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If one wakes up in the middle of the night or at least before dawn, does he wash and make al netilat yadayim? Also, at what point can one say birkot hashachar? I'd like to wake up extra early to do some study before Shacharit. Additionally, is there a separate ruling for one who wakes in the middle of the night for a glass of water?

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related: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/1173/… – Menachem Jun 6 '12 at 9:04
up vote 3 down vote accepted

One who wakes up before dawn (alos hashachar) should wash netilas yadayim without a bracha (Shulchan Aruch OC, 4:14).

Getting out of bed in the middle of the night has the same halacha as getting up before dawn. [In fact this applies even after awakening from a nap during the day.] One should wash netilas yadayim without a bracha. Even if it is just to get a drink, it is preferable not to walk even four amos (6-8 feet) without washing.

Birchos Hashachar may be said from Alos Hashachar. But the custom today is to recite them at arrival to shul in the morning (Shulchan Aruch OC, 46:1-2).

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What if one wishes to learn some Torah before going back to bed? – David Perlman May 13 '11 at 7:39
So is it fairly safe to say that until alot hashachar, no further blessings need be said? For example, as @David mentioned, can I study Torah? – Naftuli Tzvi Kay May 13 '11 at 11:16
Birchas Hatorah is more complicated. In truth, most berachos of birchos hashachar may be said before alos hashachar; just we like to wait until afterwards so they can all be said together. If one wakes up at night and wants to learn Torah, he should make a bracha (Shulchan Aruch 47:13), but after going back to sleep and waking again in the morning, there are two opinions regarding whether to make another bracha or not (see Shulchan Aruch 47:11); the Mishna Berura (47:29) believes one should make another beracha. – jake May 13 '11 at 14:57
Excellent, thanks @jake! – Naftuli Tzvi Kay May 13 '11 at 15:33

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