If I recall correctly from Chayei Adam and elsewhere, if you're in the middle of a bread-based meal and excuse yourself to defecate, first of all you should wash with soap and water for hygienic purposes, as you always should after using the restroom! But after that, you do a ritual washing and make "al netilas yadayim" as you usually would when starting to eat bread.

This halacha is the subject of some discussion, and not agreed-upon by everyone.

According to those who do require washing, however, what are the parameters of this washing? Can I talk afterwards? Do I say a new hamotzee if I'm having more bread? What if I wasn't in the mood for more bread, just cake? Just meat? Just water?


3 Answers 3


As you probably know, whether you make a bracha after going to the bathroom could be a mi.yodeya question in its own right.

The basis for not talking after netilas yadayim is "teikef l'netilah seudah". Since you are already involved in the seudah, there is no issue. (The eating of bread merely signifies the beginning of the seudah.)

Your bracha rishona on the bread is not affected by going to the bathroom per se. The only thing that will affect your bracha rishona on bread is hesech daas (see S.A. O.C. 178-179) which is not an issue when just going to the bathroom.

The takanah for netilas yadayim is only for bread. A similar halacha would be if someone made a mezonos on a doughnut and, after finishing, decided to have another. Although he may have to bench afterward on what he already ate, he would not recite hamotzi unless he was now going to have an appropriate shiur.


According to Rabbi Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer, if you want to eat more bread, you should wash, say al netilat yadayim and then not talk until you say hamotzee.

If you don't want to eat more bread, you don't have to wash.

  • Why do you need a new Hamotzi?
    – Yahu
    May 9, 2011 at 18:35
  • Not sure; hence my question originally what exactly the parameters here are. Rabbi Bechhofer said new hamotzi.
    – Shalom
    May 9, 2011 at 19:17
  • 1
    Shalom, your take on Rabbi Bechofer is against the Rema O.C. 178:7 here: hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=9729&st=&pgnum=589. If there is a alternate opinion, please quote the source.
    – YDK
    May 9, 2011 at 19:49
  • @YDK: as Rabbi Welcher said: "it's a subject of much debate in the Achronim", so don't ask me from a Ramah. See Yahu's linked question (and answer) above for other opinions. This isn't "my take on Rabbi Bechhofer", it's what I heard directly from him. Again, that's one opinion, there are certainly others!
    – Shalom
    May 9, 2011 at 20:09
  • Shalom, I was talking about hamotzi.
    – YDK
    May 9, 2011 at 21:08

As for not talking after any נטילת ידיים, there seems to be a misconception among a vast majority of Jews, who hold such a personal custom (as it originated and was intended) as if it is halakha. Surely, nowhere says this custom is halakha, and one certainly can talk after until eating bread.

  • Aharon, you should do more research. The halacha of tekef l'netilas yadayim seudah which is brough in the gemara, is interpreted by Tosfos and Rabeinu Yonah and is also infered by the Yerushalmi. If your family follows the line of Rambam and Rif, more power to ya'.
    – YDK
    May 11, 2011 at 15:34
  • I'd like to see where it says that and what it says, because I have heard from multiple reliable sources that there is no clear Talmudic source for not speaking between nettilath yodhoim and hamossi. Between mayim ahharonim and birkath hammozon is a different story. And this is why such a halakha does not exist in Mishne Tora, which is a complete halakhic code (unlike, say, Shulhhan `Arukh). Such an idea of not talking between n"y and hamossi is merely a personal minhagh of the Rosh. May 11, 2011 at 16:15
  • Well, here is a Talmudic source from a tosefta: hebrewbooks.org/shas.aspx?mesechta=1&daf=52b&format=pdf. The sugya starts on the previous page. Note that Tosfos hold that this is a 4th concept of "immediacy" and does not apply it as an interpretation of tekef lintila bracha found here: hebrewbooks.org/shas.aspx?mesechta=1&daf=42&format=pdf, whereas others use this gemara to interpret the word "bracha" in the latter citing as bircas hamotzi.
    – YDK
    May 11, 2011 at 19:27
  • Obviously, the Rambam had a different answer to why "Tekef lintilah seudah" was left out- we dont pasken like the "davar acher" in the quoted tosefta, but like the first answer. This needs more explanation of the gemara which is beyond the scope of this comment.
    – YDK
    May 11, 2011 at 19:30

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