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Netilat Yadayaim Shel Shacharit - Ritual of Crisis or Dedication?
Previously, I posted about Rabbi Dr. Martin Gordon's superb essay on mezuzah, now permanently linked on the sidebar. He also wrote an essay regarding netilat yadayim shel shacharis that follows the same model - showing the dramatic transformation from the rationalist perspective that was dominant amongst the Rishonim to the mystical perspective that replaced it. And, like the other article, it is available on the internet for free. Highly recommended.