Do children need to wash their hands in the morning upon awakening?
It is accustomed not to be careful to wash the hands of children upon awakening, until they reach the age of Chinuch. [However, once the child has reached the age of Chinuch, one must be careful to educate them to wash hands after awakening in the morning.] (Furthermore, one who is careful to wash their hands from the day of the child’s circumcision and onwards is doing an act of holiness.) [Practically, the Poskim rule that one is to beware to wash even a small child’s hands in the morning. This applies even if the child is of a very young age such as a nursing baby. Doing so is a good Segula that one’s children grow up with purity and holiness. The Rebbe Rashab wrote that one is to be careful to begin washing a child’s hand starting from when the child is no longer in diapers. The Rebbe stated that one is to be careful in washing hands starting at the very least from age three.]
Until the child reaches the age of education there is no obligation to wash the child’s hands, although one who does so starting from the day of the Bris, is doing a holy act. Once the child has reached the age of Chinuch he must wash his hands. [The Rebbe Rashab wrote one is to be careful to wash the hands of the child starting from when the child is out of diapers. The Rebbe stated that one is to be careful in this starting at the very least from age three.]
Should girls have their hands washed prior to the age of Chinuch just like was said by boys?
Seemingly, it is proper to begin washing the hands of girls from the time the name is given. There is room to learn that it is proper to begin washing their hands even beforehand, starting from the day of birth.
 Based on Basra 4/2 regarding children touching food, as seemingly the intent of Admur there is with regards to washing their hands and not simply to not letting them touch food. So also understands Kaf Hachaim 4/22
 Basra 4/2; So brings also P”M 4 M”Z 7 that the world is not accustomed to be careful to wash the hands of children. He however does not differentiate between whether the child has reached the age of Chinuch or not.
The reason: As the G-dly soul only completely and mainly enters into a person when he reaches the age of Bar or Bas Mitzvah, and it is for this reason that when they reach this age they become Biblically obligated to keep the commands, and are punished for transgression. Now, the beginning of the entrance of the G-dly soul into a child’s body is from the age that the Sages obligated the child to be educated in Torah and Mitzvos. [Basra ibid; Thus, before the age of Chinuch, since the G-dly soul has not even begun to enter the body, this impurity does not desire to seek nurture in their bodies upon them sleeping].
 See previous footnote
 lit. “Kadosh Yomar Lo”
 Parentheses in original
The reason: As in truth the G-dly soul begins to enter into the child’s body from the day of his Bris Milah. [Admur ibid] Thus the evil spirit has reason to reside in his body when sleeping starting from after the Milah.
 Ben Ish Chaiy Toldos 10; Kaf Hachaim 4/22; Chida in Moreh Baetzba 2/60: “It is proper to wash the hands of the small children properly in order to prevent them from placing impurity on all the items they touch.”; P”M 4 M”Z 7: “It is proper to wash their hands every morning as Sakana is more severe than even prohibitions”.
 Ben Ish Chaiy Toldos 10
 Ben Ish Chaiy Toldos 10 in name of Chesed Lealafim 13; Kaf Hachaim 4/22
 The will of the Rebbe Rashab to the general public printed in Ishkavta Direbbe p. 136
 Toras Menachem 7  p. 194
 Based on Likkutei Sichos 14 p. 250; Toras Menachem 5750 Vol. 3 p. 364; See Shulchan Menachem 5 p. 158-159 [Shaareiy Halacha Uminhag 3 p. 297]; Darkei Chaim Veshalom 219
Admur in Basra 4/2 states that it is proper to begin washing the hands of a child from the time of his Bris being that at that time the G-dly soul begins to enter. No mention is made regarding when the G-dly soul begins to enter a girl and consequently from when it is proper to begin washing the hands of a girl. Chazal state [Avoda Zara 27a] that a girl is considered already circumcised. The intent of this is that the moment a girl is born she is already considered circumcised. [Likkutei Sichos ibid; Igros Kodesh 22 p. 260] Thus, the G-dly soul begins to enter a girl as soon as she is born, just as we say regarding a boy on the day of his Bris. Nevertheless, perhaps the actual entrance is when she is given a name. [Likkutei Sichos ibid] The reason for this is because the letters of a name are what connects the soul to the body. [Toras Menachem ibid] It is for this reason that we are particular to name a girl at the first opportunity, at the first available Kerias Hatorah, and do not delay it at all as is the custom of others, as who has the right to delay the soul from entering. [Shulchan Menachem ibid; Darkei Chaim Veshalom ibid] From the above it is implied that just like by a boy one begins to wash his hands starting from the day of the Bris, so too by a girl one is to begin washing the hands from the day her name is given, and perhaps even beforehand starting from the day she is born.
Leave A Comment?
You must be logged in to post a comment.