Touched food before washing

Not to touch food and drink:[1]

[It goes without saying that one must be very careful[2]] not to touch any food or drink prior to washing in order not to contaminate it. [Women must be especially warned regarding this as the majority of the food preparations are done by them.[3]]

Gentiles:[4] There is no need to beware from a gentile touching one’s food or drink prior to washing hands after awakening, as the evil spirit does not reside on the hands of gentiles, as will be explained in the next Halacha.

Children:[5] It is accustomed to be lenient regarding food that is touched by children after they awaken, prior to washing hands, if the child is below the age of Chinuch.[6]  [However once the child has reached the age of Chinuch one must beware from allowing him or her to touch food or drink prior to washing hands after awakening.[7]] (Furthermore one who is careful to beware from allowing a child to touch foods from the day of his circumcision and onwards is doing an act of holiness.)[8]


[1] Basra 1/7 and 4/2; Kama 4/6

[2] Siddur and Basra 4/2

[3] Siddur and Basra 4/2

[4] Basra 4/2

[5] Basra 4/2; So also rules: Mishmeres Shalom 1/4; Keren Ledavid 1/1; Halichos Shlomo 20/25; Tzitz Eliezer 7/2

[6] 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. [ibid; Thus before the age of Chinuch since the G-dly soul has not even begun to enter this impurity does not desire to seek nurture in their bodies upon them sleeping].

[7] See previous footnote

[8] Parentheses in original

Reason: As in truth the G-dly soul begins to enter into the child’s body from the day of his Bris Milah. [ibid; Thus the evil spirit has reason to reside in his body when sleeping starting from after the Milah.]

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