It's a simple question. But when we analyze everything that surrounds it, it becomes interesting.
What's more, there's a blessing attached to it.

There are 613 commandments in the Bible, and handwashing is one of them.
It's hard to list the 613 commandments, but I could explain the number. In Hebrew this number is called TARIAG, or תריג; that is, the four letters ֶwhich each have a numerical value according to the concept called GEMATARIA.
The first letter TAV or ת represents 400, the second RESH or ר is equal to 200, the third YOD or י has the value 10 and finally the last GUIMEL or ג is worth 3. Add it all up and you get 613.


These calculations are often found under different spheres, which makes the GUEMATARIA something nice.
Our blessing begins like all the others and ends with the ordinance 'the ablution of the hands'.

Let's return to the washing of the hands. Upon awakening, every man is like a new creature. As a worshipper of the Creator, he must prepare himself by washing his hands with a vessel, just as the priests did before performing their service in the Temple. And this comes from Psalm 26:6: "I will wash my hands with innocence".

The Kabbalists had another explanation for this morning ablution: when man sleeps, the holy soul leaves his body and an impure spirit descends upon him. When he wakes up, this impure spirit leaves his whole body, except his fingers, and doesn't leave them until water is poured over them three times. And you mustn't walk six feet without washing your hands.

This process is complex, and the explanation remains uncertain. It's a rather rigid ritual. Take the cup with your right hand and pour it over your left. Repeat three times.  Wrists and fingers must be thoroughly washed. You must also wash your face to honor the Creator. We must also rinsed our mouths, as we are going to pronounce the Great Name in purity and cleanliness.

This water must not be used for any other purpose, as it is contaminated by an evil spirit. It must not be spilled in a place frequented by other human beings.

I realize that there are still other rules to be respected and wonder if I should expand on them. It's a question of our religion, which we respect to a greater or lesser extent given certain complications. If there's no water, we go to the river, and if there's no river, we soak our hands in the snow.  Always remember to do this three times. The blessing: AL NETILAT YADAYIM is always done.

It gets more complicated if you get up in the middle of the night. And what do you do when nature calls or you go back to bed? If you can't get back to sleep?  

The fact remains that you have to wash your hands on all these occasions: When you wake up, when you go to the toilet, after cutting your nails, after a haircut, after taking off your shoes with your bare hands, after sexual intercourse, after touching or looking for any vermin, after combing your hair, after touching parts of your body that are usually covered, after leaving a cemetery, after walking in a funeral procession or after leaving a house where a corpse is lying, and after bloodletting.

This all sounds very interesting, and it makes you wonder how much time our sages have spent explaining these things to us. And it begs the question, how many of us take the time or have any interest in respecting all that I have presented?

Reader, if you have a comment, an idea, an edit, a suggestion, please tell Jacques@WisdomWhereAreYou.com