If someone wakes up and touches another object before washing his/her hands, does that object get some level of tumah as well?

1 Answer 1


Simple answer no.

Complex answer, there is a mahloket as to exactly why we wash our hands in the morning. Some hold that is is because we have touched an unclean part of the body, some hold that is is because of a ruah ra that rests upon a person while they are asleep, some hold that is not a ruah ra but rather klipot or hiztoniut that rest upon a person while they are asleep, and thus must be driven off before one can start to pray. However none of those things is listed by Hazal as a form of tumah that is capable of being passed on, to an additional object.

  • I think the Rambam is quoted as saying we wash when waking up to a day of service of Hashem, just as kohanim wash when starting their Temple service. Again, wouldn't transmit tumah.
    – Shalom
    Sep 20, 2010 at 21:59
  • There are 2 reasons to wash hands in the morning. The first reason is for tefilla. This is the washing that we say al netilas yadayim on. There is a machlokes, usually brought between the Rosh and the Rashba, as to why. The Rosh requires cleanliness mornibefore davening. The assumption is that you have touched unclean areas while asleep. The Rashba requires kedusha for your "new being" similar to kohanim (also because of tefilla. This netila requires only one rinse (and can be done,if there's no water, with anything that cleans. Con't below.
    – YDK
    Sep 21, 2010 at 0:49
  • The second reason is for fear that a ruach ra'a will damage us. For this: Only water, 3x alternating and no bracha. (Whether you need a keli for any of this is another discussion.)
    – YDK
    Sep 21, 2010 at 0:54
  • 2
    I assume what mekubal means is that even though the ruaach r'aa can be mazik, the ruach itself doesn't transfer.
    – YDK
    Sep 21, 2010 at 1:00
  • However, I have heard that one should be careful not to touch food, and if one does, there can be problems... According to your answer, why should that be so?
    – yydl
    Sep 21, 2010 at 20:46

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