Is it a good thing to wash my hands in the morning, negel vasser, right next to my bed?
And the answer is, that you should do it as close to the bed as is practically possible. And let me tell you why. Because the Rashba says that negel vasser is for the purpose of showing that we are kohanei Hashem. And by the kohanim it says, ורחצו … את ידיהם בבואם אל אוהל מועד (Pikudei 40:31-32). Before coming in to serve Hashem the kohanim washed their hands as a preparation for this important opportunity.
In the morning, we’re getting up in order to serve Hashem all day long. That’s the lesson. Washing your hands when you wake up means that you’re getting yourself ready to serve Hashem. You are a kohen Hashem all day long. So as soon as you get up, at your earliest opportunity, you wash your hands to prepare yourself for His service. That’s a tremendous lesson, that we’re in this world to serve Hashem.
And therefore, as you wash your hands don’t just do it without thinking. Think, say, “I am doing this now because I am a kohen. Hashem has appointed us as the ממלכת כהנים וגוי קדוש.” Our entire lives are dedicated to serving Hashem. Whether you’re in the kitchen cooking or you’re washing diapers. Whether you’re working in the office or shopping in the grocery store. Besides your davening and learning, you should know that whatever else you do is all part of serving Hakodosh Boruch Hu. You’re an eved ne’eman and you’re a kohen, and therefore the washing of the hands is a very important symbol. And it should be utilized to make us aware of our status as kohanei Hashem. Don’t waste that opportunity that you have every morning. It’s a glorious opportunity for greatness that most people are wasting.
TAPE # E-167 (November 1998)