Lesson 2: Modeh Ani Part 2: Handwashing and Q&A

Course: Modeh Ani and Asher Yatzar
Lesson #2 of 3

Series: Pray Like a Jew

Teacher: Gidon Ariel

180Views | Published: September 5, 2014 | Revised: April 21, 2021

Why do Jews refrain from using God's name?  What are the three foundational phrases that begin a large number of Jewish Prayers? This lesson provides the answers. In addition Gidon takes head-on a question about the origin of hand washing, and its criticism in the New Testament. His very candid response might bring Jews and Christians more into alignment than we expected.    Enjoy!


Bob’s Application:  Gidon’s answer about hand washing, and how he thinks about it as compared to other commands in scripture touches on something I believe is extremely important to us as Christians. First, I’ll admit I always had trouble with the whole hand washing thing because I couldn’t see the basis for it in scripture. As such I looked down on Jews because all I could see is Jews getting trapped in the vortex of the traditions of men. This answer causes me to back-off and give them the freedom to do their thing – how can I fault them for wanting to remember the preparation for priestly worship?  


Second, concerning the struggle between ritual law and social law, I found Gidon’s comments very refreshing. As Christians we have to be honest that we struggle with exactly the same thing.  What is more important to God – that we pray and thank him for the food we are about to eat, or that we criticize a family member during the meal?  Which of those would God rather have us refrain from if He were to pick?  And yet what is our track record for praying before we eat?  99%?  And yet how many of us would go 99 meals before he say criticise another person during the meal?  Not me. Why is form is so much easier than content?! Col 3:8 says for us to put aside anger, wrath, malice, slander and abusive speech from our mouths.  Yes, we are free from the ritual law, but the major and harder commands are ever before us.

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