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The minhag Chabad by netilas yadayim in the morning is to raise the hands until the peyos for the brocho al netilas yadayim. The source for the minhag is in Likutei Diburim of the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, the Rebbe Rayatz Ztz”l. There the procedure of the Rebbe Rashab is detailed: In the morning he would lift his hands until his peyos (each at either side of the head) after drying his hands and then say the brocho. By netilas yadayim for a seudah he would say the brocho while rubbing his hands together at the level of the heart and then dry his hands. This became the minhag of all Chabad.

Does anyone have any sources that might shed some light as to why he was noheg to lift his hands by the peyos in the morning and by the heart for a seudah? Do any others have a similar minhag? Shkoyech in advance.

נט”י שחרית – שו”ע אדה”ז מהדו”ק ד, ז. לקו”ד ח”ג ע’ 896. ספר המנהגים – חב”ד ע’ 2.

נט”י לסעודה – שו”ע אדה”ז קנח, טז. סדר נט”י לסעודה ס”ד. לקו”ד ח”ג ע’ 896. היום יום כ שבט.

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    This is my minhag also and I am not Chabad.
    – pcoz
    May 17 at 7:45
  • so the water doesn't drip back down to his finger tips?
    – Dude
    Jun 16 at 22:25

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This answer is for the protection of all banot Yisrael and in particular for the safe return home of Ruth Sarah bat Tsofnat.

The Arizal brings both of these procedures (hands up to the level of the ears, elbows facing each other for the morning and post-restroom natilat yadayim, hands at the level of the heart, palms open as if recieving a gift for the pre-Hamotzi natilat yadayim) in Shaar HaKavanot, Inyan Birchot HaShachar, beginning with the words, “ועתה נבאר כוונת ברכת ענט״י.

Rav Yosef Chaim also cites these as the proper procedures in the Ben Ish Chai, Parashat Toldot, Year 1.

It should be noted, however, that both the Arizal and Rav Yosef Chaim pasken one detail very differently from the Rebbe Rayatz Ztz”l- they insist that one must wash his hands, raise them, say the bracha, and only then dry his hands. The Ben Ish Chai goes quite in-depth regarding the importance of saying the bracha before drying the hands.

In Israel, many of those who follow the Ben Ish Chai and/or study the Kitvei Ari are machmir to perform natilat yadayim this way, particularly Mizrachim (though plenty of Ashkenazin and Sephardim as well. The Temanim I've seen do this went to Sephardi yeshivot so difficult to tell where they picked it up.)

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    Thank you יהושע ק! could you add where in Shaar Hakavanot this is found? May 16 at 18:56
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    See Sha’ar HaKavanot, Inyan Birchot HaShachar, beginning with the words, “ועתה נבאר כוונת ברכת ענט״י.” May 17 at 11:59
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    See also Sefer Divrei Shalom by Rabbi Avnet Avgin and the teachings of the Rashash. May 17 at 12:02
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    @YaacovDeane Thank you. May 17 at 12:02
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    You’re welcome, of course, Yehoshuah. With blessings for an auspicious Lag b’Omer… May 17 at 12:03

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