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If one wakes up in the middle of the night to relieve oneself, what is the proper procedure regarding washing and the brachos of asher yatzar and hamapil?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

The answer I was always told (need to look this up; I think it's Mishnah Brurah?) is:

A.) If you'd already fallen asleep, there's no problem of talking-after-HaMapil as you already slept some. B.) If it's just urination, no bracha is needed as it will be covered by the Asher Yatzar you say in the morning. Just go back to sleep. (Well, washing for hygiene purposes is always a good idea ...)

C.) If it's defecation, that requires its own asher yatzar, which in-turn requires washing "negel vasser" (right-left-right-left-right-left). So first do a hygienic washing with soap, (I believe it's preferable to then dry your hands), then do a ritual washing (no bracha), followed by asher yatzar.

UPDATE: From TorahMusings.com:

there are those who rule that one who goes to the bathroom several times during the night need not recite asher yatzar each time and need merely recite it once in the morning. (Rivevot Ephraim 6:123:2.)

Sweet dreams!

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And does one do negel vasser after first waking up? – Tzvi Apr 26 '10 at 12:18
I've heard of some people who are concerned for the kabbalistic effects of relieving themselves before washing their hands, so they wash "negel vasser" before also. (This would mean wash - use bathroom - wash again.) I really don't think this is the standard practice (for non-Hassidic Jews?), or a requirement on the books. – Shalom Apr 26 '10 at 13:51
Why is there is difference in the requirement to make Asher Yatzar depending on whether it's Gadol or Katan? Is it more stringent in the latter case? If so, how does that effect other situations (i.e. using the bathroom in the middle of the Brachos of Shema)? – chaimp Sep 7 '10 at 6:29
Chaim, I think it has to do with how much of an interruption it is (and if it's a big interruption, then it's time to make a bracha), not the obligation of bracha per se. The only similar distinction that comes to mind is if you excuse yourself in the middle of a (bread-based) meal, defecation requires you to wash (RRLL) and make a new al netilas yadayim before returning to your meal. – Shalom Sep 7 '10 at 15:09
Barry, when/if you and I get sources, let's please put them in here. – Shalom Sep 14 '10 at 21:51

You should also remember to wash hands after using the restroom before saying Asher Yatzar.

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You're right. I figure it was implied by saying Asher Yatzar. – Tzvi Apr 25 '10 at 17:55
Since our bathrooms (mei'ikar hadin) do not have the status of a "beis HaKisei" since the waste is flushed away (Rav Y.E. Henkin in Lev Ivrah, and Rav Moshe Feinstein Mipi HaSh'muah) so one does not have the obligation of washing as he would for N'tilas Yadayim. Under the faucet is good enough since the only reason you are washing is in case you touched a normally covered spot and not in order to get rid of a Ruah Ra'a (evil spirit). – Yahu Apr 26 '10 at 2:27
@AdamMosheh english.stackexchange.com/q/2117/19365 – Double AA Aug 6 '12 at 22:27
@DoubleAA In fact, intelligently splitting the infinitive could clarify the sentence. As it is, the confusing arrangement of prepositional phrases could lead someone to wrongly interpret this sentence as: "Any time you are going to say Asher Yatzar after using the restroom, you should remember to wash your hands at some subsequent point." – Fred Apr 27 '14 at 19:07
Wow! I didn't know the grammar police were out in force on MiYodeya! – Yahu May 13 '14 at 23:05

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