- Washing hands before Davening:
- The general law
- In general, one is obligated to wash his hands prior to Davening.
- However, if water is not available in one’s current area but is available elsewhere, then regarding if one is required to go to the other area to wash his hands, there’s a difference in this law between clean hands, known as Stam Yadayim, versus dirty hands.
- The law by Stam Yadayim:
- What is Stam Yadayim? Stam Yadayim refers to hands which are not dirty, and one does not recall touching any of the below to be mentioned dirty items and areas, nonetheless, if he did not consciously guard his hands from touching any of the below mentioned dirty areas from the time that he washed his hands in the morning upon awakening, then he is obligated to wash his hands prior to Davening.
- The law if water is available: If water is available in one’s current location, he is always obligated to wash his hands prior to Davening. This applies even to Stam Yadayim.
- No water available in current location: If, however, there is no water available in one’s current location, then by Stam Yadayim he is not required to travel elsewhere for water, and rather he may suffice with cleaning his hands over a stone, or by rubbing the hands on a wall or any other material which cleans.
- Stam Yadayim by Learning and Brachos: Stam Yadayim are Kosher for learning Torah and saying Brachos, hence even if one did not consciously guard his hands, he is nevertheless allowed to learn and say Brachos.
- The law by Dirty hands- One’s hands are dirty or touched a filthy area:
- If one’s hands touched a filthy area after washing the hands in the morning upon awakening, then he is obligated to wash his hands with water prior to Davening.
- No water available in current location-How far must one go to get water? If water is not available in one’s current location, then he must travel up to a mil [i.e. 2000 Amos, 18/24 minutes by foot or available transportation] to a place with availability of water to wash hands prior to prayer. If, however, one’s travels towards the water will cause one to miss Zman Tefila then he may Daven in his current location, despite the lack of water availability and is to simply rub his hands on something prior to prayer and pray.
- If one is unsure if there is water available within a mils distance: One is only required to travel up to a mils distance in order to wash his hands prior to prayer if he knows for certain that there is water in the second location. If, however, one is unsure if he will find water there, then he is not required to travel to search for water and is to simply rub his hands prior to prayer and pray.
- The filthy areas which when touched obligates one’s hands to be washed:
- Used bathroom.
- Touched ear wax.
- Touched mucous of the nose.
- One scratched one’s head.
- One touched the normally covered parts of the body.
- Must one wash hands if they dirty prior to learning Torah or saying a Bracha: When learning Torah, even if one touched one of the above-mentioned dirty areas, it suffices to wipe one’s hands on any material.
- This applies even if one has water available in front of him.
- The same applies for a Bracha.
- One who touches a dirty area during prayer:
- Until Shemoneh Esrei:
- One may not touch uncobvered areas during Davening.
- If he did he must wash his hands up to a mil [24 minutes]. [M”B in name of P”M]
- During Shemoneh Esrei: If during Shemonhe Esrei one touched one of the above-mentioned dirty areas, then he is to clean his hands on the wall, [or any other item that cleans].
- How to wash for Stam Yadayim:
- One is to wash his hands up to his knuckles.
- One is to leave some water in his palm and then rub the hands together with the water.
- One does not need to use a vessel, nor must the water be poured as a result of human action, nor is it necessary to use water that is valid for washing hands for bread, nor are any of the restrictions that apply when washing for bread or in the morning applicable by this washing. [Nonetheless, the custom is even prior to prayer to use a vessel and wash as one would do for bread.]
- A blessing is not recited upon washing the hands prior to prayer.
- Washing when traveling:
- No water available in current location: One who is traveling on the road and has stopped to Daven, then if one has dirtied his hands in a way that requires washing [i.e. See C], then he must travel up to 24 minutes out of his way, or 92 minutes forwards, to a place with availability of water, if water is not available in his current area.
- One is only required to search for water if he knows for certain that there is water in the second location.
- Will cause one to miss Zman Tefila or miss the transportation, or not arrive in time: If, however, further traveling towards water will cause one to miss Zman Tefila or that he will have to travel alone without his traveling partners, or will cause him to not reach his destination on time, then he may Daven in his current location, despite the lack of water availability.
- Nevertheless, one is to clean his hands with a stone, earth, wood, or any material which cleans.
 See Admur 92:5, 7; Ketzos Hashulchan 12:3-4; Piskeiy Teshuvos 92:7
 Ketzos Hashulchan 12:3
 Ketzos Hashulchan 12:4
 M”B 92:7; Ketzos Hashulchan 12:4; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid
 Halacha 12:
 Ketzos Hashulchan 12:4 in name of M”B