• Mayim Achronim

Mayim Achronim

1. One reason given for the obligation to wash ones hands before reciting Bircas Hamazon is the fact that if ones hands are not clean because they may have become greasy from the food, etc., it is not proper to recite praise to Hashem with hands that are not clean. In fact, even for those who feel that mayim achronim is not an obligation, but who usually would wash their hands after a meal, mayim achronim is an obligation. The Mishna Brura even cautions that if one recites a brocha over wine or fruits (not part of the meal) during the meal, the person should be sure his hands are clean.
2. One must pour the water onto the hands and position the hands so that the grease will drain off of the hands. For this reason it is not sufficient to dip one’s hands into the water.
3. Since its purpose is one of cleanliness any liquids may be used, although water is preferable.
4. All those laws, which govern the water of nitilas yadayim before the meal, do not effect mayim achronim. Hot water should not be used.
5. It does not require a cup, and it may come from any source.
6. One should wash, at least up until the knuckles and, if possible, until the wrists. Certainly washing just the fingertips is not sufficient.
7. Although some are of the opinion that mayim achronim does not require the drying of hands afterwards, it is preferable to dry them.
8. The water of mayim achronim should not be spilled in a place where people might walk. It is, however, preferable to wash into a vessel, on the table or at a sink.
9. When washing on the table, care should be taken to remove pieces of bread so that the water should not spill onto the bread.
10. It is not considered an honor to be given the chance to wash mayim achronim. However, we do give the one who will lead the bentching ample time to concentrate on the Bircas Hamazon and therefore he should wash ahead of the final five people at the meal.
11. One only needs to pour on the hands one time and any amount of water is sufficient. The Gaon used the same amount of water by nitilas yadayim. Bandages and such do not pose a problem in mayim achronim.