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Is Sign Language?

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Topic: HaMotzei, Using Sign Language Before

[email protected] wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

I recently ate a Shabbat meal at a home with a deaf child. After washing our hands but before the "hamotzie" blessing, the child began "talking" to his mother in sign language. Is this violating the prohibition of "speaking?"

Dear Drc,

Sign language is not considered actual speech in this context. However, it is not encouraged between washing and saying hamotzie.

As you know, it's a mitzvah to wash your hands before eating bread. After washing, you shouldn't speak until eating. But if you do, no new washing is required.

  • Source: Mishna Berura 166:1:5

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