Netilat Yadayim in Preparation for Davening

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One should wash Netilat Yadayim before Tefillah.

General

  1. If one doesn’t have water in order to wash Netilat Yadayim before Shacharit (and one hasn’t washed yet since waking up) or for Netilat Yadayim for Mincha or Maariv, if one knows that one’s hands are unclean because of going to the bathroom or touching an unclean area, then if one was traveling one must travel up to 4 mil to get to water, or up to 1 mil if one has to go backwards for water. If one was at home one only has to travel up to 1 mil. [1]
  2. However, if one already washed upon arising and then had an interruption of a while to remove one’s thoughts from keeping one’s hands clean before Shacharit or prior to Mincha or Maariv, then if there’s no water available then one only has to rub one’s hands on something that cleans them. [2]
  3. One must wash for Mincha as he must for Shacharit. The same is true about Maariv if there is a break between Mincha and Maariv and Mussaf if there is a break between Shacharit and Mussaf. [3]

Procedure for washing

  1. The washing should be done until the wrist. [4]
  2. The washing should be done with a Kli. [5]
  3. If one washed for Mincha and didn’t remove one’s thoughts from keeping one’s clean, one doesn’t need to wash against before Mariv. [6]

If one touched a covered area

  1. If in the middle of Davening one touched a covered area one should travel to get water unless one will miss Davening with a Minyan. [7]
  2. If one remembers during Shemoneh Esrei that one touched a covered area one should just rub one’s hands on something to clean them. [8]
  3. If one washed for Mincha and didn’t remove one’s thoughts from keeping one’s clean, one doesn’t need to wash again before Mariv. [9]
  4. If one learns before Davening one still needs to wash before Davening unless one washed during learning with explicit intent when washing that it should also be for the Davening. [10]
  5. If one ate before Davening, the washing one did for eating doesn’t suffice for Tefillah and one has to wash again. [11] However, if one had explicit intent and was careful to keep one’s hands clean, one doesn’t need to wash before Tefillah. [12]

Exceptions

  1. If one of the four conditions apply there’s no need to travel to get water, and it’s enough to rub one’s hands:
    1. If one will miss the time for Shema and Tefillah, [13]
    2. if one will lose money [14]
    3. if one will be unable to travel to where one needs to go to [15] or
    4. if one will miss Davening with a Minyan. [16]

Sources

  1. S”A 92:4 writes that if one doesn’t have water for Netilat Yadayim for Shacharit one must travel 4 mil or go back 1 mil. Mishna Brurah 233:20 adds that prior to Mincha or Maariv if one knows that one’s hands are dirty because one touched an unclean area or went to the bathroom, the same rule of traveling for water applies. Mishna Brurah 92:18 writes that one who is sitting at home only has to travel up to 1 mil.
  2. S”A 92:5 with Mishna Brurah 92:23, 26 and S”A 233:2 with Mishna Brurah 233:20
  3. Kitzur S"A 69:4. Mishna Brurah 233:17 adds that this washing is without a Beracha.
  4. Ishei Yisrael 8:19, Piskei Teshuvot 92:7, Kitzur S"A 69:4
  5. Piskei Teshuvot 92:7
  6. Mishna Brurah 233:16, Ishei Yisrael 27:23
  7. Ishei Yisrael 2:40
  8. Ishei Yisrael 2:40
  9. Mishna Brurah 233:16, Ishei Yisrael 27:23
  10. Rama 233:2, Mishna Brurah 233:18
  11. Mishna Brurah 233:18, See Daat Torah 92:4 who has a doubt whether Mayim Achronim can suffice for washing before Tefillah.
  12. Piskei Teshuvot 92:8
  13. S”A 92:4
  14. Ishei Yisrael 2:39
  15. Mishna Brurah 92:16
  16. Mishna Brurah 92:16