Does halacha require Jews to rinse their hands when they wake up because of some "contamination" that happened while they were asleep?

If so what exactly was that contamination?

  • @DonielF I think the last one is a better dupe.
    – Ploni
    Dec 21, 2018 at 18:57
  • @Ploni Both of them, perhaps; the one I picked was due to his first line, asking for the reason why we wash. Based on his second question, as to what the contamination is, exactly, that would fall under the one you flagged.
    – DonielF
    Dec 21, 2018 at 19:08
  • How do you know to ask if the reason for washing is contamination without having a definition of contamination in context of the question?
    – Dude
    Dec 21, 2018 at 20:10

1 Answer 1


One reason why we wash our hands in the morning is brought down in the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (2:1). When we go to sleep, our neshama leaves our body and a ruach tumah (unclean spirit) rests upon us. When we wake up, the ruach tumah leaves the rest of the body and dwells in the fingers. When we wash our hands, the ruach tumah leaves completely, having no where to go.

  • Thanks for responding. I wanted to comment in the posts that the other users recommended but those posts seem a bit old. I read in the Wikipedia section for "Handwashing in Judaism" and for the second kind of handwashing it gave the source which was Berakhot 15a. I looked up the text and it mentioned handwashing before a list of actions and then handwashing immediately after using the restroom. So my question would then be is the handwashing in Berakhot 15a the same handwashing performed immediately after waking up to get rid of the ruach tumah or is it a different kind of handwashing?
    – user17175
    Dec 24, 2018 at 2:19