What should you do if you suddenly realize that you forgot to wash, either upon waking or before eating bread? I assume you should wash at your first opportunity, but is that right? Do you make a Berachah? What about if you forgot to wash your hands before going to Daven, or if you are a Kohen and forgot to wash before going up to Duchan? Are these situations the same?

(Assume in all cases in which it's relevant that you realize your mistake while you are in the middle of the activity for which you were supposed to wash.)

  • Partial duplicates: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/5842 and judaism.stackexchange.com/q/5037. What do you think of tailoring your question more closely (to a specific case or specific cases) to avoid duplication with those, SethJ?
    – msh210
    Commented Sep 11, 2012 at 15:25
  • 1
    @msh210, my question is a duplicate of neither. In the Kohen question, it is about whether he may go up to Duchan. My question is about where he has already started. In the HaMotzi question, it's about where you realized before eating the bread. Mine is where you have started eating. I hope my edit has made that clear.
    – Seth J
    Commented Sep 11, 2012 at 15:32
  • מי שאכל שום וריחו נודף, יחזור ויאכל שום אחר כדי שיהא ריחו נודף?
    – Double AA
    Commented Sep 11, 2012 at 17:30
  • Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/36088
    – msh210
    Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 3:28
  • well regarding the morning, according to Rosh that is out of concern for prayer, (not relevant after you prayed) according to Rashba is a sort of waking up "b'riya chadasha" ritual (probably not relevant later). And according to mysticism is because of demons attaching themselves to one's hands. If one believes that these demons never existed, don't currently exist, or wont harm him, as we often say regarding superstitious concerns (such as the dangers of using flammable toilet-paper), פוק חזי, that people aren't getting harmed, then you would not have to wash again in the morning AFAIK.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 18:35

1 Answer 1


Orach Chaim 164:2 discusses someone who became impure in middle of the meal. According to the Bais Yosef you wash your hands and make a new Al Netilas Yadayim. According to the Rashal - mentioned in Mishna Berura 13 you would wash and not make a new Al Netilas Yadayim. This is when the person originally washed and made the Bracha. Based on this I would say that if the person never washed, he would stop eating and wash, and for sure make a Bracha Al Netilas Yadayim.

Thanks to Doniel Filreis for this source add on.

Rivevos Efraim 1:129, Igros Moshe OC 2:53 agree that you should wash with a bracha

  • 1
    Why do you assume Rashal wouldn't argue in this case as well?
    – Double AA
    Commented Sep 11, 2012 at 16:28
  • There he originally made a Bracha, Here he never made a Bracha. Why would you assume that the Rashal argues in this case too?? Commented Sep 11, 2012 at 16:29
  • Dayo laba min hadin lihyot kenidon.
    – Double AA
    Commented Sep 11, 2012 at 16:31
  • However even the Rashal holds in certain instances that you would make a Bracha. Look at the Mishna Berura. Commented Sep 11, 2012 at 16:32
  • And how do you know which case this is more similar to?
    – Double AA
    Commented Sep 11, 2012 at 16:34

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