For several months, I sat one day a week ending drafts of chapters of a book while facing the hand washing station in a local establishment. I noticed what seemed to me like a new phenomenon. People were doing the Jewish ritual hand washing by only pouring the water on their wrists or occasionally they cupped their hands and poured the water into their palms and then tossed it. The correct approach is pour the water on the fingers or to make sure they are included.
Traditional Jewish hand washing before the eating of bread is to imitate the priestly washing of hands in the temple. The fingers need to have a specific measure of water poured on them in order to purify them. As a praiseworthy greater act, one washes up to the wrists. Hands are then held upward to prevent impure water falling on the fingers. This washing is in distinction to the alternating washing done in the morning or at a cemetery.
What I watch was a steady tend of people pouring the water solely on their wrists and the fingers remaining dry or only some of the fingers getting wet. Or they poured the water into a cupped palm in which some of the fingers only became wet by the splash. What is up with that?
When I noticed the phenomena, I started to look at the people. I have no specific tallies but the Israelis wash their hands correctly. The younger Americans quickly splashed water on their wrists. Has anyone else seen this? Is it because of the large number of incorrect web images? For example, see here at MyJewish Learning.
Or are people learning from irrelevant pictures?