Sunday, 22 June 2014

Ring, Ring

Question:­ I am rather forgetful and often misplace things, so don’t 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 one’s hands as it is as a chatzitza (a barrier). This only applies to small items that one doesn’t ever remove, i.e. they always want them on one’s body. The Rema adds that this applies even if the ring is loose and the water can get underneath.
The Mishnah 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 if they remove it, it may get lost or stolen they may leave it on. They should, however, pour water on that hand first, move the ring a bit (with the still unwashed hand) before pouring again.
R’ Ephraim Greenblatt (Rivevos Ephraim 1:127) writes that as fewer women bake nowadays it depends on the individual. If one removes one’s rings while working or showering, etc. one must remove them regardless. One who doesn’t 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).

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