4/8; Zechor Liavraham 4/50; Yifei Laleiv 47/9; Kaf Hachaim 4/107; M”B 4/61; Rama 47/13 in his Lechatchila opinion.

[59] Even according to the Talmud if one slept without clothing it is forbidden for him to learn or say blessings until he cleans his hands. [Kama 4/3; Basra 1/6; Siddur Hilchos Netilah Shacharis]
Must one wash his hands with water or does cleaning them in other ways suffice? According to the Zohar one must wash his hands three times inconsecutively in order to be able to recite Torah and blessings. The reason for this is because according to the Zohar the reason behind the prohibition of learning and saying blessings is also due to the impure spirit that resides on the hands and this impure spirit is only removed when one washes each hand three times inconsecutively. [Siddur; Basra ibid] However according to the Talmud it suffices to clean one’s hands on any cleaning material and water is not needed to be used. The reason for this is because according to the Talmud the only reason why it is forbidden to learn Torah or recite blessings prior to cleaning the hands is because when one sleeps without clothing, the hands, which constantly move around, have probably touched the commonly covered areas, such as the thigh and leg, which contain sweat [and thus the hands have become dirty]. [Kama 4/3; Siddur “until he cleans his hands”; See also Basra 1/6; end of Basra 1/7; Ketzos Hashulchan 1 footnote 8] Hence any item that cleans the hand suffices as according to the Talmud the impure spirit does not have to be removed prior to learning Torah or saying blessings. Practically we are stringent like the Zohar, as mentioned above, with exception to a case where no water is available as will be explained.

[60] See previous footnotes in which it was explained that one must be stringent like the Zohar in these matters and it is not limited only to “a G-d fearing Jew”.

[61] According to the Talmud and Poskim if one slept in his clothing, then since it is possible his hands did not touch any covered areas, his hands are therefore considered pure enough to recite Hashem’s name within blessings and to speak words of Torah prior to washing. [Basra 1/7 and Siddur Hilchos Netilas Shacharis; Kama 4/3] However according to the Zohar that the reason behind the prohibition of learning and saying blessings is due to the impure spirit that resides on the hands it makes no difference whether one slept with or without clothing and it is hence always forbidden until one washes three times each hand inconsecutively. [Siddur; Basra ibid] Practically we rule like the Zohar as stated above.

[62] Siddur; Basra 1/6; Kama 1/5.
To note that in the Basra 1/7 and Siddur when Admur writes of the prohibition of the Zohar against learning Torah before washing he uses the term “learn Torah” as opposed to “speak words of Torah” which he used regarding the prohibition that applies if one slept without clothing. However this is too weak of an argument to claim that according to the Zohar Admur rules it is forbidden to even think words of Torah. Vetzaruch Iyun.
Other Opinions: Yosef Ometz 198 writes one is not to even think words of Torah while the evil spirit resides on his hands.

[63] Basra ibid

[64] Basra ibid; In Kama ibid Admur states he should stand up and get dressed.

[65] Basra 1/6; Kama 1/1

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