The Code of Jewish Law (Shulchan Aruch) is like an iceberg: The statutes that teach proper conduct in every facet of our lives are only a mere manifestation of deep spiritual causes and effects that transcend time, place, and matter. What you see is only a tiny portion of the spiritual benefits you get.
During the period between Rosh Hashana and Yom kippur - what we call the "Ten Days of Repentance" - we can do wonders in mitigating harsh judgments. This is a propitious time for prayer and self-improvement. All Hashem expects of us is that we're a tiny bit better today than we were yesterday.
If up until now, you weren't careful about washing your hands first thing in the morning, here's a great chance to perform an easy mitzva that could save your life, literally.
Jewish law dictates that you should wash your hands as soon as you wake up in the morning, pouring water three times alternately on each hand from a large cup, a minimum of approx. 150ml on each hand. The apparent reason for the hand washing is that one inadvertantly touches or scratches unclean parts of the body at night, and before saying G-d's name, the hands must be clean. Yet spiritually, the explanation is much deeper, as follows in a nutshell:
When you sleep at night, your soul leaves the body and enters upper spiritual realms. A body without a soul is tantamount to dead, even if the basic life forces continue functioning. When the soul leaves the body, as in the case of a dead person, the body is rendered ritually impure. Evil forces of the "Sitra Achra", or the dark side, easily control a person who is spiritually and ritually impure. That's why many people - especially Chassidim - put a pail with a large plastic or tin cup that holds a liter of water immediately beside their bed, so they can wash their hands even before taking their first step of the day, thus cleansing themselves from ritual impurity at their very first opportunity of the day. Why the hands? Spiritual impurity is especially concentrated in the fingertips, the point where the soul leaves the body.
One who harbors ritual impurity has difficulty believing in G-d or understanding the Torah, since ritual impurity acts as a barrier against Divine Illumination, thus preventing Divine light from reaching the soul. Only Divine light can nourish the soul. Therefore, an undernourished soul is easily vanquished by the animal urges of the body. The minute the body reigns, the person becomes a slave to base inclinations, and that's bad news, both in this world and in the next. You can study Kabbala day and night, but if you don't wash your hands in the morning, you're spiritually in the mud.
If you don't do so already, start washing your hands every morning, and within a week, you'll feel a marked change within yourself - LazerBeam guaranteed.