If one woke up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, what is the least amount of work one must do (e.g. just rinse the finger tips or rub the hands against one's clothing) that would allow one to recite the "Asher Yatzar" blessing?

Sometimes there are sensitive sleepers nearby and washing with a cup might make a lot of noise. Alternatively a cup may not be available at the time.

Since upon waking up you must rid your hands of Ruach Ra'ah before reciting any blessing, this cleansing process is not the same as a regular trip to the bathroom during the day.

  • well if there is no ruach ra'a nowadays, as per the opinion of the Maharshal and of Rabbi Abadi Shlita cited here: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/7746/… then one would not need to perform any ruach raa related behaviors, e.g. washing.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Aug 3, 2015 at 23:14
  • 1
    @mevaqesh, why then are we required to do netilat yadayim in the morning?
    – Ani Yodea
    Commented Aug 4, 2015 at 0:39
  • 1
    According to the Rosh,because it is assumed that your hands touched a dirty part of your body (they used to sleep naked and bathe rarely if ever). According to Rashba this is similar to kohanim washing their hands in the morning (related to being a new being IIRC). The difference between this and ruach ra'a is that I don't think that acc. to Rashba, and certainly that acc. to Rosh you would need a k'li (vessel) or repeated pouring; once would be fine.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Aug 4, 2015 at 0:43

1 Answer 1


By law

Ruach ra is not to touch orifices or food to remove it (completely) you need to use water

To say a brocho you only need to make your hands clean, (better with water, not only fingertips but whole fingers). If you slept with clothing your hands are considered clean for saying a brocho

But according to kabolo (Zohar)

you can not make a brocho (or walk 4 amos (if someone does he is hayav misa)) untill you remove the ruach raa

Shulchan aruch harav 1.7 says that a yiai shomaim should act according to the kabolo if possible

Some say to wash your mouth before saying a brocho

3 reasons to wash hands in the morning

From Shulchan aruch harav end of 4.3 and from 4.4

1 for prayer (to wash hands that were not watched for prayer (as by mincha and maariv too)

Needs to go the distance of 1 mil (~1km) out of his way to find water (or 4 mil on his way)

If no water can rub hands on something that cleans

2 to remover the ruach raa

Only with water

3 to clean them from the sweat they touched (to be able to say a brocho)

Do not need to go to find water


There are 2 versions of the first 4 simanim in the shulchan aruch harav so please follow the links for the right one

  • 2
    Please include a source or two to support this. One curiosity that I have about "Ruach ra". Is it the daylight that causes it or is it the fact that you woke up from sleep? I ask this partially because AFAIK, when you nap during the day, there is no concern about ru'ach ra, and AFAIK, you need not wash your hands after a daytime nap. So, I think it's a combo of sleep and it being a nighttime sleep. (Perhaps, different rules for night workers that would make things similar for them.)
    – DanF
    Commented Aug 3, 2015 at 21:46
  • @DanF The question was about sleeping at night. See chabadlibrary.org/books/adhaz/sh/sh1/3/4/4.htm that you are correct, but when day comes you need to wash even if your hands are clean chabadlibrary.org/books/adhaz/sh/sh1/3/4/13.htm but see chabadlibrary.org/books/adhaz/sh/sh1/3/4/15.htm (and footnotes there) that even when you sleep by day 60 breaths there might be a ruach raa
    – hazoriz
    Commented Aug 3, 2015 at 21:54
  • @DanF From above link by sif 4 it seems that it is the sleep (for 60 breaths, of a jew) at night that causes it (maybe by day too as in sif 15) . I will be happy to answer if I can any additional questions
    – hazoriz
    Commented Aug 3, 2015 at 22:00
  • It seems that you may be answering your own question, though, I have to read at least some of your links. There's a significant "might" in your answer, which makes me think that the answer to your question is that one who wakes up before daytime may have no ru'ach ra to be concerned about, an, thus, there is no absolute requirement to wash is hands. It's a safek if he even needs to do it. Your answer implies that it is DEFINITELY necessary.
    – DanF
    Commented Aug 4, 2015 at 2:58
  • @DanF I do not understand what question you are referring to. In my understanding if we worry about the ruach raa, it comes if you were sleeping for 60 breaths at night even if you woke up while it was still night. כל הישן בלילה ששים... נשימות [כיון] שנסתלקה ממנו נשמתו באה רוח הטומאה ושורה על גופו ומיד שניעור משינתו נסתלקה רוח הטומאה מן כל גופו חוץ מן ידיו...
    – hazoriz
    Commented Aug 4, 2015 at 12:07

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