Hand Washing Blessing (Netilat Yadayim) Audio
If you’re up for it, there is an opportunity between the rituals of sanctification (wine blessing – Kiddush) and nourishment (challah blessing – Motzi), to invite your guests to get up. The practice of hand washing dates all the way back to the time of the first and second Temple period when the Israelites made special offerings on Shabbat. In order to make these offerings, they needed to cleanse their hands with fresh water then raise up their hands and recite a blessing.
Traditionally, a ceremonial cup (ideally with two handles) is filled with water and poured over each hand (some people pour three splashes over each hand, the minimum is twice), then the blessing (Netilat Yadayim) is recited, hands are dried, and then the blessing over challah (Motzi) is said. Many people do not speak between Netilat Yadayim and Motzi.
Thanks to Shira Kline, award-winning performer and music educator, and Josh Nelson, influential composer and performer, for these incredible audio recordings.
Spoken in Hebrew
Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech ha’olam asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav vitzivanu al netilat yadayim.
Spoken in English
Blessed are You, Infinite One, who makes us holy through our actions and honors us as we raise up our hands.
This version uses the word ruach (which means spirit, breath, or wind) instead of melech (which means king). The ruach version is popular with those involved in the Jewish Renewal Movement. Click here to learn more about the difference between the word choices.
Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Ruach ha’olam asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav vitzivanu al netilat yadayim.