When discussing the mitzvah of washing hands before a meal Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch in Horeb says: [paragraph 464]

Rub the hands one upon the other after you have poured water over both of them ...

What is the source of this practice? Does anyone practice it today?

  • I thought it was b/c the friction of the rubbing causes heat which hastens evaporation.
    – DanF
    Oct 8, 2018 at 2:03

2 Answers 2


The earliest recorded source for this practice appears to be Tosefta: Yadayim 1:2:

הנוטל את ידיו צריך לשפשף את ידיו

[After] washing one's hands, one must rub one's hands.1

It's then cited, moree or less verbatim, by the Rambam in Hilchot Mikvaot 11:2 and by the Rema in Orach Chayim 162:2.2

Yodeyans msh210 and ezra reported in comments on this question that they personally implement this practice, msh210 reported having seen many others doing it, and ezra said that it's the typical practice in Lubavitcher communities. I think that's sufficient evidence to establish that at least some people practice it today.

(Regarding possible reasons for this practice, see Note #36 in Chabad.org's online presentation of Shulchan Aruch Harav 1623. Reasons cited include "additional purity," removing any remaining dirt, and ensuring that the washing-water spreads to all parts of the hands.)

1. My translation.
2. Thanks to DoubleAA for mentioning this source in a comment on the question.
3. Thanks to Oliver for mentioning this source and the Tosefta in comments on the question.


The ramma in Orach Chaim siman 162 siff 2 mentions the practice of rubbing hands together after washing

הנוטל ידיו צריך לשפשפם זו בזו

The Bach as pointed to in the Mishna Berurah says this only lichatchila and not li'ikuva. The Mishna Berurah also points out that this is said even when washing with a full riviis. See also the next few siifim concerning issues that might arise when rubbing hands after not doing a perfect washing.

It should be noted that Rabbi Hirsch's instructions for learning Halacha was to learn Shulchan Aruch with Baer Heiteiv. As B.H. does not make any mention of the rubbing being 'only' lichatchila, it is probably safe to say Rabbi Hirsch's instructions follow the basic instructions of Ramma.

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