I am after a source that allows one to treat one's house as all within four amos l'chatchila, with respect to nagel vasser (hand washing in the morning).

  • 2
    I did some dejargonification, but this could still use some clarification of what the issue is.
    – Isaac Moses
    Dec 1, 2011 at 15:34
  • one must wash their hands upon arising in the morning. a lot of seforim say that one must wash within 4 amos (aprox 6ft) of their bed. There is another opinion from the gemorah in berochos that allows one to consider his whole house as halachicaly daled amos and meerly needs to go to the nearest sink. I am after a source in the poskim that allows this view as an as acceptable view and not only a good alternative in a difficult situation. Dec 1, 2011 at 15:39
  • 1
    Moshe, please edit the post to include as much information as would be relevant to an answerer, and please try to follow this jargon guideline as much as possible.
    – Isaac Moses
    Dec 1, 2011 at 16:02
  • 1
    ...Thus, for example, the question might read "When arising in the morning, one must wash his hands before he walks four amos (cubits) ([citation to some halachic authority]). I [have heard? assume based on what people do? ...] that one may treat his entire house as all withing four amos, and am after a source that says so.".
    – msh210
    Dec 1, 2011 at 21:34
  • Moshe Yitzhak, are you looking for a contemporary source, or the source for the logic?
    – YDK
    Dec 1, 2011 at 22:47

2 Answers 2


The Mishna Brura in OC 1 says:

י"א דלענין זה אמרינן כולא ביתא כד' אמות דמי אבל אין לסמוך ע"ז כ"א בשעת הדחק.

"There are those who say that with regard to this (washing hands), we say that the entire house is as 4 amos (cubits), but one should only rely on this when forced."

The Aruch HaShulchan in OC 4 says:

מפני שיש מחמירים ומזהירים ע"פ הזוהר שאסור לילך ד' אמות בלא נט"י

"Because there are those who are stringent and are careful acc. to the Zohar that it is forbidden to walk 4 amos without washing the hands."

Rav Avigdor Nebenzahl, in his commentary on Mishna Brurah, "Beyitzchak Yikarei" quotes an oral tradition from his rebbe, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, that goes back to the Gra that all Ruach Ra (evil spirits) of the Zohar were batel (nullified) after the killing of Avraham ben Avraham the Ger ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avraham_ben_Avraham See also the paragraph starting "It is" in the wikipedia article.) Thus according to this there is no need to quickly wash one's hands in the morning because there is no Ruach Ra on them.

  • @MosheYitzhak I edited to add another idea.
    – Double AA
    Dec 1, 2011 at 15:58
  • Thanks that is an idea I have been told and searching for another source. Dec 1, 2011 at 16:00
  • 2
    Guys, welcome to the site. You've both made several contributions over the last couple of weeks and we're all the better for it. But can you please, please remember that your information is only useful to those who can read and understand it. Please translate as much as possible and cut down on the jargon. This is a website for everyone. Thanks!
    – Seth J
    Dec 1, 2011 at 16:15
  • judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/27851/… could apply here since bathroom is Siman 3 and washing is Siman 4
    – Double AA
    May 1, 2017 at 19:48

The real question is- what is the significance of 4 amos?

The Ran (Mes. Shabbos, 31b in the Ran "Vehamotzi...") says that the reason why transferring >4 cubits in a public domain is not mentioned in the mishna as a major melacha is that it is merely an offshoot of "motzi"- transferring from a private to a public domain. Since a person in a public domain has an halachic ownership of a surrounding 4 amos, every 4 amos is considered a different domain. One who carries more than 4 amos accomplishes the same as a "motzi".

So walking >4 amos w/o washing may be less of an issue of measurement and more of place: Don't leave your domain without washing. >4 cubit inside a house would not be an issue.

  • 2
    While your logic may be impeccable — I, for one, can't pecc it — the question asked for a source.
    – msh210
    Dec 1, 2011 at 21:36
  • @msh210, I was assuming that the questioner knew, for example, Double AA's mishna berura, but wants the makor for saying such logic. Perhaps you are right that he has heard the halacha and wasnts to know where he can find it in print.
    – YDK
    Dec 1, 2011 at 22:46

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .