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Mishna Berura Summaries

Siman 4 – Washing

  1. One should wash his face and hands every day in honour of his Maker. (MB2)
  1. When going to the restroom in the middle of the night, one should wash afterwards and recite Asher Yotzar – don’t rely on the Asher Yotzar he’ll say in the morning. (MB3)
  1. Wash neggel vasser – go to the restroom – wash again – then, when you’re ready to daaven, say the “…al netillas yodayim”. (MB4)
  1. Besides for the tekana of chazal to wash before daavening in the morning, you need to remove the ruach ra’a that’s on your hands. It will only come off by pouring water (lechatchila from a keli) three times on each hand alternately. (ShA2 – MB8,10)
  1. There is a minhag to refrain from saying pesukim or blessings opposite the used netilla water. (ShaT8)
  1. If a non-Jew touches food before washing there is no worry since they are not mekabayl tumah. (MB10)
  1. Pick up the keli with your right hand – pass it to the left hand – then begin pouring on the right. (ShA10)
  1. Pour until the wrist, unless you don’t have enough water (e.g. travelling) – then, at least, till the knuckles. (MB9 – ShaT6)
  1. Stretch your palms as if you want to receive something and lift them opposite your head. (MB9)
  1. Children who touch food, should wash as well. (MB10)
  1. Careful not to touch any orifices or on top of the eyes before removing the ruach ra’a. (ShA3 – MB12)
  1. Careful not to touch any food before removing the ruach ra’a. If you do, rinse it 3 times. If you can’t, the food is still muttar to eat. (MB14)
  1. It is best to wash with a revi’is – and from a keli – and with koach gavra. Bedieved it’s okay even without those three conditions – for tefilla and for removing ruach ra’a. (MB15,16,17).
  1. A mikva (or snow dipping) will remove ruach ra’a, even if less than 40 se’ah. (MB25)
  1. If you were awake all night – go to the bathroom before daavening – then wash regularly – now you can say “…al netillas yodayim” according to all opinions. (MB30)
  1. If you get up before dawn, wash neggel vasser and don’t say a beracha. At dawn, go to the bathroom and wash again for daavening – now you can say a beracha of “…al netillas yadayim” according to all opinions. (MB 33)
  1. If you slept 60 breaths during the day, wash neggel vasser when you awake. But don’t say a beracha. (ShA 15) 
  1. The permissibility of taking a daytime nap is subject to what you need for strength to serve Hashem. (MB36)
  1. It is proper conduct to rinse your mouth every morning in order to mention the Great Name with holiness and purity. (ShA17 – MB37)
  1. The following activities leave ruach ra’a on your hands: only water will remove it:

You must wash quickly to remove the ruach ra’a (MB 38)

  1. getting up from bed – needs pouring 3 times (MB39)
  2. leaving the toilet room
  3. leaving the bath house
  4. cutting nails
  5. visiting the cemetery – needs pouring 3 times according to some (MB39)

You should wash before daavening at a grave and upon leaving it. Also wash

upon returning from a funeral, before entering a building. (MB 42,43)

  1. touching a corpse
  2. checking for lice
  3. relations – needs pouring 3 times according to some (MB39)
  4. touching a louse
  5. haircut
  6. letting blood 

(ShA18,19)

  1. The following activities need water over the entire hand (at least until the knuckles) even though only one finger touched. There’s no rush since it is only for hygiene, not for ruach ra’a:
    1. touching shoes
    2. touching skin that is usually covered
    3. scratching the scalp   (MB 41 – Siman 613 MB6)
  1. Be careful during daavening, during a meal, or while learning Torah – not to touch skin or scratch your scalp that is usually covered. (ShA 21 – MB49)
  1. If you did touch your skin or scalp – wash again without a beracha. But in the middle of Shemona Esray or learning, just wipe your hands on something. (MB 50,51,61)
  1. For the following, just wipe the affected area:
    1. touching mud
    2. touching insects (other than lice)  (MB38,45)
  1. You must wash before each tefilla even if you don’t know of any dirt on your hands, but a beracha was instituted only for Shacharis. (MB55)
  1. If there is no water, you can wipe your hands up to the wrist (at least up to the knuckles) front and back to replace the washing. If this is done for Shacharis the beracha changes to “…al nikius yodayim”. (ShA 22, MB 57)

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