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I'm curious as to communities (or even individuals) that follow Rambam w/o any zoharic or kabbalistic influence (e.g. R Y. Kapach/Kafih/Qafih's if it isn't already extinct), how do they wash their hands in the morning and wrap their hand tefilin?

(Rambam doesn't mention "negel vasser" as it was based on ruach raah/sheidim which Rambam doesn't subscribe to nor the 7 arm wrappings which are of kabbalistic origin and mimic the 7 lower sefiros which again Rambam rejects.)

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R Y. Kapach/Kafih/Qafih's if it isn't already extinct

R. Qafih's tradition is alive and strong. One of his primary disciples, R. Rason 'Arusi (a tremendous talmid hakham in his own right) is perhaps the most well known, however there are many others as well.

how do they wash their hands in the morning... Rambam doesn't mention "negel vasser" as it was based on ruach raah/sheidim which Rambam doesn't subscribe to

According to the Rambam, washing is a preparatory function of tefillah. It is one of the five things that are me'akbhin eth ha-tefillah (H. Tefillah 4:1). So washing upon waking is unnecessary and only becomes obligatory before one intends to pray. It can be done at any time before prayer as long as one maintains mindfulness of their hand activity (H. Berakhoth 6:17). To my observation, this is how the community indeed observes the halakhah.

how do they... wrap their hand tefilin? ... Rambam doesn't subscribe to... the 7 arm wrappings which are of kabbalistic origin and mimic the 7 lower sefiros which again Rambam rejects.

Here is how R. Itamar Kohen (an active member of the Dardai community) describes it in Mishnath ha-Rambam:

לשון הרמב"ם בהלכות תפילין ג,יב: ואורך רצועה של יד, כדי שתקיף את הזרוע ויקשור ממנה הקשר, ותמתח רצועה אחת עד אצבע אמצעית, ויכרוך ממנה על אצבעו שלוש כריכות ויקשור. ע"כ. למדנו מדבריו כי מסביב לקיבורת די בכריכה אחת, ושתי הכריכות הנוספות הם מנהג, וכן שבע הכריכות מסביב לזרוע הם מנהג.

That it is a function of minhag, there is no halakhah concerning it. So if one has a specific custom to wrap a certain number of times (be it 7 or any other number) they may do so. In the Baladi community (which R. Qafih and his talmidim are a subset of), the predominant custom is seven (I have seen other variations but never asked). However as R. 'Arusi points out:

שבע הכריכות אינן מעכבות

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  • Great halachic presentation along with fascinating info regarding R Qafih's adherents. You're getting an upvote from me but not a check as I am aware of Rambams halachic position on these issues, I'm more interested in the actual practices/minhagim of a community that strictly follows Rambam as it relates to these two particular matters. Thanks!
    – Nahum
    Commented Dec 31, 2023 at 16:37
  • Btw, I love your Hebrew pronunciation—you seem to be one of the faithful!
    – Nahum
    Commented Dec 31, 2023 at 17:14
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    These sources reflect how this community actually practices. People wash when suits their convenience before prayer, not necessarily upon awakening. And as far as number of wraps, it is varied - with the predominantly practiced custom being seven. Commented Dec 31, 2023 at 21:38
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    Ok, will do. (15 characters)
    – Nahum
    Commented Dec 31, 2023 at 22:31
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    @BID I hear you. It's ironic as presumably the rationalist geonim and rishonim would term the kabbalistic perception of God a complete heresy.
    – Nahum
    Commented Jan 1 at 1:43

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