Removing one’s shoes with one’s hands

Removing one’s shoes with one’s hands:[1]

One who removes [or even touches[2]] his shoes with his hands[3] is required to wash his hands one time [immediately] afterwards. This applies even if the shoes are clean.[4] [This applies even if one only touched his shoes with his pinky.[5] If the shoes are clean, then the reason behind the washing is simply due to the evil spirit which resides on the hands after touching the shoes. If, however, the shoes are dirty, then the reason behind the washing is in addition to the evil spirit, also because it is forbidden to learn or Daven with dirty hands.[6]]



Must one wash both hands if only one hand touched the shoe?[7]

One is only required to wash the hand that touched the shoe, although one who is stringent to wash both hands is blessed. According to all one must wash the entire hand that touched the shoe.


Must one wash his hands if he removed his shoe without using his hands?[8]



Must one wash his hands if he removed his shoe using a cloth?[9]



Must one wash his hands after touching a new shoe that has never been worn?[10]

No. Thus one is not required to wash his hands after touching new shoes in a store.


Must one wash his hands after touching the top of a boot?[11]

Some write one does not need to wash his hands being that the top of the boot does not become dirty and thus does not have an evil spirit. However practically this matter requires further analysis.


Must one wash his hands after touching slippers?

Yes.[12] However there are Poskim[13] who are lenient.


Must one wash his hands if he touched his shoelaces?[14]

Some Poskim are lenient to not require washing the hands if one merely touched the shoelaces.


Must one wash his hands after touching his socks?

No.[15] However there are those which are stringent in this matter.[16] If the socks are filled with sweat then one is to wash his hands according to all.[17]



[1] Admur Kama 4:18; Michaber 4:18; Rama 128:17 regarding dirty shoes; Agudah Megillah 34; Biur Hagra 4:24 says the source for this is from the Rambam Nesias Kapayim 15:5 who requires washing before Nesias Kapayim. Vetzaruch Iyun.

Other Opinions: Some Poskim rule that touching the shoes do not bring an impure spirit and hence do not require washing with water. Rather the hand requires cleaning in any fashion in order to be allowed to learn Torah. [Machatzis Hashekel 4:17; Nivei Shalom 4:12; Machazik Bracha brought in Shaareiy Teshuvah 4:12; Soles Belula 4:14 in name of Makor Chaim; Ben Ish Chaiy Toldos 17] Admur however rules that it causes impurity, and hence only washing with water helps. So also rules Kisei Eliyahu ibid; Yifei Laleiv 4:18 in name of Mor Uketzia; Peri Megadim 4 M”Z 14; and so is implied from many Poskim. [brought in Kaf Hachaim 4:60]

[2] Admur 128:27; Tehila Ledavid 4:18; Poskim in Kaf Hachaim 4:71; Aruch Hashulchan 4:21; It makes no difference whether the shoes are his or not or whether he is currently wearing them or not. [Piskeiy Teshuvos 4:22]

[3] Admur ibid; M”A 4:19

[4] Admur 128:27; M”A 128:26; Poskim mentioned in Kaf Hachaim 4:70; being an evil spirit resides on oneself upon touching shoes and hence the hands need to be washed due to danger. [Admur ibid]

The reason: One is required to wash his hands after touching even non-dirty shoes due to the danger of the evil spirit, as explained in chapter 4:18. [Admur ibid]

[5] Ketzos Hashulchan 2:11; Kaf Hachaim 4:64; A”A 4 M”Z 18

[6] Implication of Admur 128:27; Rama ibid implies the issue is dirt. While Michaber ibid implies the issue is Ruach Ra’ah

[7] Kaf Hachaim 4:86 regarding uncovered areas [see F Q&A]; Piskeiy Teshuvos 4:22 and footnote 179

[8] Admur 4:18 “hand”; M”A 4:19; Shiyurei Kneses Hagedola 128:4; Elya Raba 4:13; Mamar Mordechai 4:9; Chayeh Adam 2:5; Kaf Hachaim 4:69; Nimukeiy Orach Chaim 4:3

Other Opinions: Olas Tamid 4:12 [brought in Peri Megadim 4 A”A 19; Ashel Avraham Butchach] rules one is required to wash his hands after removing the shoes even if he did not use his hands. We do not rule like this opinion.

[9] Yifei Laleiv 1:27 brought in Kaf Hachaim 4:87; See Admur 97:3; However see Olas Tamid in previous footnote.

[10] Ben Ish Chaiy Toldos 17; Kaf Hachaim 4:71; Mor Uketzia; Daas Torah; Shearim Hametzuyanim 2:9; Poskim mentioned in Piskeiy Teshuvos 4 footnote 214

[11] Piskeiy Teshuvos 4:22 footnote 215

[12] Nimukeiy Orach Chaim 4:3

[13] Ashel Avraham Butchach 4; Nimukeiy Orach Chaim 4:3 negates this opinion. See also Aruch Hashulchan 4:21; Piskeiy Teshuvos 4:22

[14] Piskeiy Teshuvos 4:22 in name of Chazon Ish; Halichos Shlomo 20:18; Yabia Omer 5:1

[15] Kaf Hachaim 4:72 in name of Poskim; Ashel Avraham Butchach; Aruch Hashulchan 4:21

[16] Brought in Kaf Hachaim ibid

[17] Sheivet Halevy 8:2; See Halacha F Q&A

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