Washing hands after Scratching the head

Scratching ones head:[1]One who scratches his head[2] [with ones hands[3]] is required to wash his hands one time [immediately] afterwards.[4] [This applies even if one only scratched his head with his pinky.[5]] (However one who merely placed his hands on his head, or even rubbed his head such as to dry his hair, but did not actually scratch between the hairs, is not required to wash.[6])


If one scratched his head with his wrist must he wash his hands?
If the fingers did not scratch the head, but rather only his palm or back of the hand, some write washing is not required.[7]

Must one wash his hands if he scratched his head using a cloth?[8]

Must one wash his hand after scratching his beard?[9]

To Purchase this Sefer click here.

[1] Kama 4/18

[2] Does this apply even if one scratches his head in the normally uncovered areas that stretch beyond his Kipa and hat? Kaf Hachaim 4/98 [based on wording of Michaber 4/21] learns that this Halacha only applies to one who scratches his hair in the area that is normally covered by a Kipa and so rules Sheivet Halevy 8/2; Piskeiy Teshuvos 4/24. This however is not the simple implication from Admur which does not differentiate in this matter in Halacha 4/18 and does not even bring the ruling of the Michaber 4/21 which discusses revealed areas. This would follow the opinion of the Mamar Mordechai 4/11 which rules that if the head contains hair then scratching even the normally uncovered areas require washing.

[3] Ketzos Hashulchan 2/11

[4] Admur ibid due to that scratching the head causes impurity, and hence he rules only washing with water helps for all these actions. [See Ketzos Hashulchan 2/11]

 Other Opinions: Some Poskim rule that scratching the head does not bring an impure spirit and hence does not require washing with water. Rather the hand requires cleaning in any fashion in order to be allowed to learn Torah. [See 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 he rules 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]

[5] Ketzos Hashulchan 2/11; Kaf Hachaim 4/64 in name of Peri Megadim

[6] 164/2 regarding one who touches dirty areas during a meal. Parentheses in original; So rules also Levushei Mordechai 1/12; M”B 162/58; Chaye Adam 40/19; Yifei Laleiv 23; Kaf Hachaim 4/74

Other Opinions: The M”A 164/12 rules that one must wash his hands even if he merely touched the hair and did not scratch it. Some write that if one contains a lot of sweat on his hair then he is to wash his hands afterwards. [Piskeiy Teshuvos 4 footnote 235 in name of Daas Torah]

[7] See Piskeiy Teshuvos 4/23 in name of Chazon Ish

[8] Yifei Laleiv 1/27 brought in Kaf Hachaim 4/87; See Admur 97/3

[9] Kaf Hachaim 4/75; Ashel Avraham Butchach 4; Aruch Hashulchan 92/10; Sheivet Halevy 8/2 unlike Ruach Chaim 4/6

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles

Leave A Comment?

You must be logged in to post a comment.