Ablution in Judaism
Ablution in Judaism. This article refers to ceremonies of ritual purity performed by religious Jews.
The origins for these rituals and customs are found in the Mishnah and Talmud, and have been codified in various codes of Jewish law and tradition, such as Maimonides's Mishneh Torah (12th century) and Joseph Karo's Shulkhan Arukh (16th century.)
These customs are most commonly observed within Orthodox Judaism. Those within Conservative Judaism widely observe the riturals related to Netilat yadayim; using a mikvah when converting to Judaism, washing one's hands during the Passover seder, and tahara.
- Negel vasser ("Nail water"), when getting up in the morning after a full night's sleep, or even after a lengthy nap, there is the custom to wash one's hands ritually by pouring a large cup of water over one's fingers, alternating three times.
- Netilat yadayim ("Raising [after ritually washing] the hands") which is done prior to eating any bread with a meal. A special blessing is said. This washing is also done, without any blessing, after touching something deemed "impure" (such as one's private parts, leather shoes, or an insect or animal, or after paying a visit to a cemetery).
- Mayim acharonim ("After-waters") a minor custom of ritually washing off the tips of one's fingers after a meal, symbolising the removal of material impurity.
- After blessing of Asher yatzar ("Who created [the man]"). After having gone to the bathroom (and having either urinated or defecated), the ritual washing of one's hands as a symbol of both bodily cleanliness and of removing human impurity – see Netilat yadayim above.
- Every Kohen present has his hands ritually washed in synagogue by the Levi'im before uttering the unique priestly blessings on Jewish holidays in front of the entire congregation.
- Mikvah ("[Immersion in a] pool of water"), when a married Jewish woman immerses herself a week after her menstrual period concludes and she wishes to resume conjugal relations with her husband. This requires special preparation.
- The ritual of immersing in a Mikvah is also required when converting to Judaism.
- During the Passover Seder the participants ritually wash their hands twice as part of the meal. (Once without a blessing in order to eat some vegetables in "purity", and once with a blessing prior to the eating of the matzah – see Netilat yadayim above.)
- Tahara, ("Purification"), the ritual washing and cleansing, and immersion in a mikva if possible, of a Jew's body prior to burial.
|Jewish life topics|
|Birth: Brit milah | Zeved habat (Simchat Bat) | Hebrew name | Redemption of First-born (Pidyon Haben)|
|Teenage: B'nai Mitzvah|
|Adult: Ablution in Judaism | Prayers and blessings|
|Marriage: Matchmaking | Jewish view of marriage | Role of women in Judaism | Niddah | Mikvah | Tzeniut|
|Judaism: Religious life | Observing the commandments | Torah study (Weekly Torah portion) | Talmud study (Daf Yomi) | Jewish holidays|
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|Death: Chevra kadisha | Shiv'ah | Kaddish | Yahrzeit||edit|