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The Kaf HaChaim brings (162:2) that the three times is a specific Kabbalistic intention.


According to the Gemara Shabbos 109a, there's a spirit that rests on the hands which is a 'noble' spirit, and will therefore refuse to leave with a mere washing once, but only by washing three times can it be removed (Rashi there). While this is said in the context of washing in the morning, it could be that some have extended this to the washing done ...


This statement is inaccurate: On Tisha b'Av and Yom Kippur, we are not supposed to lave our hands. As we learn in the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch in סימן קכד - הלכות תשעה באב laving hands and getting wet in general is not a problem, if not done for pleasure: וְאֵינָהּ אֲסוּרָה רַק רְחִיצָה שֶׁל תַּעֲנוּג. אֲבָל שֶׁלֹּא לְתַעֲנוּג, מֻתָּר. וְלָכֵן רוֹחֵץ ...


You could start with the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch in סימן מ - הלכות נטילת ידים לסעודה סעיף ו': אִם לְאַחַר שֶׁשָּׁפַךְ הַמַּיִם עַל יָדוֹ אַחַת, נָגַע שָׁם בְּיָדוֹ הַשְּׁנִיָּה, אוֹ אָדָם אַחֵר נָגַע שָׁם, אֲזַי נִטְמְאוּ הַמַּיִם שֶׁעַל יָדוֹ, וְצָרִיךְ לְנַגְּבָן וְלִטּוֹל פַּעַם שֵׁנִית. אַךְ אִם אֵרַע לוֹ כֵּן לְאַחַר שֶׁכְּבָר בֵּרֵךְ לֹא יְבָרֵךְ ...


Shulchan Arukh OC 165 rules one can just wash their hands once when wanting to eat bread after just leaving the bathroom. (He recommends a different practice because of issues related to in what order and when to say the various relevant blessings.) Seemingly your case is parallel.


There is a concept of אין עושין מצות חבילות חבילות: One may not bundle mitzvot (Pesachim 102). The context of this quote from gemara is with reference to the question of whether one may use the same cup of wine for kiddush and for birkat hamazon. The reasoning being that it seems as if one is just trying to shrug off the mitzvot, instead of caring for them ...

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