Hand Washing

After Kiddush, the celebrants at the meal wash their hands. This is not meant to be a hygienic washing of one’s hands with soap and water, but rather a ritual washing — a sanctification, if you will. A cup is filled with water which is poured twice over the right hand, then twice over the left hand. (Some have the custom of pouring 3 times over each hand.) The entire hand up to the wrist, with all jewelry removed, should be rinsed and a blessing recited as the hands are dried. There should be no talking between the washing of hands and eating the bread because one washes in order to eat bread, and there should be no interruption between these related actions.

Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us in His commandments and commanded us to wash our hands.

Ba’ruch Ah’tah Ah’doh’nai Eh’lo’hay’nu Melech ha’o’lam ah’sher kidishanu b’mitz’vo’tav v’tzee’vanu al n’tee’laht ya’da’yim.