A priest must wash his hands and feet before service

The Literal Commandment

Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet from it [bronze laver]; when they enter the tent of meeting, they shall wash with water, so that they will not die; or when they approach the altar to minister, by offering up in smoke a fire sacrifice to the LORD. (Exodus 30:19)

 

The priests, the sons of Aaron must wash their hands and feet before ministering in the tabernacle or Temple.

 

Messiah Says

Messiah implicitly affirmed this commandment when He spoke about the Law:

"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-19)

 

Pictures of Messiah

This commandment brings to mind the scene of the Last Supper when the Master takes off his outer garment, wraps a cloth around his waist, pours some water into a basin and begins washing the feet of His disciples.

Peter initially rejects the service but is informed "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me."(John 13:8) Peter acquiesces and then asks "Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head." (John 13:9)

The Master responds "He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean."

 

How Messiah Fulfilled

The literal commandment is given to the priests of the Aaronic priesthood. Since Messiah is not from the tribe of Levi this commandment does not literally apply to Him.

 

Traditional Observance

Traditional observance of this commandment involves daily washing of hands by both men and women from a two-handled pitcher. It is not done to physically wash or clean a person's hands. Instead it is a daily reminder that every task or work to which we set our hands should be pure in the sight of G-d.

 

Other Notes

This commandment is dependent upon a Temple/Tabernacle being in place with a functioning Aaronic priesthood. Literal fulfillment of this commandment is not possible today.

 

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Commandment Details

  • Mishneh Torah # 331
  • Mishneh Torah Book # 8
  • Mishneh Torah Book Service
  • Mishneh Torah Category 41- Entry into the Temple
  • Reference Exodus 30:19-20
  • Scripture Book Exodus
  • Chapter 30
  • Verse 19
  • English Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet from it;
  • Hebrew יט וְרָחֲצוּ אַהֲרֹן וּבָנָיו, מִמֶּנּוּ, אֶת-יְדֵיהֶם, וְאֶת-רַגְלֵיהֶם.
  • Greek 19 καὶ νίψεται Ααρων καὶ οἱ υἱοὶ αὐτοῦ ἐξ αὐτοῦ τὰς χεῖρας καὶ τοὺς πόδας ὕδατι.
  • Parashah 21- Ki Tisa
  • Positive/Negative Positive
  • Sefer Hachinuch # 106
  • Sef. Hach. Command The precept of rinsing hands and feet when ministering at the sanctuary
  • Category Levites & Priests
  • We can fullfill today Yes

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