Washing After the Bathroom

December 29, 2017 | by Rabbi Dovid Rosenfeld

How does one wash after going to the bathroom? Is it the same as we wash in the morning?

The Aish Rabbi Replies

The only time one has to wash three times is when rising in the morning (or after a nap). After the bathroom, we need only wash our hands once and a cup is not required.

There is a minority opinion that every time a person goes to the bathroom he should wash afterwards three times, also without a cup. There is a further (unrelated) stringency to use a cup. Thus, it is common to see people washing three times with a cup whenever they leave the bathroom. But that is “extra credit” and not the letter of the law.

I should add that occasionally people who wash three times from a cup do it very hastily, trying to squeeze six pours out of a single, half-filled washing cup. I have seen many people do this and sometimes fear that not one of the six pours actually covered their entire hand. Clearly, in such a case a single proper washing is preferred over a half-hearted stringency.

(Sources: Mishna Berurah 4:39, Laws of Daily Living I 2:12 footnotes 58-9.)

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