Sunday, 27 December 2020

Hand Dryer for Netilas Yadayim

Question: I don’t have easy access to hand towels at work. Can I dry my hands for hamotzi by using an electric hand-dryer?

Answer: The Gemara (Sotah 4b) teaches the importance of drying one’s hands properly after washing them, before eating bread. One who eats bread while his hands are still wet is considered to have eaten tamei bread. Rashi (158:45) explains that the habit of handling bread with wet hands is so bad that it is considered to be tamei (See Mishna Berura 158:45).

The Shulchan Aruch Harav (OC 158:17) writes that ideally one should dry one’s hands properly with a towel rather than allowing them to dry by themselves.

R’ Binyamin Zilber (Az Nidberu 8:52; 9:64) writes that one can use a hand-dryer, especially as people nowadays use so much water when washing their hands, washing off any tamei water. He argues that the action of moving your hands to the dryer is not considered to be allowing them to dry by themselves.

R’ Moshe Stern (Baer Moshe, Kuntres Electric 7:48) notes that often the hand-dryers are located in a different room to where one wishes to eat. In this case, using one to dry one’s hands would be less ideal, due to the hefsek taken (See Betzel Hachachma 4:141).

R’ Yitzchak Yosef (Yalkut Yosef OC 4:19) writes that towels are still preferable, though if one doesn’t have access to one, one may use a hand-dryer (See Rivevos Ephraim 2:68:4).

In conclusion, it is preferable to use a towel to dry one’s hands before eating bread, though one may use a hand-dryer if necessary.

No comments:

Post a Comment