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Is it important to wash one's hands before eating or is also the preparation of the meal important as well? Should one wash before handling bread but not make a brachah or is washing only relevant to right before one begins to eat their meal?

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What kind of washing? With soap or the ritual washing using a cup? –  DanF Jun 25 at 20:09
    

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In regards to the ritual hand washing, I don't know if this is in regards to waking up negler vaser, or for bread negler vaser. But...

Submitted by anonymous Answered by Rav Peretz Moncharsh Question: If a food was touched prior to washing negel vasser (by mistake) are we allowed to eat it afterwards? Answer: The Mishna Berura states that Halacha permits it, but one should be very careful to avoid this situation. Other Seforim suggest the food should be discarded, primarily for reasons based upon Kabbalah.

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1) Your quote comes from here. 2) “Negel wasser” generally refers to washing after sleeping at night. The term for washing before bread is usually “netilas yodoyim”. 3) The quote refers to “negel wasser”. 4) The question seems to me to refer to “netilas yodoyim”. –  Avrohom Yitzchok Jun 26 at 16:19
    
@AvrohomYitzchok I sorta figured my own kal v chomer from that answer. The impurity on one's hands when waking up in the morning is probably the most powerful tumah we would come into contact with, hence the mandate to get rid of it immediately. So I figured if one awoke and never washed neglar vaser and touched bread, an act that is permitted, then how much more so (kal v chomer) when you touched bread during the regular course of the day without netilas yadayim. –  armoose Jun 27 at 10:57

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