Wash the Hands

Haggadah Section: Urchatz

Wash your hands without reciting a blessing. Pass around a pitcher of water, a bowl, and a towel. Hold the pitcher in one hand and pour water over the other hand. Then reverse hands and repeat. 

Hands that are spackled with paint, sticky with jelly, or muddy from digging in the garden need to be washed. But at the seder, dressed in crisp holiday clothes, our hands are not stained or soiled. So why wash them?

Think about the cool tickle of water over your fingers. As it cleans the body, it also wakes up the mind, helping us to appreciate that no food is ordinary. A carrot stick, a leaf of lettuce, a stalk of celery--all grew and reached our table with the blessings of God and the hard work of human beings.

Usually, when we wash our hands before eating, we say a blessing. We will do that later in the seder, but now we wash without a blessing. That's one of the things that makes this night different from all other nights!

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