I want to know something about Jewish prayer. Do Jews praying have a ritual like 'wudu' (as Muslims do), the washing of their hands, in preparation to pray?
Is it thrice right hand, thrice left hand? Before praying and/or after praying?
Have you an online reference, with a picture, that you could direct me to view?
Arash from Iran
Different Jewish cultures have placed more or less emphasis on this, and those Sefardic Jewish cultures that were particularly insistent on handwashing before prayer may well have been influenced by the rituals of surrounding Muslim cultures. You can look at studies of the thought of Rabbi Avraham Maimonides among others.
I hope this is helpful to you, and hope that, if you are still in Iran, that the Almighty brings your country's people freedom, and that they use that freedom for the good of the world.
Thank you for your question. Jews do have a series of hand-washing rituals, not for the sake of hygiene, but for ritual purity’s sake. Most specifically, these rituals occur before eating and prayer. There is a special blessing before this act that specifies the washing as a mitzvah, or commandment, and the commong practice is to wash twice on each hand.
In addition, there are other “washings” that are practices followed by some Jews: Washing after sleep (reminiscent of the teaching that sleep produces an impure spiritual state, the remnant of which remains on the fingernails), and after meals (a slight bit of water, without saying a blessing).
In all cases, the Temple-based concerns over ritual purity and sacrifice are no longer operative – but we still observe the practice of hand-washing. This is done as a reminder that we are a “kingdom of priests” (Exodus 19:5), and should therefore seek such pure intentions and spirit.
Thanks for your question Arash. The simple answer to your question is no, Jews do not have a ritual for washing their hands before we pray. However, water is used as a part of other Jewish rituals and can also be part of the preparation for Shabbat prayer. Orthodox Jews wash their hands before eating, using a special vessel for pouring it over their hands and then saying a blessing as they dry them, that thanks God for the commandment to wash our hands [before eating.] Some Orthodox Jewish men also go to a ritual immersion bath, a mikvah, to purify themselves in the preparation for the Sabbath.
Reform Jews rarely go to the mikvah before the Sabbath, however it is becoming more common for observant Reform Jews to wash their hands as a part of the dinner table ritual for welcoming the Sabbath.
Copyright 2014 all rights reserved. Jewish Values Online
N O T I C E
THE VIEWS EXPRESSED IN ANSWERS PROVIDED HEREIN ARE THOSE OF THE INDIVIDUAL JVO PANEL MEMBERS, AND DO NOT
NECESSARILY REFLECT OR REPRESENT THE VIEWS OF THE ORTHODOX, CONSERVATIVE OR REFORM MOVEMENTS, RESPECTIVELY.