Washing After the Bathroom

How does one wash after going to the bathroom? Is it the same as we wash in the morning?

The Aish Rabbi Replies:

The only time one has to wash three times is when rising in the morning (or after a nap). After the bathroom, we need only wash our hands once and a cup is not required.

There is a minority opinion that every time a person goes to the bathroom he should wash afterwards three times, also without a cup. There is a further (unrelated) stringency to use a cup. Thus, it is common to see people washing three times with a cup whenever they leave the bathroom. But that is “extra credit” and not the letter of the law.

I should add that occasionally people who wash three times from a cup do it very hastily, trying to squeeze six pours out of a single, half-filled washing cup. I have seen many people do this and sometimes fear that not one of the six pours actually covered their entire hand. Clearly, in such a case a single proper washing is preferred over a half-hearted stringency.

(Sources: Mishna Berurah 4:39, Laws of Daily Living I 2:12 footnotes 58-9.)

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