Why Wash?

Let your HANDS take the first step, nose ahead, do the talking: 

R' Yitzchak Mirsky, in his  Hegyoni Halachah Haggadahi, writes about the significance of Urechatz--of the additional washing of one's hands before eating vegetables on the night of the Seder. In  Mesachet Sottah  4B it says, "One who takes the Mitzvah of washing one's hands lightly will be removed from the world." The Ba'er Hatav comments that even if one is normally vigilant about washing his hands before eating bread (and the Maateh Yosef says that this also applies to washing before eating vegetables), but disregards this Mitzvah purposely just one time, he is still liable to the punishment set forth in the Gemarah. 

The question arises though as to why the Gemarah stipulates such a strict punishment, even for missing the Mitzvah just once?! 

The Maharal of Prague says that there is deep symbolism involved when one washes his hands for the purpose of a Mitzvah. Hands represent the beginning of the human body, for when one stretches out his hands to reach forward or above, it is the hands that are at the front or at the top of the body. The Maharal explains that that the way one begins an action greatly influences the direction and tone of all that follows from that point, and therefore, even a seemingly insignificant sin, but one involving the "bodily leader," is particularly wrong, for a misguided beginning will lead to an incomplete and incorrect conclusion. On Pesach, the Maharal continues, we should be extremely careful in our observance of this idea, for Pesach is the annual point of beginning for everything that exists, in all times. 

At this time of beginning and renewal, R' Mirsky concludes, it is essential to remind ourselves of the importance of a correct beginning in any action and endeavor we undertake- something which is symbolized by the additional washing of our hands at the Seder.

haggadah Section: Urchatz
Source: Bangitout.com Seder Sidekick