Waking up in the Middle of the Night

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Someone who wakes up in the middle of the night whether it is to go to the bathroom quickly and jump back into bed or it is to work for several hours, several halachot are immediately relevant. These halachot include Netilat Yadayim, Asher Yatzar, Birchot Hatorah, Birchot Hashachar, and Doing Activities Before Davening. Many are collected here.

One Who Is not Planning on Going Back to Sleep

  1. One should wash one's hands immediately after one's recitation of Modeh Ani.[1]
  2. According to Ashkenazim, if one needs to go to the bathroom upon waking up and after going to the bathroom one will be ready for davening, one should wash without a bracha upon waking up and after having gone to the bathroom wash again with the bracha of Al Netilat Yadayim.[2]
  3. According to Ashkenazim, if after having gone to the bathroom one will still not be ready for davening and will have to go to the bathroom another time before davening (as is common when one wakes up a long time before davening), one should wash without a bracha upon waking up, wash a second time without a bracha after having gone to the bathroom the first time, and then wash a third time with a bracha of Al Netilat Yadayim when one is ready for davening after having gone to the bathroom a second time.[3]
    1. The above is the opinion of the Mishna Brurah and Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach. Rav Mordechai Willig holds that one does not need to wash before going to the bathroom and also that after having gone to the bathroom one should wash without a cup and without the bracha, and then when one is ready for davening one should wash again using a cup and make the bracha.[4]
  4. According to Sephardim,
    1. If one doesn't have an urgent need to go to the bathroom, it is permitted to get dressed, go to the bathroom, and then wash with the bracha of Al Netilat Yadayim. It is preferable to wash before getting dressed and going to the bathroom.[5]
    2. If one needs to go to the bathroom, especially if it is urgent, one should go to the bathroom before washing one's hands. [6]
    3. If one got up a while before davening and isn't going back to sleep should wash Netilat Yadayim with a bracha and say Birchot HaTorah.[7]

One Who Is Planning on Going Back to Sleep

  1. If one wakes up in the night to go to the bathroom, one should wash one's hands without a bracha and should not make Birchot HaTorah. After going to the bathroom, go back to sleep, and upon waking up in the morning wash with a bracha before saying Birchot Hatorah as usual.[8]
  2. If one woke up to say Tikkun Chatzot or to learn a little but plans on going back to sleep, one should wash one's hands with a bracha and make Birchot HaTorah. [9]

Saying Asher Yatzar

  1. Asher Yatzar is recited at any time during the day or night.[10]
  2. One recites Asher Yatzar when getting up at night, unless one does not expect to use the bathroom again in the morning, in which case one can wait until the morning to make the bracha.[11].

Sources

  1. Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 4:1
  2. Magen Avraham 4:1 quotes the Ketavim of the Arizal as saying that one should wash with the bracha and then go to the bathroom, however he disagrees and feels that it would be preferable to wash with a bracha after going to the bathroom. He adds that if one needs to go to the bathroom, then it is forbidden to wash with a bracha before going to the bathroom. The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 2:7 and Mishna Brurah 4:4 agree with the Magen Avraham; one should wash with a bracha after going to the bathroom. They add that one should also wash without a bracha before going to the bathroom.
    • If one is not going to be ready for davening after having gone to the bathroom the first time, the Beiur Halacha (4:1 s.v. Afliu) presents two opinions about when it is preferable to wash one's hands with the bracha of Al Netilat Yadayim. The Chaye Adam holds that it is preferable to wash without a bracha upon waking up and when one is ready for davening to wash again with the bracha, while the Shaarei Teshuva holds that one should wash with the bracha after going to the bathroom even if one is not totally ready for davening. The Beiur Halacha rules like the Chaye Adam that upon waking up one should wash without a bracha and when one is ready for davening to wash again with the bracha.
    • Rav Shlomo Zalman (quoted in Halichot Shlomo Tefilla 2:23, pg 23) rules like the Chaye Adam and states when one is washing one's hands after having gone to the bathroom in the morning and one knows that one will need to go to the bathroom again before davening, the first time one should wash without a bracha and after going to the bathroom the second time when one is ready for davening one should wash with the bracha. As long as one is ready for the beginning of davening even if one will go to the bathroom after Yishtabach it is still considered as though one did his netilat yadayim right before davening. Rav Nevinsal in Byitzchak Yikreh (Mishna Brurah 6:8) argues that one should wait to recite the bracha after he goes to the bathroom after yishtabach if he knows he's going to need to go.
  3. Rav Mordechai Willig in Am Mordechai (Brachot, Siman 11, pg 45-8) writes that one should go to the bathroom, wash without a cup three times, and then when one is ready for davening wash again with a cup and make the bracha of Al Netilat Yadayim.
  4. Yalkut Yosef (vol 1, pg 384, 4:40) writes that a person may get dressed and go to the bathroom before washing his hands. Those who are strict upon themselves to set up a cup of water near their bed to wash before going to the bathroom should be blessed. Rav Ovadia Yosef in Halichot Olam (v. 1, p. 32) disagrees with the Ben Ish Chai (Toldot #6) who says that one should not touch one's clothes before Netilat Yadayim and Rav Ovadya holds that it is permitted to get dressed and go to the bathroom before washing. This is quoted by Rabbi Mansour on dailyhalacha.com.
    • Yalkut Yosef (v. 1, p. 388) writes that it is a bad idea to wash before going to the bathroom and only recite the bracha afterwards since that means you're going to make the bracha after drying your hands, which is a major dispute in which the Rambam says one may not recite the bracha.
    • He also says that following the practice of the Mishna Brurah to wash upon waking up with a bracha and then again going to the bathroom with a bracha since it means that you might have been yotzei already with the first washing and if so, you're making the bracha after drying your hands. Halacha Brurah (v. 1, p. 55) agrees with Yalkut Yosef and added that his father, Rav Ovadia Yosef, washed after getting dressed and going to the bathroom all the time.
  5. Or LeTzion 2:1:3, Yalkut Yosef 4:40, and Halacha Brurah 4:4 write that if one needs to go to the bathroom, especially if it is urgent, one should first go to the bathroom and then wash one's hands with a bracha of Al Netilat Yadayim.
  6. Or Letzion (vol 2 chap 1 note 2) writes that if one is not going back to sleep one should make the Netilat Yadayim with a bracha right away.
  7. Or Letzion (vol 2 chap 1:2) writes that if one is going back to sleep and one only woke up temporarily to go to the bathroom, one should make the Netilat Yadayim without a bracha.
  8. Or Letzion (vol 2 chap 1:2) maintains that in this scenario one should make Netilat Yadayim with a bracha prior to Birchot HaShachar.
  9. Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 7:1, [1].
  10. Mishna Brurah 4:3