This symbolic hand-washing recalls Miriam's Well. This well followed Miriam, sister of Moses, through the desert. Filled with waters of life, the well was a source of strength and renewal to all who drew from it. One drink from its waters was said to alert the heart, mind and soul, and make the meaning of Torah more clear.
When we wash hands again later, we will say blessings to sanctify that act. This hand washing is purely symbolic, and therefore the blessing is unspoken.
We will spend the night recounting
Far-off events full of wonder,
And because of all of the wine
The mountains will skip like rams.
Tonight they will exchange questions:
The wise, the godless, the simple-minded and the child.
And time reverses its course,
Today flowing back into yesterday,
Like a river enclosed at its mouth.
Each of us has been a slave in Egypt,
Soaked straw and clay with sweat,
And crossed the sea dry-footed.
You too, stranger.
This year in fear and shame.
Next year in virtue and justice. (Primo Levi)
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