Netilas Yadayim by a Dirty River



If one is by a river and the waters are quite dirty (there is a sign that says some sewage goes there). It is not clear if a dog would drink from the waters. If there is no nearby water, what is the recommended practice for washing netilas yadayim for bread?

I was told that for some rivers doing tevila with the hands is also a problem because these waters are used to create electricity and therefore are not even good for tevilas yadayim. What if someone is not sure if these waters have that problem?



If it’s possible to find out (you might be able to find out online etc.) that this river has no turbines and the like which render the river invalid for tevilah then you should toivel your hands in the river and say ‘Al shtifas yadayim‘.

If it does have turbines, and the water is actually so bad that a dog won’t drink even from the little bit of water which will be in the kvort, one may be lenient if there is no other water available within 4 ‘mil‘ ahead of him to wrap both of his hands in a napkin or cloth and eat the bread without washing.

However it’s worthwhile to note that the Alter Rebbe writes that the one who is stringent not to eat without washing is “תבוא עליו ברכה”.

If as you mentioned there is a doubt about the status of the river and likewise it’s a doubt whether a dog will drink from this water or not, and there is no nearby water then the halachah is that you may use this water either to toivel your hands or to wash with this water from a kvort, and a brachah should be recited.



סדר נט”י ס”ז-ט – אסור לטול ידיו במים סרוחים אבל מותר לטבול בים (הכשר לטבילה) אף שהם סרוחים ויברך על שטיפת ידים.

ומי שמהלך בדרך ואין שם מים בריחוק ד מיל כתב אדה”ז שם סכ”ב “ויש מקילים לכרוך ידיו במפה והמחמיר תבוא עליו ברכה”.

ובנו”ד שיש ספק על כשרות המים וגם ספק האם המים ראוים לשתיית כלב ובאם לאו, מותר לטול מהם וכן לטבול בהם, משום שכל ספק בטהרת ידים טהור – ראה שוע”ר סי’ ק”ס סי”ג וגם אפשר לברך עליהם כמ”ש בבה”ל שם סי”א וכל זה כשאין מים מזומנים לפניו.