What is Mayim Achronim?

Within the vastness of  Torah literature and Jewish law, there is a little-known activity called מים אחרונים – mayim achronim. It is often translated simply as “last waters”, but as with any Hebrew term it is a difficult one to translate. You may have seen the small vessel and dish passed around the table before birkat hamazon, the blessing after meals. A tiny amount of water from the vessel is poured over the fingertips of each hand. This simple procedure is known as mayim achronim.

That simplicity is misleading. It may appear that mayim achronim is a small, insignificant ritual, and it may be the reason why many Jews no longer perform it. But a look through Jewish writings both ancient and modern will reveal that mayim achronim carries tremendous importance. So much so, in fact, that it was said to trump netilat yada’im (the more famous practise of washing hands before the meal), and in times past, our Sages even had a special blessing just for this mitzva!

Take a look through this site to learn more about the enigmatic halakha of mayim achronim. And remember the wise words of the ancients:

!מים אחרונים חובה

Mayim Achronim is a Must!