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Wearing Gloves at Night

Someone who has extremely dry hands with many areas of cracked skin and it is hard for them to pour water on there hands to wash in the morning. Do they have an eitzah of sleeping with a glove and not washing their hands at all? Or perhaps then washing the glove over the hand? Is there any problem, what’s the eitzah? What are the sources?


There is a dspute among rishonim (the Rosh and the Rashba) concerning the reason for netilas yadayim: Is it on account of hands touching unclean places in the body (Rosh), or is it on account of ruach ra’ah that rests upon hands during the night (Rashba).

Wearing gloves at night helps for the former (unclean hands), but not for the latter (ruach ra’ah), for which there is no substitute for washing one’s hands.

Halachic authorities are stringent for both opinions, and therefore one must still wash hands.

If the majority of the hand is washed, and some is covered in plasters, this remains fine, provided the plasters are not a chatzitzah (the wearer intends them to stay).

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  1. The Rashba’s tam is that of “briah chadasha” and that a person washes his hands to be m’kadesh himself for the avodah of the day. The tam of Ruach Rah is from the Zohar which the poskim point out has no makor in Shas. Therefore b’makom hadchak without water one could be makil to clean there hands in a way that they are physically clean and still daven, make brachos, etc. even though they didn’t wash them since from the Shas we don’t find such a tam. That’s the first thing.
    Second, See the Ashel Avraham Buchatch in Siman 3 Sif 3. Seemingly from there if someone covers there hands at night then no problem of ruach rah. However adayin tzrich iyun.

    In the Sefer Artoz HaChaim from the Malbim he writes that if one covers there hands at night they should wash in the morning without a bracha. According to the Rosh the hands are clean and therefore don’t need netillah. However according to the Rashba (tam of briah chadasha, etc) one still needs a netillah, since you loose the Rosh it should be done without a bracha. However he gives no mention of Ruach Rah.

    1. It is true that the reason of ruach ra’ah is based on kaballah, but because it has been absorbed into halachah by many poskim, it cannot be dismissed lightly. This doesn’t necessarily mean that one cannot recite berachos etc. (we find explicitly in the Gemara that berachos are made before netilas yadayim), but one won’t be able to eat with hands, touch parts of one’s body, and so on, so that one will still need to wash.

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