Washing Again During Bread Meal
If I go to the bathroom during a bread meal, do I need to wash and say the blessing on the bread again when I come out? It might be towards the end of the meal when I’m not eating more bread.
The Aish Rabbi Replies
If after washing and beginning your meal you go to the bathroom – or scratch your head, tie your shoe, touch a covered part of your body or the like, you do have to wash again – even if you don’t plan on eating any more bread. You do not have to make new blessings on the food because you are merely continuing the meal you already began. A bread meal is generally viewed as continuing until you formally end your meal, even if you have a brief interruption or even go outside during the course of it.
Generally, this washing will be without a blessing. There are some who wash with a blessing if their hands got very dirty (such as from cleaning themselves from the bathroom) and they plan to eat more bread (minimally the volume of an egg). However, the more prevalent custom is never to make a blessing except when washing at the start of the meal.
(Sources: Shulchan Aruch O.C. 164:2, Mishna Berurah 13, Piskei Teshuvos note 37, Rema to O.C. 170:1)