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January 28, 1977 - Image 17

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1977-01-28

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Justification Told for Washing Hands Before Reciting Grace After Meals

BY RABBI SAMUEL FOX

(Copyright 1977, JTA, Inc.)

Three reasons are of-
fered for religious_ Jews
washing their hands
after the meal before re-
citing the grace after me-
als.
During the course of
the meal' the hands may
have become soiled and it
is forbidden. to recite
prayers or benedictions
with soiled hands. The
source for such a re-

quirement is the consid-
eration that the table is
likened unto the altar of
the Almighty.

tered the sanctuary
without washing his
hands.

caution and is regarded by in a pure state, being sub-
some authorities as more ject to human frailty, his
severe than a ritualistic intentions are never .per-
fect.
requirement.

The humans at the
table are likened unto the
priests (Kohanim) who
served at the altar in the
Temple of Jerusalem. The
Zohar (Parshas Balak)
goes as far as to say that
one who offers benedic-
tions with soiled hands
may forfeit his life like
the priest of old who en-

A second reason given
for this practice is that
what is called the salt (or
brine) of Sodom may have
collected on the hands dur-
ing the meal and may in-
jure one's eyes were he to
brush his eyes with those
hands (Rabbi Jonah, Be-
rakoth 88a). This reason is
regarded as a health pre-

The Kabalists advance
a third reason. They
claim that in every offer-
ing a person offers to both
the pure and ideal in life
as well as to the contami-
nated and to the im-
purities of life.

Friday, January 28, 1977 17

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