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We have a small synagogue: the room where we pray gets converted into the dining area. The back wall of the room has a washing station already. There is some money to update the synagogue, and some people want to get rid of the washing station and make everyone use the kitchen. I want to know if there are sources to support keeping the washing station. I know that all kosher restaurants I have been to have one, but besides that....

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2 Answers 2

This Shiur by Rabbi Brofsky says

The Rema (166; see Tosafot, Sota 39a) adds that one should not delay reciting ha-motzi for more than the amount of time it takes to walk 22 amot (approximately 11 meters). The Acharonim (see Arukh Ha-Shulchan 166:2, for example) record that some are even careful to wash their hands close to their table in order not to walk a long distance between washing one’s hands and reciting ha-motzi. This may have been more relevant before there was central plumbing. In any case, the Arukh Ha- Shulchan (ibid.) writes, “Truthfully, each case should be judged separately (ha-kol lefi ha-inyan), and in a situation in which it is necessary, it is not considered to be an interruption. For example, if the place for washing if farther than 22 amot … it is only considered to be an interruption if he unnecessarily delays [saying ha-motzi].” The Arukh Ha-Shulchan also rejects the practice of washing near one’s table, “ve-eino ikkar klal.”

The Rema talks about the time to walk 22 amot. But unless you are running, this implies that the distance should be less than 22 amot. So the Rema might be a source for not abandoning the washing station assuming that it is nearer to the table than 22 amot. (If the existing washing station is further than 22 amot, and the kitchen even further than that, the matter is open to discussion).

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Gershon Gold reports that a synagogue he once attended had installed a washing station in the prayer hall so as to avoid kohanim and l'viyim's leaving the room during the chazan's repetition of the amida (which could cut the number of men present to fewer than ten).

That can be an argument against getting rid of the washing station in your synagogue.

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