- Question: [Sunday, 28th Tishreiy, 5783]
One of the handles of our Neigal Vaaser cup broke off, and I would like to know if it is still valid to be used or not?
So long as the cup itself remains whole without leaks, it remains valid for washing hands in the morning and for bread. [Nevertheless, when washing for bread or in the morning, one must take extra care that the impure water from one hand doesn’t get onto the other hand, and hence a towel should be used, or one is to simply purchase a new Neigal Vaaser cup which has two handles for this purpose.]
Explanation: One of the conditions of washing hands in the morning upon awakening and for bread is that one must use a valid vessel for the pouring. A broken vessel is potentially invalid depending on the following factors: A vessel which is broken to the point that water enters into it, is invalid for washing in the regular way. However, a vessel which is broken but not in a way that allows water to enter or leak, such as if it lost one or all of its handles, is considered a Gistra, and is debated among the Poskim as to its status. According to Admur, so long as the vessel does not have a whole which leaks water out, then the vessel is valid. Other Poskim, however, take a more stringent approach. Practically, however, argument can be made that by our Neigal Vaaser cups used today, according to all opinions the loss of handles do not invalidate the vessel being that the vessel is still perfectly usable, and can be held from its top nursing remaining handle
Sources: Piskeiy Teshuvos 159:9; See regarding the general invalidation of a vessel with a hole: Admur Seder Netilas Yadayim 12; Admur 159:4; Michaber 159:1-3; See regarding the law of a Gistira or Shever Keli: Mishneh Keilim 4:3; Lenient: Admur 159:5 [regarding even a halved vessel] and 11 [regarding vessel which lost handle]; Chazon Ish 21:3; Chayeh Adam 37:4 [Lenient if no other vessel]; Beis Baruch on Chayeh Adam footnote 30 lenient by all handles of today’s cups; Stringent: M”A 159:3; Gr”a 159; M”B 159:12 and Shaar Hatziyon 159:15; See regarding the status of a vessel without a handle as a Gistira: Admur 159:11; Beis Baruch on Chayeh Adam footnote 30; See regarding not to touch the impure water on the vessel: Siddur Seder Netilah; Admur 162:2; Seder Netilas Yadayim 2; See regarding the custom of using a vessel with many handles to avoid this issue: Ketzos Hashulchan 2:14