[Avodah] Gloves at the seder

Akiva Miller akivagmiller at gmail.com
Wed Mar 25 07:18:33 PDT 2020

More and more, I am seeing people everywhere wearing masks and gloves to
prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Let's suppose someone was
legitimately advised to do so at the Seder. What advice might be given to

I imagine that it's a no-brainer to move the mask away for eating and
drinking, but I wonder about the gloves. Any other day of the year, the
gloves MIGHT tempt one to simply skip the ritual handwashing, but at the
Seder, tradition has assigned great significance to each of the 15 steps,
and we would not want to skip any of them.

For Urchatz, prior to Karpas, we skip the bracha anyway, so I don't see
much downside to removing the gloves, washing, and putting them back on,
and then eating the karpas.

But Rachtza, before Motzi, is more problematic. One option would be to wash
without the bracha, like at Urchatz. After all, even if we skip the bracha,
the ikar is the washing, so we will have done all 15 steps adequately.

Or maybe the bracha is more important, and should not be dismissed so
quickly. If so, he should make sure to eat some matza at some point
*without* the gloves, to justify the Al Netilas Yadayim. In this case, I
wonder whether it is sufficient to eat a mashehu without gloves, or a whole
kezayis, or even a whole kebaytza. I also wonder if it needs to be at the
very beginning, or if he can do it (eat matza without gloves) even later on
during the meal.

Anyone have any other ideas or suggestions?

Right now, all this is just l'halacha. I hope no one is in a serious enough
situation to need these ideas l'maaseh. But, as always, "forewarned is
forearmed" and it is better to think about these possibilities before they

Akiva Miller
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