Sunday, 22 June 2014

Removing Rings to Wash

Question:­ I am rather forgetful and often misplace things, so do not like removing my jewellery. Do I need to remove my rings before washing my hands for bread?
Answer: The Shulchan Aruch (OC 161:3) writes that one should remove one’s ring before washing their hands as it is a chatzitza (a barrier). The Rema explains that this is because people remove their rings when they’re doing manual work so as not to ruin or dirty their ring. He adds that this applies even if the ring is loose, and the water can get underneath.
The Mishna Berura (161:19) writes that as women usually remove their rings before baking, they are considered to be a chatzitza and must be removed. As men who wear rings are less likely to remove them, men may wash with rings even if they are on firmly. This doesn’t apply to a ring set with a precious stone, as men are more particular to remove them when working.
The Kaf Hachaim (OC 161:32) writes that one who has a gold ring with a precious stone and is worried that it may get lost or stolen if they remove it, may leave it on. They should, however, pour water on that hand first, move the ring a bit before pouring again.
R’ Ephraim Greenblatt (Rivevos Ephraim 1:127) writes that as fewer women bake nowadays it depends on the individual. One who removes their rings while working or showering, etc. must remove them, regardless. One who does not remove their rings while working and has difficulty removing them may wash with them on, though should ensure to pour at least a revi’is on each hand (see Shulchan Aruch OC 162:2).
In conclusion, it is preferable for all rings to be removed before washing netilas yadayim. One who rarely removes their ring or is worried about removing it, may leave it on if necessary, though they should wash with at least one revi’is on each hand.

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