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Holes In One

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Topic: Asher Yotzar

Alan Mangurten from Morton Grove, Illinois:

Dear Rabbi,

My 13 year old daughter, Eve (Chaya Dorit bat Gitel v'Avraham haKohen) is in the hospital with a blood clot in her leg. This made me think about the prayer "asher yatzar et ha'adam b'chochma... rofeh kol basar umafli la'asot - G-d created Man with wisdom...Healer of all flesh and Doer of wonders." Can you tell me any details about the prayer; who wrote it, when was it written, are there commentaries on it? Todah rabbah!


Dear Alan Mangurten,

First let me wish your daughter a complete recovery.

We say the "asher yatzar" blessing every time after using the bathroom. This blessing praises G-d for administering our body functions and maintaining our health. It relates to the Divine intelligence we see in the wonders of the human body, stressing the function of the "innumerable apertures, the innumerable orifices" which open and close in turn with precision, like the valves of the heart, the respiratory system and the digestive system. "If but one were ruptured, or but one were blocked, it would be impossible to remain alive and stand before You, Hashem."

This blessing is mentioned in the Talmud as one of the blessings compiled by the sages of the Great Assembly (circa 300-500 BCE).

Sources:

  • Berachot 60b
  • Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 6:1


 
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