If we are unable to say Hashem’s name with impure hands (in this case caused by sleeping) and I wake up in the middle of the night extremely thirsty, would I need to get out of bed and wash netilas yedayim so that I can make a berachah on the water?

  • Welcome to Mi Yodeya, Randal. In the precise limits that you are describing, water is not considered like food according to some. But what would prevent you from getting up? In your enthusiasm to serve the Creator upon opening your eyes, wouldn’t you spring up and say Modeh Ani? Like Yehudah ben Teima says, “Be strong like a leopard, light like an eagle, swift like a gazelle and mighty like a lion to do the will of our Father in Heaven.” Commented May 30, 2023 at 2:47
  • You sort of answered your own question. There are workarounds like thinking the bracha when no water is available, but some are very strict about washing your hands before doing anything, so I would say it's best to wash if you can. See also: shulchanaruchharav.com/halacha/…
    – shmosel
    Commented May 30, 2023 at 2:51
  • @YaacovDeane because I would want to go right back to sleep after drinking the water. I have no issue with getting out of bed like that, but the idea is I just want to quickly drink and go back to sleep - not jump out of bed a 2:30 AM.
    – Rardal
    Commented May 30, 2023 at 10:33
  • Reading your question, what I hear is more related to motivation than necessity. (I don’t feel like getting up out of bed.) The measure would be, what if you awoke and had a call of nature? Would you get up and wash, etc.? (Which includes the blessings.) My guess is that your answer is that you would get up. That indicates an issue of motivation, not necessity in regard to thirst. In that situation, you need words of encouragement from your work out partners. כל ישראל ערבים זה בזה. Commented May 30, 2023 at 11:39
  • Many have the custom of leaving water near their bed so they can wash their hands before getting out of bed. You could use it for a midnight bracha too if you leave enough for the morning.
    – shmosel
    Commented May 30, 2023 at 21:03

1 Answer 1


Although that is obviously the best idea, there are many poskim who say that one can either think the bracha in their head, or wipe their hands on “something that cleans” (something rough). The Kaf Hachaim 4:108 brings a list of poskim who hold each opinion.

Those who hold thinking the bracha is best:

כתב הט"ז סי' ס"ב וז"ל מי שצמא בלילה במטתו שא"א לו ליטול ידיו ולברך יהרהר הברכה בלבו וישתה וכו' עכ"ל. וכ"כ הסלת בלולה שם ס"ק ד' וכ"כ ח"א כלל ה' אות ט"ז,

Those who argue and say that you need to wipe your hands:

אכן הא"ר שם ס"ק ד' חלק על הט"ז דאינו יכול להרהר אלא ינקה ידיו בכותל או בצרור או בכל מידי דמנקי ויכול לברך עי"ש, וכ"כ הרדב"ז ח"א סי' ל"ח עי"ש. וכן העלה בשו"ת מהר"י מברונה סי' ס"ה, וכ"כ הברכ"י שם בשם שו"ת מהר"י זיין

He then mentions the Zohar, which says the only option is washing hands:

ויר"ש יאנוס וידחוק עצמו לעמוד על עמדו וירחוץ ידיו ג"פ ויברך ברכה שלמה כתקנה עכ"ל

However, if getting up and washing will mean one can’t fall back asleep, he brings many more who agree with the Taz to just think the bracha.

He also brings one opinion that making a bracha before going to sleep and drinking less than a reviis, would include any drink during the night, so you wouldn’t need a bracha. He questions that though, since sleeping is considered a hefsek.

  • I wonder whether שא"א לו ליטול ידיו means "in a case where one can't wash" or "in bed and therefore can't easily wash." The Rama he's commenting on says ואינו יכול לנקותו משום אונס, which sounds like there's no (extra?) water available at all.
    – shmosel
    Commented May 30, 2023 at 3:00
  • It would sound that he means therefore, otherwise he would’ve wrote it with a vav not a shin
    – Chatzkel
    Commented May 30, 2023 at 3:03
  • This subject of “thinking the blessing” is also in an area that is questionable. It is making the assumption that thought (something akin to kavanot used in connection with prayer) can replace prayer (which actually requires action (the movement of the lips & by most opinions audible speech). They are not the same, which is why thinking prayers doesn’t fulfill the obligation of prayer, like with the Shema and Amidah. Commented May 30, 2023 at 10:51
  • If presumably one could think a bracha why wouldn't you also need to wash your hands anyways if thinking and speaking accomplish the same thing?
    – Dude
    Commented May 26 at 15:10

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