According to those positions that maintain that one ought minimize the amount of water used for mayim acharonim:

Is it possible to wash for mayim acharonim unintentionally?

For clarity, here are examples of the types of scenarios I am considering:

A) A person uses the bathroom towards the end of his meal and washes his hands afterwards.

B) A person washes off food residue from their hands and mouth towards the end of the meal.

C) A person washes off a vegetable that he wants to eat towards the end of the meal and inadvertently washes his hands in the process.

In these types of situations, would the water that was used for a different function than mayim acharonim nevertheless be considered to be mayim acharonim? If so, how does one avoid using an improperly excessive amount of water?

  • I remember seeing a teshuva in Igros Moshe dealing with what to do if you want to use the restroom before bentching, but I have not been able to find it again.
    – N.T.
    Commented Feb 1, 2022 at 9:20
  • 1
    Assuming (contra many decisors) that minimizing the volume utilized is proper, why couldn't you simply have in mind that whatever minimal volume used is for the purpose of מים אחרונים and the excess is for whatever other purpose? Commented Feb 1, 2022 at 16:58
  • @Deuteronomy It could be that any water that is used at the end of a meal is considered mayim acharonim
    – treenuts15
    Commented Feb 1, 2022 at 18:07
  • R’ Chaim Kanievski in Shailos Rav vol 1 pg 271 says that washing for the bathroom is sufficient for mayim achronim. However in shu”t Silmas Chaim simian 180 he says that Asher yatzar is a hefsek
    – Chatzkel
    Commented Feb 2, 2022 at 1:06
  • @Chatzkel He could mean to make asher yatzar after bentching. Are these reliable seforim? Many books based on his supposed answers are not.
    – N.T.
    Commented Feb 2, 2022 at 1:18

1 Answer 1


This case of someone with dirty hands who does not want to use a large amount of water for mayim acharonim is brought up in Yalkut Yosef, Siman 181, Seif 13

יזהר שיהיו מים אחרונים מועטים ולצורך ניקיון אצבעותיו בלבד, ולא ירבה בהם, ואם ידיו מזוהמות הרבה מן התבשיל שאכל, וכן פיו ושפמו, שצריך להם הרבה מים ברחיצתם, יש אומרים שטוב שירחצם קודם נטילת ידים מים אחרונים אדעתא לאכול עוד אחר כך, ויהיו אלו כמים אמצעיים ויאכל פת, ואחר כך יטול מים אחרונים במעט מים. ויש אומרים שאין צריך להחמיר בזה כל כך, ורשאי להעביר את ידיו לאחר שנטל מים אחרונים על פיו ושפמו. ולדינא, נכון שירחץ ידיו להעביר הזוהמא שלא לשם מים אחרונים, ושוב יחזור ויטול אצבעות ידיו במים מועטים לשם מים אחרונים. ועל כל פנים צריך לרחוץ י''ד פרקי אצבעותיו. [ילקוט יוסף הל' ברהמ''ז וברכות עמ' רנא. ועל פי המבואר בהליכות עולם ח''ב עמוד מה]

  • 1
    Is this a proper understanding of the text? 1) Wash hands normally with the intention not to end meal, eat some bread, and then make mayim acharonim using a small amount of water. 2) Wash hands thoroughly after making mayim acharonim normally 3) The practical halacha is lenient and allows for first washing thorougly and then making mayim acharonim
    – treenuts15
    Commented Feb 8, 2022 at 3:36

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