1. If one talked after washing does he have wash again and is it a hefseik?

  2. Where in halachah is it stated that one should preferably not talk after washing?

  3. I read that the only time you need to wash again is if you touch the hand of one who didn’t wash, touch a normally covered part of your body or touched feces (as in changing a diaper). Where is the halachic source for this?


4 Answers 4


The Talmud (Berakhot 42a) states that there are three things done immediately. One of them is:

תכף לנטילת ידים ברכה

Immediately [after] washing one's hand, blessing.

The Tur (OH 166) writes that his father, Rosh, was accustomed (apparently on the basis of this Gemara) to not even speak after netillat yadayim, before hamotsi (besides for not speaking after mayyim aharonim, before birkat hamazon, see below).

This is the source for not talking after washing.

However, it should be noted that this interpretation of the passage is far from definitive. Most of the Rishonim explain the passage as referring specifically to mayyim aharonim (washing after the meal) not to washing before the meal. [i]

There are some of Rosh's Ashkenazi predecessors who do include washing before hamotsi in the Gemara's statement. [ii]

There is possible support for Rosh's approach from the Yerushalmi Berakhot (1:1) noted by the Tur (ibid) which could be interpreted as meaning that one shouldn't separate between the washing and the blessing of hamotsi. However, there are multiple reasons, why the Yerushalmi is not proof for his position, noted by the poskim.[iii]

Although this idea that one should not speak after netillat yadayim was popularized by Rosh, an Ashkenazi, and seems to have first been suggested by Ashkenazim, it was far from universally accepted, even among Ashkenazim.[iv]

The Shulhan Arukh (OH 166:1) references Rosh's view in addition to the view of most Rishonim who dispute him, and writes that it is good to be stringent for his view.

Even according to those who approve of the practice, another blessing is not necessary if one speaks between washing and making hamotsi, as long as one made sure to keep his hands clean. (Mishnah Berurah OH 166:6). Obviously according to the opinions that speaking is permitted, one need not wash again. If, however, one dirties one's hands, one must wash again (Meiri to Berakhot: Kundres Beit Yad).

[i] These Rishonim include Rashi (s.v. l'netillat yadayim), Rif (Cited by Tur OH 166), Rambam (Hilkhot Berakhot 6:21), Rabbenu Yoel Halevi (cited in Tur OH 166), Tosafot (s.v. tekef), Semag (Assei 27) citing R. Judah ben Isaac Messer Leon citing a tradition, R. Simha of Speyers (cited in Hagahot Maimoniot Hilkhot Berakhot 6:20) and Rashbash (555). Similarly The Meiri writes (Berakhot 42a: first answer) that as long as one is careful to keep his hands clean, he may speak. Maharshal also wrote that the Gemara clearly refers only to mayyim aharonim

[ii] These include interestingly, Raavya (Vol I: Shu"t 154); Rabbenu Yoel's son. His colleague R. Samson ben Zadok mentions not talking after washing as well. (Tashbets Kattan 288).


  1. Halakha may not follow this Yerushalmi. (Suggested by Shu"t Maharshal 34)

  2. It may also be referring to mayyim aharonim (See Beiur HaGra OH 166:1).

  3. It may be a mere pious act, for optimal circumstances; not an actual halakha. (Maharshal there)

  4. Even were it talking about netillat yadayim, and were it halakhic, that would still not be proof that one couldn't speak. Only eating would be a problem according to Rambam and others. (Beiur of R. Qafih to Hilkhot Berakhot 6:20).


Maharshal for example, eviscerates Rosh and sharply dissents (Shu"t 34, Yam Shel Sh'lmo Hullin 8:42), encouraging people to speak words of Torah after washing.

Similarly, R. Yeshaya Horowitz writes (Shelah: Shaar HaOtiot: Kof: Kedushat HaAkhila 163) that one may recite Psalms related to the meal between washing and eating. The Magen Avraham (OH 166:2) writes that such is the custom. Unsurprisingly, (given the views of most Rishonim including Rambam) the custom in Yemen was to not refrain from speaking after netillat yadayim, even as a stringency. Beiur of R. Qafih to Hilkhot Berakhot 6:20), (M'sorah L'Yossef (Qafih) Vol. I (2007) p. 116).

  • you answer seems to only discuss talking where it will delay hamotzei, as per your source - hamotzei is immediately after washing. The question was about can you talk after washing - even if there is no delay to hamotzei.
    – Jon
    May 23, 2022 at 12:39

From ben olam haba web site:

Before washing for Al Netilas Yadayim, it is important to ensure that the table is set and ready for the meal and that the bread, salt and breadknife is already on the table. [Alternately, if one is simply eating a piece of bread or a sandwich and not setting the table, it is important to make sure that the bread or sandwich is prepared and ready to eat immediately after washing the hands.] Before washing, it is important to check and make sure that a towel is available with which to dry the hands. All of the above is to ensure that there isn’t even a short Hefsek, interruption, between the washing and the eating. (See Kaf HaChaim 166:3) The Bracha of Hamotzi [on the bread] should be said as soon as humanly possible after the washing. It is forbidden to talk between the washing of the hands and the reciting of “Hamotzi”, even a short comment and even talking words of Torah is forbidden. Saying words that are necessary for the reciting of “Hamotzi”, such as saying “salt” or “knife” to indicate that those items are needed is permitted. (See Mishna Berura 165:7 and 166:2. The Shulchan Aruch HaRav 166:1 and some other Poskim maintain that saying two or three words such as “yes please” or “Of course not” are not considered a Hefsek and are permitted.)

Nothing, not even something simple and insignificant, should be done between washing Al Netilas Yadayim and “Hamotzi”, unless it is directly necessary to the meal. (See Mishna Berura 166:1. See Shu”t Az Nidberu Vol. 10 Siman 8:2 that B’Dieved B’Sa’as HaDchak certain things are permitted, as long as they don’t require much concentration. See also Chazon Ish Orach Chaim Siman25:8) Simply waiting for no reason between the Al Netilas Yadayim and the Hamotzi, even without doing anything or talking, should also be avoided. Waiting [from after the hands are completely dried until Hamotzi is recited] for more than the time that it takes to walk 22 Amos (approximately 44 feet) is considered a Hefsek. The time it takes to dry the hands is not counted. (See Mishna Berura 166:4 and Kaf HaChaim 166:9. According to the Shulchan Aruch HaRav 166:1 if in the time that you “waited” you were doing something pertaining to the meal, it isn’t considered a Hefsek, even longer than 22 Amos, though he writes that L’Chatchilah it should be avoided. The Aruch HaShulchan 166:1and 2 even goes so far as to say that waiting in such a case is L’Chatchilah) The above Halacha is for meals during the week. On Shabbos, however, when the custom is to wait for everyone to wash and only then recite “Hamotzi”, where it certainly takes more than “22 Amos” to do this, many Poskim say that the Halacha doesn’t apply. (Aruch HaShulchan ibid. writes that on Shabbos nobody is running anywhere, so their minds are on the Seudah even longer than 22 Amos. Other Poskim maintain that waiting for everyone to wash and sit down is considered “necessary” for the meal. Some Poskim argue and are stringent, and require everyone at the table to have their own 2 Chalos, even on Shabbos, as to avoid waiting more than 22 Amos.)

Although it is important to recite Hamotzi as soon as possible after washing Al Netilas Yadayim, if one indeed did wait longer than the 22 Amos, as long as he/she didn’t take their mind off the meal that is about to be eaten or talk, there is no need to wash again. (Mishna Berura 166:6. See also Chazon Ish Orach Chaim Siman 24:30 towards the end in Dibur Hamaschil K’Shenotel L’Achila) However, if one did take their mind off the upcoming meal, or did talk or make another Hefsek, the hands must be rewashed, and a new Bracha of “Al Netilas Yadayim” may need to be recited, as the original washing and Bracha are nullified by the Hefsek. (See Chazon Ish Siman 25:8.)

  • Is this for Sefardim too? Jun 4, 2017 at 2:50
  • 1
    Consider summarising the relevant portions of both posts to answer the question, rather than leaving multiple large chunks of text including relevant and irrelevant information.
    – mevaqesh
    Jul 26, 2017 at 17:39

from halacha yomit site:

The Gemara in Masechet Berachot (42a) states: “Immediately following hand-washing, one must bless.” The Rishonim disagree as to the explanation of this Gemara: The Rambam explains that the words of the Gemara refer to Mayim Acharonim (“Last Waters”) which follow the meal and this means that one may not interrupt between Mayim Acharonim and Birkat Hamazon. However, between Netilat Yadayim and the Hamotzi blessing, one may speak according to the Rambam’s opinion. Some explain that the Gemara refers to Netilat Yadayim prior to the meal and they hold that the Hamotzi blessing must immediately follow the hand-washing without any interruption of speech in between them. The Tur (authored by Rabbeinu Yaakov son of Rabbeinu Asher) writes that his father, the Rosh, was accustomed not to speak even between the initial hand-washing and the Hamotzi blessing. The Talmud Yerushalmi states: “If one does not interrupt between washing his hands and blessing, the Satan does not prosecute regarding that meal.” The simple meaning of the Yerushalmi seems to be referring to interrupting between the hand-washing before the meal and the Hamotzi blessing, for it says there that “the Satan does not prosecute regarding that meal,” which seems to imply that it is referring to the meal one is about to begin, i.e. that this refers to interrupting between the hand-washing before the meal and the Hamotzi blessing. Nevertheless, the phrase, “The Satan does not prosecute regarding that meal,” can also be understood as referring to the past, in that one will not be harmed by the foods he has already eaten. There are sources for this explanation in several places throughout the Talmud Yerushalmi. After quoting the words of the Poskim and the Talmud Yerushalmi regarding this topic, Maran HaBet Yosef (Chapter 166) concludes, “It is therefore preferable to be careful with regards to the hand-washing prior to the meal as well.” His words, “It is therefore preferable to be careful,” seem to imply that according to the letter of the law, the Halacha follows the view of the Rambam that one may speak between Netilat Yadayim and the Hamotzi blessing. Nevertheless, it is preferable not to speak at all between Netilat Yadayim and the Hamotzi blessing. This is indeed the ruling of Maran Harav Ovadia Yosef Shlit”a.

  1. Based on a discussion of the gemarah (Gittin 16a) regarding partial washing of the hands the assumptions of the gemarah imply that when one's hands are wet enough to make something else wet then the netilah process hasn't come to a halachic conclusion. Therefore until one's hands are dry you may speak. This chiddush was asserted by R' Chaim Brisker but is generally not followed l'halacha (see Chazon Ish and others).

As heard at the end of this shiur (daf 15)

  • 1
    This may be true as regards interrupting between washing and Hamotzi, but it doesn't address the separate issue of talking between washing and saying the blessing on washing. That would seemingly still be prohibited, since the blessing on washing needs to be Over Laasiyatah (or at least as much so as is possible)
    – Double AA
    Nov 26, 2018 at 16:35
  • @DoubleAA from my understanding as long as the water is still on the hands the 'washing' is still technically occurring and therefore one should be able to make the blessing Nov 26, 2018 at 17:14
  • That's besides the point. We aren't talking about when Bedieved you can still say the blessing. If I skip a blessing on my Tallit I can still say it an hour later while still wearing it, but that's not the right thing to do.
    – Double AA
    Nov 26, 2018 at 17:18

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .