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Should I be washing my baby Negel Vasser properly?

 

Full Question:

I read on AskTheRav that the Alter Rebbe says that since the Bris one who doesn’t allow your baby to touch food without Negel Vasser is considered holy. (See here)

We’ve been washing my baby Negel Vasser since he was born. Since he is so little and moves around many times his Negel Vasser doesn’t cover the whole hand and is not done perfectly. Also he sleeps multiple times a day.

Do I need to wash him every time he wakes up and make sure it’s a perfect Negel Vasser before he touches food?

In other words what is the age where I have to actually begin worrying about the tumah on his hands and be stringent, as opposed to now, when it’s more preferable and more for Chinuch?

 

Answer:

If you are accepting upon yourself this added stringency, you should ensure that the baby washes Negel Vasser exactly as an adult should, and make sure water reaches the entire hands.

However, this stringency does not necessarily include washing after every times your baby naps, as even food that is touched by an adult who takes a nap by day is permitted to be eaten.

For those who do not take on this added stringency, Halacha mandates to be careful regarding touching before Negel Vasser for a child who has reached the age of Chinuch, approximately 6 or 7 years old.

To add clarification, this Hiddur mentioned in Poskim isn’t due to the Mitzvah of Chinuch. Although as Chassidim we know that Chinuch starts from the youngest age – and even earlier, Halachically, Chinuch doesn’t start until a child is already “the age of Chinuch”. Thus, even according to those opinions that things done for Chinuch can be done ‘symbolically’ without all the details (a subject of itself with many parameters), this Hiddur when observed should be kept with all the details.

 

 

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