Ask the Rabbi

Negel Vaser for Babies


Rabbi Yoel Lieberman

Adar 24, 5783
At what age is it proper to start washing your babies or toddlers negelvaser. Is it there a rationale to start even in the baby's first year to remove the Ruach Raah from your house even though Chinuch is out of the question
ב"ה Shalom First of all for the sake of other readers, I'll just clarify that "negel vasser" refers to the washing our hands directly after waking up . The Chida warns sternly to wash even the hands of small children so that the "Ruach Ra'ah" – evil spirit on their hands should not be transferred to foods and other things. (ספר עבודת הקודש - מורה באצבע - סימן ב, סעיף ס, בן איש חי פרשת תולדות אות י) Therefore, according to Rav Shneur Zalman of Liadi zt"l one who wants to be stringent even with toddlers will be considered "Kadosh"- holy. ' (שו"ע הרב הלכות השכמת הבוקר ד :ב) On the other hand, the same Rav Shneur Zalman zt"l also said that the crucial entering of a person's holy soul is only when they reach the age of Bar- Mitzva or Bat Mitzva. The beginning of this entering of the holy soul is at the age of "Chinuch" when we start educating our children to keep the Mitzvot. Therefore, the conclusion of many poskim is that essentially from the age of 6 or 7 one has to make sure the children wash their hand in the morning since they make what they touch "Tamei" = impure and this is the age to be educated for this mitzva. Therefore , one can be lenient and only start to wash the children hands in the morning at the age of 6-7. However, he who wants to be stringent shall be bestowed with a blessing. (See: ציץ אליעזר חלק ז סי' ב, שאילת שלמה חלק ב, סימן י"ד, פסקי תשובות סי' ד:ח) All the best
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