Asher Yatzar

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Asher Yatzar:[1]

*The following laws relate to the blessing of Asher Yatzar that is recited upon awakening, as part of the morning blessings. The laws of Asher Yatzar that is recited after using the bathroom was explained in the previous chapter Halacha 13.

The reason behind the blessing:[2] There are various reasons given behind the recital of this blessing in the morning: 1) One has probably used the bathroom during the night.[3] 2) As a thanksgiving blessing to Hashem for making a person a new creation upon awakening.[4] [3) Prior to washing hands one is not allowed to touch the orifices of the body and hence after washing we thank Hashem for that ability.[5]]

Must one use the bathroom prior to reciting Asher Yatzar in the morning blessings?[6] One who desires to avoid Halachic question should be careful to use the bathroom after awakening, prior to reciting the blessing of Asher Yatzar in the morning blessings.[7] Thus immediately[8] after washing hands upon awakening one is to proceed to use the bathroom, and [immediately] after leaving the bathroom he is to wash his hands a second time and recite the blessing of [Al Netilas Yadayim[9] and] Asher Yatzar.

What is the law if one is unable to relieve himself?[10] If one is unable to use the bathroom immediately[11] upon awakening he is nevertheless to recite the blessing of Asher Yatzar upon awakening [if it is after midnight[12]], immediately after reciting the blessing of Al Netilas Yadayim.

When is the blessing of Asher Yatzar to be said?[13] As stated above the blessing of Asher Yatzar is to be recited immediately after saying the blessing of Al Netilas Yadayim. This applies irrelevant of whether one was able to use the bathroom beforehand.[14]

 

Summary:

Asher Yatzar  is recited immediately after the blessing of Al Netilas Yadayim. The blessing of Al Netilas Yadayim is recited after washing after using the bathroom, immediately upon awakening in the morning. If one is unable to use the bathroom immediately upon awakening he is to nevertheless recite the blessing of Asher Yatzar after the blessing of Al Netilas Yadayim.

 

Q&A

If one did not sleep the previous night is he to say the blessing of Asher Yatzar in the morning?[15]

If one did not sleep during the entire night then he may not recite the blessing of Asher Yatzar unless he uses the bathroom beforehand.[16]

If one slept 60 breaths?[17] If one slept for sixty breaths at night [30 minutes[18]] then he may recite the blessing of Asher Yatzar upon awakening, even if he cannot relieve himself, so long as it is past midnight. Nevertheless he is to try to relieve himself as explained above. If he slept for less than sixty breaths it is considered as if he did not sleep that night.

If one is in doubt if he slept sixty breaths?[19] If he did not use the bathroom then he is to say the blessing of Asher Yatzar without Hashem name. It does not help to hear the blessing from another person being that it is considered as part of Birchas Hashachar of which Admur rules one only fulfills his obligation if he hears the blessing said with a Minyan.[20]

 

If one awoke in middle of the night and said Asher Yatzar is he to say the blessing again in the morning even if he is unable to relieve himself again?[21]

Ø  Example: One awoke to use the bathroom in middle of the night and recited Asher Yatzar after doing so. He then returned to sleep. Is he to say Asher Yatzar again in the morning even if cannot go to the bathroom?

No. The blessing is not to be repeated a second time unless he uses the bathroom. [Practically if one did go to the bathroom in middle of the night he is to say Asher Yatzar afterwards and not delay saying it until the morning, as explained in Chapter 7/13.[22]]

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[1] 6/1; Based on Rama 4/1; M”A 4/1

Background of Admur:

Admur ibid states as follows: According to Talmudic law the morning blessing of Asher Yatzar may only be recited if one went to the bathroom beforehand. However the custom of the world [as rules Rama] is to recite the blessing of Asher Yatzar every morning immediately after the blessing of Al Netilas Yadayim [even if one did not use the bathroom beforehand]. The reason for this is because [they claim that] the blessing is being said as an acknowledgment towards Hashem for making us into a new creation every day upon awakening. [second reason in M”A ibid] Therefore one may say the blessing of Asher Yatzar which includes the statement of “He created man with wisdom”. Practically one who desires to avoid the doubt [regarding if one is allowed to follow the custom to say the blessing without first using the bathroom which contradicts the Talmudic ruling] should be careful to use the bathroom immediately after washing his hands [without saying the blessing over the washing] and then wash again [and say the blessing over the washing] and then say the blessing of Asher Yatzar. This blessing of Asher Yatzar then serves as both a blessing being said for after the bathroom [as requires the Talmud] and as a blessing being said to thank Hashem for making us a new creation [as requires the custom]. As even if one is obligated to recite this blessing solely for having awoken in the morning and becoming a new creation, he nevertheless fulfills his obligation with saying it after the bathroom, as a single blessing is valid to fulfill both requirements. [ibid]

[2] Halachic ramification between the reasons: The practical ramification between the reasons is regarding if one may say Asher Yatzar if he did not use the bathroom at night [first reason-no, second and third reason-yes] and regarding if he also did not sleep at night. [Peri Megadim 4 A”A 2; First and second reason-No; Third reason-yes. See Q&A!] The M”A and Admur ibid both rule like the second reason mentioned.

[3] Levush 6, following the ruling of the Talmud brought in Admur ibid.

[4] M”A 4/1; Admur ibid in explanation of custom

The difference between the thanksgiving in Asher Yatzar and Elokaiy Neshama: The thanks expressed in the blessing of Asher Yatzar is for physical rejuvenation and corresponds to the new creation of the body. However the blessing of Elokaiy Neshama is a thanksgiving for the return and rejuvenation of the soul. [M”B 4/3 in name of Gr”a and M”A]

[5] Darkei Moshe [brought as first reason in M”A 4/2] The M”A ibid rules like the previous reason mentioned. This reason is omitted from Admur. 

[6] 6/1-see background; based on M”A 4/1; The Rama 4/1 based on Abudarham rules that one is to recite the blessing of Asher Yatzar after reciting the blessing over morning washing even if he did not use the bathroom. The Rama concludes that so is the custom.

[7] This applies even if one does not feel an urge to use the bathroom, nevertheless one is to try to goto the bathroom in order to be able to recite Asher Yatzar after doing his needs. See Chapter 4 Halacha 8B in footnotes. 

[8] It is unclear as to why Admur writes that one must immediately go to the bathroom after washing. This especially applies in this part of the text which assumes that the person already said the blessing of Al Netilas Yadayim when he first washed near his bed. Hence what is the rush to immediately use the bathroom and recite Asher Yatzar? Seemingly however the answer is as follows: According to the custom mentioned in background, one is obligated to recite the blessing of Asher Yatzar as soon as he awakens, as it is said to thank Hashem for becoming a new creation upon awakening, and a blessing must always be said in proximity to its received pleasure. Hence one is not to delay the blessing any more than necessary and he is to immediately precede to the bathroom and recite Asher Yatzar afterwards. It is for this reason that Admur initially mentioned that the custom is to “to recite the blessing of Asher Yatzar every morning immediately after the blessing of Al Netilas Yadayim [even if one did not use the bathroom beforehand]”, as the blessing must be made in proximity to the pleasure received upon awakening.

[9] See Shaareiy Teshuvah 6/4 that Al Netilas Yadayim is recited first. See footnotes below for explanation.

[10] Rama 4/1 based on Abudarham; Ketzos Hashulchan 5 footnote 2 based on the wording in Admur here that the custom is to recite Asher Yatzar even if one did not use the bathroom, and in a case of a custom we do not apply the rule of Safek Brachos Lihakel. [See Zechor Leavraham 1 “Havdala”] This is likewise implied from the wording in Admur “one who desires to avoid the doubt” and not that one is required to do so. [ibid]

Other Opinions: The Beis Yosef records the ruling of Abudarham and questions it. The Arizal [Peri Eitz Chaim Shaar Habrachos 1] writes one must go to the bathroom prior to saying Asher Yatzar. So rules also Birkeiy Yosef 6/3; Mamar Mordechai 4/1 based on Rabeinu Yerucham 3/1; Olas Tamid 4/2; Rashash in Nehar Shalom p. 87; Shalmei Tzibur p. 45; Zechor Leavraham 1/300; Yifei Laleiv 1/4; Kaf Hachaim 4/9

[11] It is implied from Ketzos Hashulchan ibid that even if one knows he will need to use the bathroom later on he is not to delay the recital of Asher Yatzar until then. So is also implied from Admur ibid which states the need to immediately use the bathroom after washing.

[12] Ketzos Hashulchan 5/2 based on Siddur

[13] See wording of Admur brought in background which states that the custom was to recite the blessing of Asher Yatzar immediately after Al Netilas Yadayim if one did not use the bathroom. In a case however that one went to the bathroom before he said the blessing, Admur does not mention if the blessing of Netilas Yadayim should be said before Asher Yatzar or afterwards. However it is implied from the above custom [of saying it immediately after the blessing of Netilas Yadayim] that here too it should be said afterwards. As well it was the institution of the Geonim to first say the blessing of Netilas Yadayim [Shaar Hakolel 1/8], and so is the order in the Siddur and so rules the Ketzos Hashulchan 5/2; Shaareiy Teshuvah 6/4. However see Shaareiy Teshuvah ibid who brings the Kneses Hagedola that if one went to the bathroom before reciting Al Netilas Yadayim he is to first say Asher Yatzar as the blessing of Netilas Yadayim is now considered a Tashlumin and hence loses its precedence. See there for his answer.

[14] The reason for approximating Asher Yatzar to Al Netilas Yadayim: See previous footnotes that one is required to recite the praise of Asher Yatzar as close as possible to awakening. Alternatively it is because these two blessings share the same reason for being said; as a result of awakening as a new creation. [See Admur 4/1 and 6/1; M”A 4/1] Alternatively it is because Asher Yatzar is said as a result of washing hands, as before washing one is not allowed to touch the orifices and hence after washing we thank Hashem for this ability. [Darkei Moshe; M”A 4/2; Peri Megadim 4 A”A 1 explicitly writes this as the reason of why Asher Yatzar should be said immediately after the blessing for washing.] Alternatively it is done in order so the blessing of Al Netilas Yadayim be in proximity with some prayer. [See Piskeiy Teshuvos 4 footnote 12] See Chapter 4 Halacha 8b in background.

[15] Peri Megadim 4 A”A 2; M”B 4/3; Ketzos Hashulchan 5/2

Other Opinions: According to the reason of the Darkei Moshe [see previous footnotes] one may say the blessing of Asher Yatzar even if he did not sleep the previous night. [Peri Megadim ibid] In Hiskashrus Harav Ginzberg understands that the blessing may be said even if one did not use the bathroom, based on Minhag Haolam. He basis his ruling on the Rebbe in Yechidus [Heichal Menachem 2/213]. However see Shulchan Menachem p. 17 that the Rebbe referred him to go to the bathroom beforehand and hence the entire basis of Rav Ginzberg is unfounded.

[16] If one did not need relieve himself he may not say Asher Yatzar in a case that he did not sleep as even according to the custom which states that Asher Yatzar is recited as a thanks to Hashem for making a person a new creation, in this case he did not become a new creation. Now, although Admur rules [46/7] that one is to recite all the morning blessings even if he did not receive the pleasure of the blessing, as it is a general worldly pleasure, nevertheless regarding Asher Yatzar this does not apply. The reason for this is because from Talmudic law Asher Yatzar is only said after bathroom use and it is only customary to recite it every morning due to the pleasure received. Hence one may not use this custom to novelize a new law and apply it even in a case that one did not receive the pleasure that the custom requires. 

[17] Ketzos Hashulchan ibid

[18] See Chapter 4 Halacha 17.

[19] Ketzos Hashulchan 5/5; Seemingly a doubt in this regard would include if one knows the amount he slept but it was between one-thirty minutes of which there is a dispute if it constitutes 60 breaths. [See Chapter 4 Halacha 17 in Q&A]

[20] Ketzos Hashulchan ibid footnote 9 based on Admur 59/4; unlike Shaareiy Teshuvah 46 footnote 12

[21] Ketzos Hashulchan 5/2 as rules Admur in Kama 4/14 and 6/1 that the blessing after using the bathroom includes also the pleasure for awakening.

[22] In such a case, if it is past midnight, one would need to wash hands a second time after the bathroom and say the blessing of Netilas Yadayim and Asher Yatzar. However regarding Elokaiy Neshama he should delay it until morning even though that through doing so he may lose the ability to be “Masmich Bracha Lichaverta. See next Halacha!

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