Netillah – Infusing Meaning into a Life Long Mitzvah

Netillat Yadayim was always a mitzvah I did without thinking. Every morning, I would splash some water on my hands and say the bracha and go on with my day. That all changed when I discovered how important and meaningful this mitzvah truly is. sponsored a series of wonderful speakers who described the beauty of connecting with Hashem each morning and purifying your hands in order to prepare them for the mitzvot of the day. I learned about the amazing power of copper, which was used by the Kohanim in the Beit Hamikdash for the mitzvah of netillat yadayim and raglayim (washing hands and feet). Copper not only neutralizes the water it contains and purifies it of spiritual impurity, but it also is the only metal that cannot become ritually impure (tamei). It is no coincidence that copper is used to conduct electricity in most people’s homes. It is the best metal for allowing the flow of electrons (energy). With my background as a chemistry teacher and dietician, I already knew that copper was an essential nutrient that helps build connective tissue, red blood cells, and bones, as well as keeping your immune system and nervous system in good shape.

What I did not know was that copper had Kabbalistic significance, that it was representative of the sefira of Tiferet (glory);that it was associated with Yaakov Avinu, the only one of our forefathers who went into exile and who was considered the “perfect” forefather because he only had righteous sons and he perfectly fused the characteristics of chesed (Avraham) and gevurah (Yitzchak); and that it was deliberately chosen to coat one of the altars in the Beit Hamikdash because it DOES tarnish, as do we Jews when we sin. The fact that copper can be polished to regain its original beauty fairly easily reminds every one of us that we, too, can regain our spiritual “shine” and beauty by doing teshuva. I never knew that copper had so much spiritual significance, in that it represents the astrological Noga (lit. brilliance=planet Venus), which represents purity of emotion, love, and bounty. I have read stories about how the mitzvah of netillat yadayim saved people’s lives. One man attributed the failure of a terrorist’s gun to shoot him in the head to the fact that he had recently committed to doing netillat yadayim religiously (pun intended!). I had no idea that this mitzvah had such protective powers, nor that copper was used to heal people of pain and other ailments because of its electromagnetic qualities. The medical profession’s symbol the world over is the copper snake, which was used in the Torah to heal those who were suffering from snake bites and illness in the desert.

I bought Netillah pure copper netillah cups for myself and my mom, as well as for some friends. These cups (I have two in my home) truly raise the level of my mitzvah performance, not only with their physical beauty, but also with their spiritual significance. Each time I fill my copper netillah cup up to the brim with water, I imagine Hashem’s limitless generosity and flow of blessings to this world. As I pour it over my hands and feel the water drip down my hands, I think about purifying my soul so that I can really connect with Hashem through my mitzvot.I think about mayim chayim, the Torah, which is compared to living waters. I wash away my spiritual impurities and faults and attain an improved, cleansed soul.

My Netillah cups are so beautiful that I just want to wash my hands all the time, but I reserve them for the special mitzvah of netillat yadayim, so that I can establish my realtime connection with Hashem using the most effective material possible. I could not recommend Netillah pure copper cups more highly for any type of gift: wedding, engagement, Mother’s Day, birthday, etc…or for corporate client appreciation gifts. Those who have received my Netillah gifts can’t stop thanking me. You can even have a personalized pasuk or message engraved on your Netillah cup! They will beautify your home and your spiritual life!