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Netilat Yadayim Ritual
The first written records for these Netilat Yadayim, the ritual of Hand Washing is found in Exodus 30:17-21 and declares a ceremonial washing before starting any holy procedure. As when we eat we say the blessing we are supposed to clean ourselves before doing it. The ritual is performed when getting up in the morning after saying Modeh Ani and before eating bread. Netilat Yadayim is also part of the Passover Seder. To ritually wash both hands bandages, rings, and other things that will prevent the water from getting to your hands should be removed. The water is poured twice on the right hand and then twice on the left hand mostly with a cup with two handles specially designated for this ritual. Why do most Netilat Yadaim cups have two handles? As we need to have both hands clean and after the first hand is washed, this hand only is clean and pure. However if we touch the same unclean space that the first hand touched before washing with the clean hand it will become unclean again. By using a two-handled cup we make the process simpler, making it easier to avoid the clean und unclean hands touching each other. You can use any cup to wash your hands, just be careful that the two hands don‘t come in contact with each other after the first one is washed. After the washing, the hands are raised above shoulder height and the following blessing is recited: Baruch atta Adonoy Elohainu Melech ha‘olam asher kidshanu b‘mitzvotav v‘tzivanu al Netilat Yadayim. = Blessed are you, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us the washing of the hands. See our beautiful washing cups, hand washing towels for everyday, Shabbat, and the holidays, and illustrated hand washing texts when you go to Judaic Ritual Objects and Netilat Yadaim from the menu on the left side if this page. To see a beautiful illustrated Netilat Yadaim blessing by Rebecca Shore please click the link.