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Erasing while washing Hands On Shabbat

The Daily Halacha Moment - Erasing while washing Hands 👐

״כל השונה הלכות בכל יום - מובטח לו שהוא בן העולם הבא״ (נידה עג ע״א, מגילה כח:)

“Anyone who studies Halachot every day is guaranteed that he is destined for the world-to-come” (Megilla 28b, Niddah 73a)


May one wash one's hands that have words on them on Shabbat if it will erase some of the words?


One may wash his hands on Shabbat even though one has writing on his hand and it may come to become erased. However, one should wash his hands with a _Reviit_ (around 3 Oz) of water at one time and should not dry his hands with a towel, since by rubbing the towel on his hands he will directly erase the ink. [1] If one’s hands are merely dirty, such as if there are ink blotches or soot on one’s hands it is permitted to wash, scrub and dry them as one usually would, and it is not an issue of Mochek to do so. [2] Similarly, One may use a newspaper that has non-Hebrew letters on it in order to clean himself, even though one may come to erase some of the letters. [3] However, the Ashkenazic customs is to be stringent with washing hands with letters/words and using a newspaper to clean oneself, one should follow ones custom. [4]


[1]. Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 5, p. 225; Halichot Olam, vol. 4, p. 273; Yabia Omer, vol. 9, 108:183; Birkei Yosef 340:2; Peri Ha'Aretz, vol. 2, 4.

[2]. Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 5, p. 225. See also in Ohr LeTzion, vol. 2, 40:4; Tefilah LeMoshe, 5:10; Menuchat Ahavah, Vol. 3, 22:31.

[3]. See Yabia Omer, vol. 5, 29-30; Halichot Olam, vol. 4, p. 272; Levyat Chen 119.

[4]. See Da'at Torah, 340:3; Sh"t Maharshag, 2:41. See also The Shabbos Home, vol. 1, p. 52.

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