The Secrets Behind Copper and Netillah

From the very beginning, Bnei Yisrael performed the mitzvah of netillah through the use of a copper cup. However, over the past few generations the custom to use copper has been lost as people began using less expensive materials. Torah and Kabbalah state that copper has mystical qualities associated with good health, fertility, livelihood, and purity.


What is the relevance of copper when it comes to netillah?
When you look at the Torah, you’ll see that in several instances when Hashem brings up the concept of water and kedusha, He incorporates the concept of copper. For example, the kiyor in the Beit Hamikdash was made of copper. It was Hashem’s will that when requesting pure waters, He chose solely copper and not silver or gold like the other utensils in the mishkan (Sefer Shemot, Chapter 30, Pasuk 18)
״ועשית כיור נחשת וכנו נחשת לרחצה ונתת אותו בין אוהל מועד ובין המזבח ונתת שמה מים.״
(“Make yourself a copper sink with a base of copper for washing and place it between the Tent of Meeting and the Alter and place water there.”)

In addition, in the Beit Hamikdash, King Solomon made a large mikveh made entirely of copper for the kohanim to immerse in and cleanse themselves from impurity prior to working in the Beit Hamikdash (״ים נחשת״) Kings 7:23.

Why is copper so closely connected to water? The element of copper has several properties that make it ideal. Copper is a natural antibacterial and has what’s known as a oligodynamic effect on bacteria, meaning it kills microbes. Copper does not retain any impurity. This is the reason why hospitals use copper for door knobs in an effort to minimize the spread of germs.

Why is this relevant for netillah?
As we know, impurity has the ability to cling to anything that is living. Water is a living thing. Therefore when waters are poured into a netillah cup that is not made of copper, impurity is able to cling to it and so we end up washing our hands with impure waters. However, by pouring the water into a 100% pure copper netillah cup, the copper neutralizes the water and so the water is no longer living and impurity has no way of penetrating it. When we wash our hands with water from a pure copper netillah cup, we receive the full and ultimate benefit that was intended by Hashem for performing the mitzvah. Copper therefore acts like a force field preventing impurity from penetrating. It is for this reason that before the kohanim performed avodat hakodesh they washed their hands from waters that came from the kiyor nechoshet – the copper sink.

Since all what we create comes from our hands, whether it be business, raising our children, preparing our food, creating – when our hands are purified and sanctified, we infuse that purity and sanctification into everything we touch.

Let us return to the original source of purity and begin to once again use a 100% pure copper cup for netillah so that we can fulfill the mitzvah with an ultimate level of happiness and purity and draw into our lives the full gamut of beracha Hashem has intended for us.

Many of our great rabbi’s share how they too have been performing the mitzvah of netillah with a copper cup for years and share stories of the yeshuot and miracles they’ve seen through the use of a copper netillah cup. We have presented the netillah cup to some of the gedolieh yisrael who are now using our Netillah cup and are excited that we are bringing the copper cup back to Am Yisrael.

Among those rabbi’s are:

שר התורה הרב חיים קנייבסקי שליט״א
הרב מרדכי שיינברגר שליט״א
המקובל הרב בניהו שמואלי שליט״א

Zohar Kabbalah states: “Silver represents chesed (kindness); gold represents power; and copper represents mercy.”