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Wiping Hands & Tzove'ah

The Daily Halacha Moment - Wiping Hands & Tzove'ah 🖐️

״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 wipe one's hands with a cloth if they are dirty with some sort of dyeing pigment from food?


Some Poskim rule that one who stained his hands with a dyeing pigment, such as one who ate strawberries, beets, pomegranates and the like,[1] needs to be careful not to touch his clothing or other cloth, due to the prohibition of Tzove’ah. [2] However, other Poskim are lenient and rule that it is permitted to wipe dirty hands on the cloth. [3] Practically, one should try and abide by the stringent opinion. [4]

Similarly, what we mentioned in a previous Halacha Moment that there is no Tzove'ah by foods only applies to when both items used for coloring are food items, (for example, one who mixes red wine with white wine to lighten the color etc). [5]


[1]. See in Chut Shani, Shabbat, vol. 1, p. 149 who explains that this is only an issue regarding staining with food items, blood or pigments that are normally used for dyeing items. Cleaning dirt, or wiping after relieving oneself is not included in this issue, and are permitted to do even on white materials.

[2]. Sefer Yere’im §274; Shibulei HaLeket §86; Ohr Zarua 63:5.

[3]. Ritva, Shabbat 111a; Sefer HaAgur §484. See also in Darkei Moshe 320:2; Radvaz §1201; Kenneset HaGedolah; Chacham Tzvi, Likutim, 127:1; Hagaot Rabbi Akiva Eiger on Magen Avraham 320:24.

[4]. Shulchan Aruch 320:20 and 328:48 who uses the working, “one must be careful.” See also in Kaf HaChaim 320:118 and Yabia Omer, vol. 5, 28:2 for the explanation of the intention of the Shulchan Aruch. This is also the ruling of Magen Avraham 320:24; Shulchan Aruch HaRav 320:27; Aruch HaShulchan 230:7; Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 5, p. 15.

[5]. See Yabia Omer, vol. 2, 20:3; Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 5, p. 34.

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