The laws

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The blessing of Asher Yatzar:[1]

Whenever one relieves himself throughout the day, whether he urinates or has a bowel movement, he recites the blessing of Asher Yatzar afterwards.[2]

 

A. How much urine or excrement must one expel to be obligated in saying Asher Yatzar?[3]

There is no minimum measurement that one is required to expel when urinating [or defecating]. Thus even if one released one drop he is obligated to recite Asher Yatzar afterwards.[4] Hence when going to the bathroom prior to prayer, or a meal, in order to check if one needs to relieve himself, if he released even a drop, he needs to say Asher Yatzar being that his hole has opened.[5]

 

Q&A

If after reciting Asher Yatzar a few drops of urine came out, is one to repeat the blessing?[6]

Some[7] write that one is not to repeat Asher Yatzar as the drops are mere leftovers that remained in the urethra and did not leave the bladder at this moment. If however the drops left the bladder then he must repeat the blessing.[8]

 

Is the blessing recited if it is painful to urinate?

Yes.[9] However some Poskim[10] rule that when it is painful, the blessing is only recited when one intentionally releases the urine, and not in a case that it came out on its own, such as due to illness.

 

If one forced out a few drops of urine for a medical urine sample, is the blessing recited?[11]

Yes.

 

B. What is the law if one forgot to recite Asher Yatzar and went to the bathroom a second time?[12]

One who relieved himself and forgot to recite Asher Yatzar and then went to the bathroom a second time is not required to recite Asher Yatzar twice after the second time. Rather he recites it one time and it also includes the first time he went to the bathroom. This applies even if after he went to the bathroom the first time he removed his mind from using the bathroom again and then changed his mind to go a second time.[13]


Q&A

Until when can the blessing of Asher Yatzar be recited?[14]

Initially one is to say the blessing right after he concludes his needs and washes his hands.[15] Some Poskim[16] rule the blessing may be said until one goes to the bathroom a second time. Thus even if one remembers when he feels the need to go to the bathroom second time he is to say the blessing prior to doing so.[17] Other Poskim[18] however rule that if one feels the need to relieve himself a second time he can no longer say the blessing. Others[19] rule one may only say it up to thirty minutes after leaving the bathroom. Others[20] rule one may say it for 72 minutes from after using the bathroom.

 

If one used the bathroom before Davening and forgot to say Asher Yatzar may he do so after Davening?[21]

Yes. He does not fulfill the blessing of Asher Yatzar within the blessing of Rifaeinu

 

C. If one is having constant bowel movements how often should Asher Yatzar be recited?[22]

If one drank a laxative that causes diarrhea in order to constantly defecate until his stomach is clean of toxins, he is not to recite Asher Yatzar until he completes the final bowel movement.[23] [The same applies if one is suffering from a stomach flu and is having constant bowel movements, that a blessing is not recited until the constant bowel movements have ended. This applies even if one no longer feels the urge to defecate but simply knows he will do so in the very near future.[24] Certainly if one still currently feels the need to defecate he may not say Asher Yatzar until he no longer feels the need to use the bathroom.[25] This law likewise applies to one who took medication to cleanse his bladder and is hence urinating constantly, that a blessing is only recited after the final urination.[26]]


Q&A

If one is attached to a catheter how often is he to say Asher Yatzar?[27]

One who is attached to a catheter and is hence constantly dripping urine is to only say Asher Yatzar in the morning together with Birchas Hashachar. Likewise he is to recite Asher Yatzar at times that the catheter is being changed if one does not have an urge to urinate.

 

Is Asher Yatzar to be recited after a dialysis treatment?[28]

No.

 

D. If one used the bathroom prior to saying an after blessing for food which blessing is to be recited first?[29]

If one ate an item that requires an after blessing [such as Borei Nefashos[30] or even Birchas Hamazon[31]] and forgot to say the blessing and urinated [or defecated] and then remembered to say the blessing, he is to precede the blessing of Asher Yatzar and only afterwards recite the after blessing for the food.[32]

 

Summary:

Asher Yatzar is recited prior to an after blessing over food.

  

General Q&A

Is one to stand when reciting Asher Yatzar?[33]

It is accustomed to stand while reciting Asher Yatzar, just like one stands when he recites all blessings of praise, such as Birchas Hashachar.

 

Is one to recite Asher Yatzar after each time he goes to the bathroom at night, upon awakening from sleep?

Yes.[34] However there are Poskim[35] that rule one may delay reciting Asher Yatzar until the morning blessings.

 

If after reciting Hamapil one went to the bathroom, is he to recite Asher Yatzar?[36]

Yes.


May one talk prior to saying Asher Yatzar?

It is best to say the blessing right away without interval.[37]


If one is in doubt whether he recited Asher Yatzar what is he to do?

Some Poskim[38] rule that he should say the blessing, as there is a Chazaka that it was not said. Majority of Poskim[39] however rule that one may not say the blessing, as we apply the rule of Safek Brachos Lihakel. Practically it is best to think the blessing in one’s mind and not verbalize it.[40]Alternatively one is to go to the bathroom a second time.[41]

 

May one answer Amen or Kedusha if he is in the middle of Asher Yatzar?[42]

If one already recited a few words after “Elokeinu Melech Haolam”[43], then the law follows the same law as one who is in the midst of Shema. Thus he may interrupt the blessing in order to answer Kaddish, Kedusha or Barchu.[44] If one has already reached G-d’s name in the closing blessing, then he must finish the blessing and may not interrupt. If one stopped to answer directly prior to saying the closing blessing of Baruch, then one needs to repeat a few words prior to saying the closing blessing.[45]

 

Can one say the blessing of Asher Yatzar on behalf of another person who is listening?[46]

If one is saying Asher Yatzar after using the bathroom, then he can have in mind a second person who also used the bathroom, and that person fulfills his obligation if he listens to the entire blessing.[47] If however one is not obligated to say Asher Yatzar then it is disputed[48] whether he may say the blessing on behalf of another person who is unable to say it.[49] Practically one may not do so.[50]


[1] Shulchan Aruch Chapter 7

[2] 7/1; Michaber 7/1

[3] 7/4; Michaber 7/4

[4] As if he had not been able to release that drop due to a closed opening it would have been painful for him, and thus he needs to give thanks to G-d for enabling him to release it. [ibid]

[5] Meaning that even though he did not necessarily have to go to the bathroom at that point, since he desired to do so and would have had pain if he could not open his cavity to release his needs, therefore he must thank Hashem for giving him that ability. However no blessing is said if one simply flatulated. Likewise one is not required to wash his hands after flatulating. [Chayeh Adam 7/7; Kaf Hachaim 7/9]

Other Opinions: The Makor Chaim [Chavos Yair] 2/6 argues that one is not to recite a blessing if he did not desire to urinate and it simply was forced out. The Poskim argue on his opinion. [See Piskeiy Teshuvos 7 footnote 18; Minchas Yitzchak 6/38]

[6] Piskeiy Teshuvos 7/5

[7] Sheivet Hakehasiy 3/1

[8] Tzitz Eliezer 8/1 based on Halef Lecha Shlomo 2

[9] Birchas Habayis 33/2;

[10] Birchas Habayis ibid; Shulchan Gavoa 7/3

[11] Minchas Yitzchak 6/38 based on Halef Lecha Shlomo 2

[12] 7/3 based on Magen Avraham 7/1; Bach; and so rules: Shlah brought in Elya Raba 7/2; Olas Tamid 7/2;Yeshuos Yaakov; Soles Belula 7/4; Nehar Shalom; Halachos Ketanos; Chayeh Adam 7/7; Peri Megadim 7 M”Z 2; Kitzur SH”A 4/6; Sheilas Yaavetz 1/15; Shaareiy Teshuvah 7/2; M”B 7/6; Birkeiy Yosef 7/3; Ben Ish Chaiy Vayeitzei 12; Kaf Hachaim 7/5; Chesed Lialafim 6/4

Other Opinions: The Michaber 7/3 [based on Teshuvos Harosh and Geonim] rules that if one removed his mind from needing to use the bathroom a second time he needs to say the blessing twice. The reason for this is because it is similar to Davening in which case we rule that if one forgot to Daven the previous prayer he is to Daven twice by the next prayer. [M”B 7/6] The other opinions however argue that the above law is only by prayer being that it is like a sacrifice which has a law of Tashlumin. However Asher Yatzar is a mere statement of thanks which can cover even many previous pleasures and is hence not to be said twice, just like is the law by eating. [M”B ibid; see next footnote] The Levush; Taz 7/2; and Elya Raba 7/2 defend and rule like the Michaber. The M”B ibid concludes that one is to be lenient to say it only one time, as Safek Brachos Lihakel. Admur completely omits this opinion.

Custom of Sefaradim: Although the Michaber rules to recite Asher Yatzar twice, nevertheless the rule of Safek Brachos Lihakel applies even in such a case, and hence even those that follow the Michaber are not to say Asher Yatzar twice. [Birkeiy Yosef 7/3 and so rules Ben Ish Chaiy Vayeitzei 12; Kaf Hachaim 7/5 unlike Michaber]

The law if one did not have in mind the first bathroom use when he said Asher Yatzar: See Ashel Avraham Butchach. Vetzaruch Iyun.

[13] This is similar to one who ate a meal and decided to end the meal and forgot to recite Birchas Hamazon, and then changed his mind and continued eating, in which case we rule he does not need to recite Birchas Hamazon twice. Rather he recites it one time and it includes also the original meal that he ate. [ibid] The novelty here is that even though his decision to end the meal or not go to the bathroom anymore at this time ended the original action, a later blessing of thanks to Hashem covers also this action even if it is done after a second action.

[14] See M”B 7/1; Kaf Hachaim 7/6; Birkeiy Yosef 6/3

[15] M”B 7/6; Shaareiy Teshuvah 8/14 in his understanding of Ginas Veradim, and so seems from 6/4, although perhaps there it is only referring to Asher Yatzar of the morning which is also said as thanks for being a new creation.

[16] Peri Megadim 7 M”Z 2 [brought in M”B 71/]; Chayeh Adam 7/7; Yad Aaron brought in Birkeiy Yosef 6/3; See Levush 6/1 and so is implied from Admur ibid from the fact the only reason why one does not say the blessing of Asher Yatzar twice after going to the bathroom a second time is because the blessing includes also the first time, and not because the blessing of the first time is lost. Hence if one did not yet go to the bathroom a second time certainly he may still say Asher Yatzar. [So also explains Chayeh Adam ibid]

[17] This however only applies if one will not transgress Bal Tishaktzu by withholding his needs. If however he feels such an urgency that if he withholds his needs he will transgress Baal Tishaktzu then he must go to the bathroom and may not say the blessing. [Kaf Hachaim 7/6]

[18] Shaareiy Teshuvah 7/1-2; Shut Yaavetz 1/15; Mor Uketzia 7; M”B 7/1; Shemen Hamaor; Rashal; Kaf Hachaim 7/6

The reason: The Yaavetz rules that the moment one desires to use the bathroom a second time it is considered that the first pleasure is lost and hence can no longer be blessed on, just like a meal that has been digested. This explanation however does not fit in with the ruling of Admur above which clearly states that the Asher Yatzar said after the second bathroom use includes the first bathroom use. The Shemen Hamaor however explains the reason is because since he anyways needs to go to bathroom a second time let him include it within the blessing that will be said rather than say Asher Yatzar twice.

[19] Chesed Lialafim 6/3; Ben Ish Chaiy Vayeitzei 12; Pnei Yitzchak 1/8; Mahram Lunza brought in Matzas Shmurim 6 and Birkeiy Yosef 6/3 concludes that if some time passed, even less than one hour, one cannot say the blessing. The above ruling of 30 minutes is based on their opinion; See Kaf Hachaim 7/7; Kaf Hachaim 7/8 concludes stringently like both opinions that it may only be said within 30 minutes and only if one did not desire to use the bathroom a second time.

The Reason: Asher Yatzar is compared to the blessing of Birchas Hamazon which may only be said before the food is digested. [Mahram Lunza ibid]

[20] Yabia Omer 8/22; Yechaveh Daat 4/5. He bases this on the opinion that holds one is considered satisfied by a meal for at least 72 minutes.

[21] Tzitz Eliezer 11/4 and so is proven from Derech Chaim; Kitzur SH”A 16/5; M”B 66/23; Chayeh Adam 20; See Admur 52/1.

Other Opinions: Bnei Levi 5 rules one fulfills his obligation of Asher Yatzar within the blessing of Rifaeinu.

[22] 7/6; based on Halachos Ketanos 1/86 [brought in Beir Heiytiv 7/1]; and so rules Beis Oveid 7/3; Kitzur SH”A 4/6

Other Opinions: Some Poskim rule that one is to recite Asher Yatzar after each time he leaves the bathroom. [Opinion in Hagahos Hatur and so rules: Birkeiy Yosef 7/2; Kisei Eliyahu 7/3; Shalmei Tzibur 45 brought in Shaareiy Teshuvah 7/1; Zechor Leavraham; Ruach Chaim; Yad Aaron brought in Beir Heiytiv ibid; Ben Ish Chaiy Lech Licha 15; M”B 7/2; Kaf Hachaim 7/2; Piskeiy Teshuvos 7/2]  Many of these Poskim testify that the custom is to recite the blessing between each bathroom use. [Birkeiy Yosef and M”B ibid] Now although in a case of dispute by blessings we rule Safek Brachos Lihakel, nevertheless if the custom is to recite the blessing then this rule does not apply. [Ruach Chaim and Kaf Hachaim ibid] The Kerem Shlomo [brought in Kaf Hachaim ibid] rules one is to think the blessing in his mind between each use. This dispute however is only with regards to one who does not feel an urge to use the bathroom but simply has intent to do so in the near future. If however one still feels the urge to defecate then he never recites the blessing until the urge is alleviated. [Shaareiy Teshuvah ibid; M”B ibid]

[23] The reason for this is because since he did not remove his mind from defecating a second time therefore it is all considered one bathroom session. [ibid]

[24] So is proven from the Shaareiy Teshuvah 7/1 and M”B 72 which writes that only in such a case does the dispute apply. Hence Admur which rules like the Halachos Ketanos certainly refers to even such a case. Vetzaruch Iyun Gadol on the Ketzos Hashulchan 5 footnote 6 which implies that even according to Admur in such a case a blessing is recited between each bowel movement, as it is clear from the M”B that the argument is in a case that one does not feel an urge.

[25] This applies even according to the lenient opinion mentioned in the previous footnotes, as it is forbidden to recite a blessing if one feels the need to defecate or urinate. [Shaareiy Teshuvah and M”B ibid]

[26] However according to the other Poskim mentioned above one is to say a blessing between each time if he no longer feels an urge to urinate. [Halef Licha Shlomo 2; Beir Moshe 4/5; Tzitz Eliezer 8/1;Yabia Omer 9/2; Piskeiy Teshuvos 7/2]

[27] Beir Moshe 4/7; Har Tzevi 1/6; Sheivet Halevy 3/94; Tzitz Eliezer 3/1; Piskeiy Teshuvos 7/2; However see Shulchan Gavoa 7/3 regarding one who suffers from kidney stones and urinates constantly that he should say Asher Yatzar between each time.

[28] Halichos Shlomo 20/43 in name of Rav SZ”A brought in Piskeiy Teshuvos 7 footnote 9

[29] 7/7; repeated in 165/2 with slight changes; based on Rashal 97 brought in M”A 165/3; Beir Heiytiv 7/1; So rules also Olas Tamid 7/1; Soles Belula 7/2; Elya Raba 7/2; Rav Akiva Eiger; Ruach Chaim 7/1; Ben Ish Chaiy Vayeitzei 13; Kaf Hachaim 7/1; M”B 7/2

[30] In 165/2 Admur writes: “One who ate something which obligates him to recite “Boreh Nefashos Rabos” as an after blessing.” In 7/7 however he simply writes “an after blessing” and does not mention Borei Nefashos. In the Rashal, which is the source of the ruling, Bore Nefashos is mentioned. The Ketzos Hashulchan 60 footnote 21 addresses this point saying that in truth by all after blessings, including Al Hamichya, precedence is given to Asher Yatzar. Perhaps however Admur emphasized Boreh Nefashos to teach us that even by after blessings that receive complete Hesech Hadaas through one leaving the room, precedence is still given to Asher Yatzar. [ibid] Alternatively perhaps the novelty is that although Boreh Nefashos is said more often than Al Hamichya, nevertheless in comparison to Asher Yatzar it is said less often and hence is said after Asher Yatzar.

[31] Kaf Hachaim 7/1 based on Ruach Chaim ibid and so is implied from Admur 7/7 which does not differentiate between after blessings; So also concludes Piskeiy Teshuvos 165/2 [stating that so is the custom]; Yechaveh Daas 3/15; Shieilas Shaul 22

Other Opinions: Rav Akiva Eiger 7/1 questions that perhaps Birchas Hamazon is to precede Asher Yatzar being it is a Biblical obligation. He concludes with a Tzaruch Iyun. However the Kaf Hachaim ibid rules one is to precede Asher Yatzar as he may come to forget to say it afterwards. Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid brings from Shaagas Aryeh 22 that a Biblical Mitzvah never has precedence over a Rabbinical Mitzvah, as a Rabbinical Mitzvah is considered like voluntary. Vetzaruch Iyun as accordingly one should be able to choose to precede Birchas Hamazon if he wants.

[32] The reason for this is because Asher Yatzar is said more often [than this specific after blessing] and the rule is that one always precedes a more often Mitzvah over a less frequent one. [7/7 and 165/2] Meaning that although it is possible that after blessings as a whole are said more often than Asher Yatzar, when one compares a specific after blessing to Asher Yatzar, Asher Yatzar is said more often. This way of understanding Admur would also help explain why he mentions “Bore Nefashos” in 165/2 as explained in the previous footnote.

Other reasons: The Olas Tamid ibid gives an alternative reason saying that since Asher Yatzar is said after any amount of urination or defecation, while an after blessing is only said after a Revius or Kezayis, therefore it receives precedence. Kaf Hachaim 7/1 says that we say Asher Yatzar first because one may come to forget.

[33] Siddur Yaavetz: “All the blessings that are said as a praise and thanks are said standing”; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 6/1; So was custom of Rav SZ”A [Halichos Shlomo 20/30]

[34] M”B 4/3; Piskeiy Teshuvos 7 footnote 7; See Poskim in Kaf Hachaim 7/7

[35] Makor Chaim 7/7

[36] See Piskeiy Teshuvos 239/3 and footnote 17

[37] M”B 7/6; It is however not forbidden from the letter of the law to talk or do other matters prior to reciting Asher Yatzar, just like it is not forbidden to talk prior to Birchas Hamazon. [see Elya Raba 7/2] Now although we rule that one must precede a Mitzvah to a Mitzvah that is not Tadir, this does not apply by a Davar Reshus [non-Mitzvah related matter]. [Shaagas Aryeh 22]

[38] Ashel Avraham Butchach 7. He writes that when this occurred to him, he said the blessing, as there is a Chazaka that it was not said unless one remembers doing so.

[39] Birkeiy Yosef 7/3; Shaareiy Teshuvah 7/2; Ben Ish Chaiy Vayeitzei 12; Kaf Hachaim 7/5; Chesed Lialafim 6/4; Birchas Habayis 33/7

[40] Conclusion of Ashel Avraham Butchach 7 and so rules Ben Ish Chaiy Vayeitzei 12; Kaf Hachaim 7/5

The law in a case that he went to the bathroom twice and knows he did not say Asher Yatzar after the first time and is in doubt if he said Asher Yatzar after the second time: The above Poskim rule that we still apply the rule of Safek Brachos Lihakel and Asher Yatzar is thus not to be said. However the Mamar Mordechai 7/3 rules that it may be said as it is a case of Safek Sfeka. According to Admur in the Siddur we are stringent even in a case of Safek Sfeka.

[41] Birchas Habayis 33/7

[42]  Ketzos Hashulchan 5/11

[43] Such as he recited “Asher Yatzar Es Haadam”. This is required as otherwise it is considered as if he is in the middle of a one sentence blessing of which the law is that one may not make an interval. [ibid; Kaf Hachaim; Nishmas Kol Chaiy] Thus if he did not yet say these words he is to say them and then answer.

[44] Chayeh Adam 5/13; Biur Halacha 66

[45] As one is required to say a few words that relate to the blessing, prior to concluding the blessing. [ibid; M”B 66/52]

[46] See Piskeiy Teshuvos 6/1

[47] 213/4

[48] Har Tzevi Shaar Birchas Hashem 3 rules one may do so. Minchas Shlomo 2/4 and Yabia Omer 9/3 question this matter and conclude that Safek Brachos Lihakel.

[49] This dispute is dependent on whether Asher Yatzar is viewed as a blessing of praise [Birchas Hashevach] or a blessing of pleasure [Birchas Hanehnin]. See Ritva Pesachim 46; and whether one may say an after blessing on behalf of another person if he is not himself obligated. [see M”A 213]

[50] As even if it is considered a blessing of praise like Birchas Hashachar, Admur rules by all Birchas Hashachar that one is not Yotzei with hearing it from another person unless there is a Minyan. [59/4] If it is however considered Birchas Hanehnin then certainly one may not be Yotzei another if he is not obligated, as rules Admur in 213/3 [unlike other Poskim there that are lenient in a case of need by a Bracha Achrona].

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