I once heard my rabbi say that you must wash your head with shampoo first before you wash your body with soap in the shower on Erev Shabbos/Yom Tov, but on any other weekday you can choose to do whichever one first. Is this true and is there a source for this?

  • The shulchan aruch he.wikisource.org/wiki/… rules that it is a mitzva to wash ones body and shampoo his hair (and cut his nails) before shabbat. Presumably, your rabbi is saying to do the mitzva before the non-mitzva for the one day where there is a mitzva.
    – Double AA
    Aug 31, 2023 at 0:44
  • @DoubleAA No but my rabbi said specifically to wash your hair before your body on erev Shabbos, but on other days you can wash your body before hair if you want. If Shulchan Aruch says they’re both mitzvot then why would the order matter? Aug 31, 2023 at 0:58
  • It never says to use soap on your body, just hot water
    – Double AA
    Aug 31, 2023 at 0:58

1 Answer 1


That seems to contradict the idea brought forth from the Gemara in Shabbos 61a which mentions to wash the head first since it is the king of all limbs. This seems to be at all times .

Text of gemara:

דכשהוא רוחץ רוחץ של ימין ואח"כ רוחץ של שמאל כשהוא סך סך של ימין ואח"כ של שמאל והרוצה לסוך כל גופו סך ראשו תחילה מפני שהוא מלך על כל איבריו:

  • That gemara just mentions anointing the head first.
    – Double AA
    Aug 31, 2023 at 1:26
  • Why would washing head with shampoo be any different ?
    – sam
    Aug 31, 2023 at 1:27
  • Maybe because anointing is related to kingship? Why doesn't it mention the head by washing if they're equivalent?
    – shmosel
    Aug 31, 2023 at 1:29
  • @shmosel see aruch hashulchan that for washing we can only choose horizontal order but vertical order depends on gravity of the water (bath vs shower). Order of soaping is not even discussed; "wash" there means rinse with water.
    – Double AA
    Aug 31, 2023 at 1:29
  • In any event, many are not careful about this general order right/left/etc. but there's an additional reason to be careful on Friday as outlined in my comment above. That's almost certainly what the OP's rabbi was telling him.
    – Double AA
    Aug 31, 2023 at 1:31

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