Purity and impurity in Judaism are distinct from one another. Life and what nourishes and moves it is holy. The dead and death are impure. This sanctity of the living underlines their value and their possession of the highest value in Judaism. God’s holiness dwells in man who was created by God and made in His image.
The hand-washing ceremony is a clear border that differentiates between sanctity and impurity. Before hand-washing – impurity, after hand-washing – sanctity. The natla, the utensil for hand-washing determines and symbolizes the border. When does the Jew wash his hands? First – when he gets out of bed.
According to tradition, sleep is perceived as death. During sleep, the person’s holy soul leaves his body and impurity surrounds his body. When he wakes up the impurity departs, except for his fingers; he washes his hands to be purified. When he leaves a funeral, the cemetery, or the house of a dead person – he must wash his hands. In the natla that I designed, I emphasized the transition from a state of impurity to a state of sanctity.
When not in use the natla stands on its open side and when one washes hands one has to first turn it around. The actual form of the natlai, an arc or a bridge, is also significant. In the story of the flood, in Genesis, the rainbow that appears in the cloud also marked a separation, a world that was purified by the flood (once again, water). Something in the shape of the natla that I designed (an arc, a bridge) alludes to separation, the border between purity and impurity.