We wash our hands in the same way that the ancient priests would purify themselves before engaging in the Temple service. Since we no longer have a Temple, today our tables are our altars.

Wash your hands with water, pouring three times onto each hand, and recite the blessing. Maintain silence until everyone has finished washing, and are ready to break bread together. In place of speech, however, one is encouraged to sing.

בָּרוּךְ‭ ‬אַתָּה‭ ‬יְיָ‭ ‬אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ‭ ‬מֶֽלֶךְ‭ ‬הָעוֹלָם ‭ ‬אֲשֶׁר‭ ‬קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ‭ ‬בְּמִצְוֹתָיו ‭ ‬וְצִוָּֽנוּ‭ ‬עַל‭ ‬נְטִילַת‭ ‬יָדָֽיִם

Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha’olam, asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al netilat yadayim. Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, Whose mitzvot add holiness to our lives and Who has given us the mitzvah of washing hands.

Type of Custom: Kiddush, Motzi & Handwashing

Holiday/Event: Shabbat

Source: A Guide to Shabbat at Home