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Does one recite a different beracha when immersing ones hand in a natural body of water directly? I vaguely remember that there is a beracha of "על טבילת ידים" although I'm unsure.

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2 Answers 2

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Dipping a hand in a kosher Mikva is good enough to eat bread with it, for if a Mikva can purify whole bodies then how much more so can it purify hands. (eg. Rambam Brachot 6:5, Shulchan Aruch OC 159:14)

There is a split amongst Rishonim if the correct blessing to recite is the usual blessing before hand washing (Al Netilat Yadayim "on taking [a cup to wash] hands"), or if it is a variation on that which is more true to the process performed (either Al Tevilat Yadayim "on dipping hands [in a mikva]" or Al Shetifat Yadayim "on washing hands").

The Shulchan Aruch and Gra rule to recite the regular blessing. The Tur and Rama rule to recite the variant blessing. Later Achronim debate which opinion to follow. Some, such as Shulchan Aruch haRav (:24), feel that using the variant Al Shetifat Yadayim works according to everyone. Others, such as Mishna Berura (sk 97), maintain a compromise position that the variant blessing should be used only if the Mikva waters were invalid for regular hand washing (eg. too salty). Still others, such as Aruch haShulchan (:39), maintain that it doesn't really matter (דעביד כמר עביד) and anyone can choose either way. One should CYLOR for a final ruling.

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Washing for bread was answered by DoubleAA.Regarding washing in the morning the Mishna Brurah siman 4:25 says to make an al nitlas yadyim when dunked in water.

"וכתב הפרי מגדים, דלפי זה אם תחב ידו בנהר שלוש פעמים, או בשלג המונח על הארץ בשלושה מקומות מחולפים, אפילו הכי לא מהני רק לתפילה, ויוכל לברך על נטילת ידיים; אבל ספק אם מהני להעביר רוח רעה, דאולי בעינן לזה עירוי מכלי. והארצות החיים ולבושי שרד פסקו דבנהר, וכן בשלג ובמי מקווה, מהני אף להעביר רוח רעה, ואפילו אין בהם ארבעים סאה. ועיין שם עוד בארצות החיים"

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