Note: A recent Q&A addressed the need for one to remove his or her ring(s) in order to properly perform the mitzvah of netilat yadayim (washing one’s hands ritually before eating bread, challah, matzah or similar). In brief, Rabbi Simon’s answer was that it is common practice for women to do so, but that it is not the norm for men. A reader responded as follows:
Dear Rabbi Simon
I apologize for voicing my opinion עם כל הכבוד והערכה, I think that if Robin who asked about the rings is unfamiliar with the halakhah of removing rings, she may be unaware of the concept of חציצה [interposition], which requires removing a band aid [plaster to us—ed.], or ink or dirt on one’s hands. Some say if nail polish has started to peel etc. it is also a חציצה. Perhaps you should have added this further clarification.
TY for your comments in response to our “ringing” Q&A. I deliberately chose the pseudonym “Robin”, as it can be either a male or a female name. You are correct about other more fundamental types of chatzitzah, which perhaps I also could have taught about in my reply. However those circumstances are exceptional/occasional, whereas rings are all the time (whether or not “diamonds are forever”). My main point was to say that men do not have to remove their rings, although women tend to do so (even if they do not habitually take off their rings to knead dough, change car tyres, etc.). I suspect the reason may be because many women use the mikveh, at which time they are required to remove their rings due to the greater stringency of the requirement to be absolutely free of any interposition. In order to maintain a similar standard/practice for mikveh vs netilat yadayim, women are accustomed to removing their rings always. BTW, ink is not an interposition at all. A plaster, particularly on one’s fingers (as opposed to the palm or back of the hand) is indeed more problematic.
Rabbi Rashi Simon