Clean Hands- a Poem
The song of the day speaks about
Who shall ascend into the mountain of the Lord? and who shall stand in His holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not taken My name in vain, and hath not sworn deceitfully.
Perhaps it is no accident that we read these words in the song of the day. There is a whole lot of hand washing that takes place in your life if you are following the rules of the road in Judaism.
Let's list when Jews wash:
Before eating a meal that involves bread
After eating a meal that involves bread (Mayim Achronim)
When waking up in the morning
Before eating dipped fruit and vegetables (think the Passover Seder!!)
Before Kohanim do the priestly blessings
After using the bathroom complete with the most interesting blessing of them all, the Asher Yatzar blessing.
After leaving a funeral
That's a lot of time washing our hands. Plain and simple, a good idea. An idea that we are hearing about abundantly these days. Probably more in the past week than we have heard the phrase during our lifetimes. Judaism has been promoting the idea for millennia. A good and practical idea.
Sometimes it takes a crisis to make us understand the words differently, more completely.
So wash. Wash thoroughly.
As though your life depends upon it
Wrinkles and crevices
Pores and hairs
Knuckles and veins
Joined in the water dance
Up and Down
Top and Bottom
Back and forth
Round and round
Round and round again
Like the water libation
Sing as you pour
Let the water run
Like your mom taught you
Like your teacher urged you
Like the doctor pleads with you
Like the torah says
Water and soap
Massage out the old
and bring in the new
Cleanliness is Godliness, no?