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My Glorious Washing Station and Why You Should All Be Envious

washing negel vasser sinkby The Mrs.

With regard to frumkeit, before you completely write off Northern California, consider my glorious washing sink. Actually, consider my whole apartment, which was undeniably built for a Jew. The back patio is large and sukkah-ready, the tile counters take sticky paper well enough on Pesach that it lasts year-round, and it came with a washing sink smack center in the home. I know what youre thinking: how is that even possible that anyone in such an unholy place actually anticipated a hand-washing Torah Jew living here, let alone a Jew at all?

A result of the swinging California lifestyle of the late 1970s, the sink was built-in as part of a wet bar. For some odd reason (maybe because Im really damn old), most of my cohorts dont know what a wet bar is (or was, I guess). In the homes of the times, these weird little nooks always appeared off to one side of the living area and featured cabinets for your booze and glassware as well as a sink for yourice? Melting ice? Water? Anyway, ours is a washing sink obviously, and no alcohol is ever stored there. Its currently stuffed with shabbos table linens, challah covers, and oddly enough, two boxes of Yahtzee yet no Apples to Apples. Its too holy NOT to bentshlicht there. I flip the light switch and its almost as good as the shechina shining eternally over Sarahs tent. Oh yeah, and the lightbulb serves as sort of a ner tamid during the week, so if you come home in the dark you dont have to stumble around for a light, the soft glow guiding you in.

As a single girl, I had the opportunity to stay in quite a few beautiful Jewish homes (and by beautiful I mean that they were peaceful, not necessary fancy-shmancy), and some of them had washing sinks custom built in. Some of them were logically placed right off the dining room, usually adorned with some sort of vase with dry sticks in it and a collection of jewel-toned hand towels, always with gold scrollwork and tassels on which I was afraid to wipe my hands. In fact, in the homes of the rich, I found myself spending more time trying to wipe up the water stains I didnt want to leave behind than I spent time actually making brachos. Oh well.

Even in some humbler homes though, I witnessed washing sinks installed in the hallway, central to everyones bedroom doors for purposes of negel vasser. There was one balabusta that thought to take advantage of a little empty corner in the hallway only to find that with the end result, she couldnt wedge the washing cup up under the Kohler faucets, and was instead left with a gorgeous spitting sink like at the dentists. Or a pristine urinal, whatever.

{ 12 comments… add one }
  • A. Nuran January 16, 2014, 10:01 AM

    growing up my uncle used to make me wash my hands very slowly and just stand there watching…. i still dont know why…

  • batya January 18, 2014, 9:56 PM

    This post has been included in Shiloh Musings: The Ten Commandments’ Havel Havelim, Parshat Yitro

    Please visit it and the other posts, comment and share, thanks.

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