What is one to do if he accidentally said a blessing of Al Netilas Yadayim by Urchatz?

What is one to do if he accidentally said a blessing of Al Netilas Yadayim by Urchatz?

Background:

The reason for washing without a blessing prior to eating the Karpas dipped in salt water [i.e. Urchatz], is due to the general obligation to wash without a blessing prior to eating foods dipped in water.[1] The background of this obligation is as follows:

Must one wash upon eating a food dipped in liquid and is a blessing recited?[2] Some Poskim[3] rule that it is a complete obligation to wash upon eating foods dipped in one of the seven liquids [and hence a blessing must be recited[4]]. Other Poskim[5] rule that in today’s times there is no longer a requirement to was hands prior to eating dipped foods [and hence certainly one may not wash with a blessing]. Practically, although the main opinion follows the former approach, nevertheless, Safek Brachos Lihakel, and therefore one is to wash without a blessing.[6] Thus, upon washing for Karpas a blessing is not to be recited.

Is an unintentional washing valid for eating bread?[7] Some Poskim[8] rule that an unrequired washing is valid for eating bread. Other Poskim[9] rule that an unrequired washing is invalid for eating bread. Based on this debate, it would also be debated whether washing for dipped foods can also later count for eating bread. According to the Poskim who rule that washing for dipped foods is a requirement, then it also counts for eating bread, while according to those Poskim who rule that washing for dipped foods is no longer a requirement, then it would be debated whether if such a washing would count for eating bread.[10] Practically, we are stringent like both opinions, and hence one is required to rewash for the bread, but without a blessing.[11] The above debate is only regarding if an unintentional washing is valid for bread, however, all Poskim agree that a blessing may not be recited on an unintentional washing.[12]

The law:

Initially, a blessing is not to be recited by Urachatz, upon washing for Karpas, due to it possibly being a blessing in vain.[13] If one began saying the words Baruch Ata Hashem, and then remembered, then he is to conclude with the words Lamdeini Chukecha.[14] In the event that one accidentally said the blessing of Al Netilas Yadayim, the Poskim discuss whether anything can be done in order to save this blessing form being said in vain. The following is the ruling in the Poskim:

The apparent ruling from Shulchan Aruch: One is to [say Baruch Shem Kevod Malchuso Leolam Vaed[15] and] continue the Seder as usual.[16] One is to eat less than a Kezayis of Karpas, just like everyone else.[17] By Rachtza, one is to rewash with a blessing, before eating the Matzah.[18] Some Poskim[19], however, rule that it is proper for him to guard his hands from Urchatz until Rachtza, and then rewash his hands for Rachtza without a blessing.[20] Other Poskim[21], however, negate this ruling.[22]

The Rebbe’s directive:[23] On one occasion, during a Seder event in which a participant said the blessing of Al Netilas Yadayim by Urchatz, the Rebbe directed him to immediately eat Matzah [i.e. skip to Motzi Matzah].[24] This directive was later clarified in a talk of Acharon Shel Pesach of that year.[25] In conclusion the Rebbe suggested the following possible option in such a situation:[26] One is to right away perform Yachatz and Motzi Matzah, saying Hamotzi on the three Matzos, in order to save oneself from a Safek Bracha Livatalah. One then eats the Karpas [without a blessing of Hadama or first eats a Hadama desert food, such as a banana, and has in mind to exempt the Karpas and Maror, and then eats the Karpas[27]]. One then continues with Maggid, Goal Yisrael  and Maror. Thus, in summary the order according to the Rebbe is: 1) Yachatz; 2) Eat Matzah; 3) Karpas without Bracha; 4) Maggid; 5) Maror. This ruling is indeed puzzling in light of the Halachic background explained above, and it is unclear how it helps save one from a blessing in vain.[28] While there is no debate that the Rebbe indeed instructed the above to be done at that time, some Rabbanim[29] claim to clearly remember that on that very next Shabbos, the Rebbe disavowed his previous ruling, and said that in conclusion one should continue the Seder as usual, without eating Matzah right away. Thus, the Rebbe retracted from his ruling, and the final ruling of the Rebbe remains as brought from the Poskim above, that if one accidentally recited Al Netilas Yadayim by Urchatz then he is to continue the Seder as usual. Others, however, deny ever hearing of such a retraction.[30]  

The final conclusion: The widespread custom of the world is to simply continue the Seder as usual as recorded in the Poskim and as plainly understood from the rulings in Shulchan Aruch. However, amongst Chabad Chassidim, some are accustomed to follow the initial directive of the Rebbe, and to immediately eat Matzah in such a case, and follow the order explained above. Others, however, follow the general custom, and acclaimed retraction of the Rebbe, and therefore continue the Seder as usual. In the various publications of Chabad Hagada’s, some have written like the former approach while others write like the latter approach, and each person is to follow the directive of their Rav.[31]    

 

Summary:

If one began saying the words Baruch Ata Hashem, and then remembered, then he is to conclude with the words Lamdeini Chukecha. If one accidentally recited Al Netilas Yadayim by Urchatz then many are accustomed to continuing the Seder as usual, as is written in many Poskim. However, amongst Chabad Chassidim, some are accustomed to follow an initial directive of the Rebbe, and to immediately eat Matzah in such a case, and follow the order of 1) Yachatz; 2) Eat Matzah; 3) Karpas without Bracha; 4) Maggid; 5) Maror. Others, however, abide by the claim that the Rebbe later retracted from this ruling and hence follow the former, general approach. Each person is to follow the directive of their Rav.


___________________________________________________

[1] Admur 473:19; Michaber 473:6; Beis Yosef 473; Darkei Moshe 473:12; Maharam Merothenberg in Tashbeitz 99; Bach 473; Taz 473:7; Elya Raba 473:23; Peri Chadash 473; Chayeh Adam 130:4; Kitzur SHU”A 119:3; Ben Ish Chaiy  Tzav 31; Kaf Hachaim 473:106

[2] Admur 158:3; Michaber 158:4

[3] 1st and main opinion of Admur ibid; Michaber ibid; Tur 473 in name of Rashi, Geonim; Rambam; Pesachim 115a

[4] Implication of Admur ibid that the only reason a blessing is not recited is because of the dissenting opinion; Beis Yosef 158; Tur ibid; Biur Hagr”a 158; Levush 158

[5] Widespread custom of general populace of Ashkenazi Jewry and opinion of some Rishonim, recorded in Admur ibid, M”A 158:8 and Lechem Chamudos Chulin 8:41; Tosafos Pesachim 115a; Tur 473 in name of Maharam Merothenberg and Ittur

[6] Admur ibid; 473:19; Seder Netilas Yadayim 20; Michaber ibid and 473:6; Rabbeinu Yerucham 6 Nesiv 16

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that a blessing is to be recited and that so is the custom. [Gr”a ibid; Levush ibid, brought and negated in Kaf Hachaim 473:106]

[7] Admur 158:13; 475:2

[8] 2nd opinion in Admur 158:13; Rashba in Bedek Habayis 6:4; Shibulkei Haleket 135; See Michaber 159:13

[9] 1st opinion in Admur 158:13 and Stam opinion in Admur 475:2; Michaber 158:7; 159:13; Beis Yosef 158 in opinion of Tosafus Pesachim 115a; Rashal Chulin 8:24; Rashba Toras Habayis 6:4; Igor 207 in name of Shibulei Haleket; Tosefta Yadayim 1:7

[10] Admur ibid; See Beis Yosef 158 in opinion of Tosafus Pesachim ibid

[11] Admur ibid and ibid; Rama 158:7; Taz 158:11; M”A 158:13

[12] Admur 158:13; 164:1; M”A ibid

Opinion of Tzemach Tzedek: See Tzemach Tzedek O.C. 25 who questions this ruling of Admur and suggests that the blessing should be valid retroactively

[13] Admur 473:19; Michaber 473:6; Beis Yosef 473; Darkei Moshe 473:12; Maharam Merothenberg in Tashbeitz 99; Bach 473; Taz 473:7; Elya Raba 473:23; Peri Chadash 473; Chayeh Adam 130:4; Kitzur SHU”A 119:3; Ben Ish Chaiy  Tzav 31; Kaf Hachaim 473:106

[14] See Admur Seder 9:10; 206:13; Michaber 206:6; Rosh Brachos 6:20; Rabbeinu Yonah Brachos 28a

[15] Should one say Baruch Sheim Kevod Malchuso? See Admur 25:23; 206:13; Seder 9:10 that in general one is to say Baruch Shem Kevod Malchuso Leolam Vaed when a blessing is said in vain However, seemingly here one is not to say Baruch Shem Kevod Malchuso Leolam Vaed after the blessing, as some Poskim rule that one is to wash with a blessing for dipped foods [Admur 158:13], and hence saying Baruch Sheim would be considered an interval between the washing and eating according to this opinion. However, from Admur 25:23 it is proven that saying this sentence is not considered an interval. Vetzaruch Iyun.

[16] Chaim Lerosh p. 44:2; Vayaged Yaakov 29a; Zachreinu Lechaim p. 27:4; Yifei Laleiv 5:5; Kaf Hachaim 473:107; Seder Haruch 54 in name of Rav SZ”A; Nitei Gavriel Pesach Vol. 2 81:13; 1st approach of Rebbe in Toras Menachem 5719 pages 230-233

[17] See Admur 473:15-18; The need to eat a Kezayis in such a case is omitted from Poskim ibid; Although eating a Kezayis/Kebeitza may save the blessing from being in vain according to the Poskim who rule that one is required to wash with a blessing for dipped foods, as possibly this is only required if one eats a Kezayis or Kebeitza of the food, nonetheless eating a Kezayis will then enter one into another doubt regarding the after blessing; However, see Nitei Gavriel ibid in name of Rav SZ”A that one should now eat a Kezayis of the food in order to save the blessing

[18] Admur 475:1 that unless one specifically guarded the hands, the Hagadah is considered Hesech Hadaas and he must rewash with a blessing; Zachreinu Lechaim p. 27:4; Vayaged Yaakov 29a; Kaf Hachaim 473:107

[19] Chaim Lerosh p. 44:2, brought in Kaf Hachaim 473:107, based on Admur 475:2; Yifei Laleiv ibid seems to imply that he should wash without a blessing even if he did not have Hesech Hadaas

[20] The reason: As the only reason one repeats the blessing of Al Netilas Yadayim by Rachtza, when washing the second time for Matzah, is because he did not guard the Halachic cleanliness of his hands in the interim, therefore it is proper for him to specifically guard his hands and hence have the initial blessing count for the second washing done for the bread, and thus help save it from being said in vain

[21] Zachreinu Lechaim p. 27:4; Vayaged Yaakov 29a; Kaf Hachaim 473:107

[22] The reason: There is no need to guard the hands until Rachtza and try to have the original blessing be saved by having it count for it, as since the sages instituted to wash twice on the night of the Seder, and recite a blessing by the second washing, therefore one may rely on those Poskim who rule a blessing is recited for dipped foods, and even the Beis Yosef 475 concludes that it is only good not to say a blessing, implying that Bedieved it is valid

[23] See Toras Menachem Vol. 25, Achron Shel Pesach 5719 pages 230; Hamelech Bemisibo 2:218; Otzer Minhagei Chabad 66; Article of Rav Levin in Heraos Ubiurim Ohalei Torah; Footnote 252 of Rav Avraham Elyashvili in Seder Birchas Hanehnin; http://www.col.org.il/show_news.rtx?fromAdmin=yes&artID=103742

[24] One time at the Rebbe’s Seder one of the guests [i.e. Rav Yehudah Leib Raskin] said a blessing after Urchatz. The Zikneiy Anash, including the Rabanim began discussing the question, and the Rebbe ruled that he should eat Matzah after saying the brachos etc. Afterwards, the person told the Rebbe, you have Pashut given me life as I was really hungry. [Hamelech Bemisibo 2:218]

[25] 2nd [and seemingly conclusive] approach of Rebbe in unedited talk printed in Toras Menachem Vol. 25, Achron Shel Pesach 5719 pages 230-233; The Rebbe discusses the Question and says that there are two possible options for what one can do. 1) To continue the Seder and not mess up the order. 2) To not continue the Seder and to rather eat Matzah in order to save oneself from a Safek Bracha Livatalah. The Rebbe then goes on to explain that if one were to do the second option, then he should continue with karpas [without a Bracha] and not with Maror.

[26] The Rebbe there gave two options, the first being to continue the Seder as usual, and the second being as stated here. This order follows the similar order recorded in Admur 483:2, Michaber 483:1 and Rif Pesachim 27a regarding one who does not have any wine for Kiddush and is thus forced to begin the Seder with Kiddush on Matzah, and Lechem Mishneh.

[27] See Admur 483:2; 177:2

[28] This ruling is puzzling for the following reasons: 1) The Halachic reason for Urchatz is because one must wash hands before eating a food dipped in water and the like. [Admur 473:19] Now, according to some Poskim, when one washes for a dipped food it is not valid for eating bread, and the concluding ruling is that in such a case one must rewash, without a blessing, before eating bread. [Admur 158:13; 475:2] Accordingly, if one were to eat the Matzah now without rewashing, then according to this opinion it is as if he is eating Matzah without washing at all. 2) Furthermore, eating Matzah now would only possibly help save the blessing according to one minority approach, as according to those Poskim who rule that washing with a blessing is required for dipped, it is not at all a blessing in vain, and does not require Matzah to be eaten afterwards. Even according to the dissenting opinion who holds the blessing is in vain, going ahead and eating Matzah would only possibly help save the blessing according to those Poskim who rule that an unrequired washing is valid for bread. [See Admur 158:19; 475:2] Furthermore, even according to this approach, one would need to novelize that a blessing for an unrequired washing can become retroactively valid if one later eats bread. However, in truth they too would agree that a blessing is never valid for an unjustified washing, as rules Admur 158:19 that even this opinion agrees that a blessing cannot be said over an unintentional washing, and hence seemingly the blessing would be in vain accoridng to all even if one were to go ahead and eat bread. No matter what the case, it is clear that the blessing in vain cannot be saved according to all Poskim, unlike the assertion in the Sicha that eating Matzah would save the blessing according to all. 3) From the letter of the law, it is completely improper to eat Matzah prior to Maggid [Admur 471:10; 472:23; 473:20; 475:24; 483:2; Terumas Hadeshen 125] and according to some Poskim it is completely forbidden to do so, and is similar to lying with one’s bride prior to Chuppah and Sheva Brachos. [See Admur 471:4; Mahariy Viyal 193; Abudarham Seder HagadahLevush 471; Perisha 471:3; Chok Yaakov 471:6; Kaf Hachaim 471:19] 4) The order of the Seder was very particularized by our Holy Sages. To mention the words of the Mahril, brought by the Rebbe in his Hagadah that “Nothing should be changed or detracted as it all has sources”, and to change that order is a great novelty which requires solid halachic basis. Now, the concept of a blessing in vain here only applies accoridng to some Poskim, being that there are opinions who rule that one does need to say a blessing after washing for a dipped food. Therefore, why allow the order of the sages to be nullified, as well the Takanah of the sages for one to wash twice on the night of the Seder, to be nullified?

Possible explanation: Possibly, one can suggest that the Rebbe learned that the accidental blessing which was said reveals that in truth one’s intent was to wash for bread, and thus the washing is valid for Matzah according to all opinions, and therefore if one now goes ahead and eats the Matzah, according to all it saves the blessing from being said in vain. [See Admur 589:9; 489:14; 271:23] Vetzaruch Iyun according to this answer if there is a difference between one who washed under the false impression that a blessing is required for dipped foods and did not have intent on eating bread at all, not even subconsciously, or one who knew that a blessing is not to be recited, and simply forgot, or one who is ignorant and actually though they were washing now for the sake of eating Matzah. [See footnote 252 of Rav Avraham Elyashvili in Seder Birchas Hanehnin]

[29] Personally heard from Rav Leibal Groner, who stated the following: a) He was present at the said Frabrengen, which took place the Shabbos after Acharon Shel Pesach and he heard the Rebbe clearly retract from his previous rulings, and state to continue the Seder as usual. B) The Rebbe began the Frabrengen with the puzzling words of Rava [] “The original words I said were a mistake” c) For one reason or another, the above Sicha was missing from the transcripts of the Sichos of that Shabbos, and never made it to print. The printed Sicha of that Shabbos makes mention of missing section, although does not reveal its topic of discussion. These details were separately corroborated by Rav Mordechai Shmuel Ashkenazi OBM, the famed Rav of Kfar Chabad, who was a 15-year-old attendee at that Farbrenegen and likewise claims to remember the above. Others who were present have also claimed to remember the above details and retraction. See here: http://www.col.org.il/show_news.rtx?fromAdmin=yes&artID=103742

[30] A number of the Rebbe’s chief transcribers, including Rav Yoel Kahn, deny any knowledge of this retraction and claim it most likely never occurred. This is added to the fact that the above acclaimed retraction has only recently surfaced and for one reason or another was never known of for decades after the above said talk. There are thus serious reasons to question the above recollection of a retraction having taken place.

[31] In the Yekusiel Green Chabad Hagadah he brings that one is to continue the Seder as normal. In the Gutnick Hagadah, they write to eat Matzha right away.

About The Author

Leave A Comment?