Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: What Category of Bracha is אשר יצר?

Great taste!  Less filling!  While I realize that a beer advertising campaign may not be the most traditional way to begin a d'var Torah, it also happens to set just the right mindset for those who remember it.  Anyway, the beer is kosher and I have never been accused of being a traditional anything.

Besides ברכות המצוות (blessings for the opportunities we have to connect directly to the Creator), we have three basic categories of ברכות:

  • הנהנין -- On pleasures that we are about to experience, such as tastes and fragrances.
  • שבח/הודיה -- praise/thanksgiving (closely linked in Hebrew); basically all of the brachos we make every morning for vision, being a Jew, having shoes, etc.
  • תפילה -- prayers and supplications; the 13 middle ברכות of of Shmone Esrei, for example.
So... what category is אשר יצר?  There is nothing in the wording to help decide.  There is certainly praise for HaShem's Wisdom (and/or for giving us wisdom) and the wonders He performs. However, there is also an acknowledgement are lives are very fragile (so many parts that have to work together!) and a supplication: Blessed art Thou... Healer of all flesh.  On the other hand, it also sounds a lot like every ברכת הנהנין that we say; a bracha for the pleasure of eating a fruit praises HaShem for creating the trees, this bracha certainly praises HaShem for making my plumbing.  So we need something other than the wording of the bracha to decide this question.

Let's note, by they way, that the first אשר יצר we say in the morning is different than all the rest that we make during the day.  That first אשר יצר is really one of the ברכות השחר/daily morning blessings that were established to say once each day.  There is even an opinion to say that אשר יצר even if you didn't use the water closet (though the Mishna Brura recommends that you do, and at my age I don't even understand the question any more).

So we are talking about the אשר יצר that one makes on each exit from the WC, as paskened in Shulchan Aruch, OC 7:1?  Look at syef 3, where the Shulchan Aruch paskens that if one used the WC and didn't make the bracha, then needed to go again, he should make אשר יצר twice; once for each time he used the facilities.  The Mishna Brura (sk 6) explains that the m'chaber means to say that just like you have תשלומין/make ups for shmone esrei, you have תשלומין for אשר יצר.  Ah ha!  So the Mishna Brura learns that the m'chaber paskens that אשר יצר is תפילה.  The Pri Chadash (brought in the Dirshu MB) says no, the m'chaber means that you say it as many times as you used the facilities, not just once make up like sh'mone esrei; Ah ha!  The Pri Chadash learns that the m'chaber paskens that אשר יצר is a ברכת הנהנין.  But wait... the Mishna Brura (later in sk 6) says that others argue on the m'chaber and say that אשר יצר is more like ברכת מזון; that is: שבח/הודיה.  Ta da, our final category.

!שבח/הודיה! תפילה! הנהנין  So seems to be all three and all three are in one bracha.  It's worth spending a few moments to contemplate all that the next time you feel the urge.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Using a Mitzvah Object for Non-Mitzvah Purposes

As I am -- Baruch HaShem -- getting older, I am more cognizant of the fact that I'd like to stay as healthy as possible right up the moment I leave this world.  Stuff hurting is not the problem (I am told there is an old Russian saying that once you are 40, if you wake up and nothing hurts -- you're dead), stuff not working, however, is a problem.  To that end, for several years now I commute to work by bicycle (weather permitting, 30 minutes on an elliptical machine when weather does not permit).  I recently took up some upper body weight training.  Not because I want to be governor of California, just simply to slow down loss of bone mass and extend my body's healthy span.  Simple hishtadlus.  I have an 18 month old grandson who is just the right weight for arm curls (yes... I am that weak), so I do about 10 reps when I greet him at night.  He laughs, I get my exercise; all good.  (Main problem is explaining to the older ones why zeidy can't give them the same "…

Thought for the Day: Coming Into This World for Torah, Avodah, and Acts of Loving Kindness

This TftD is so self-serving that I should be embarrassed.  But I am not... talking about grandchildren is always off budget.  I have, bli ayin hara, a beautiful new grandson; born at 6:11 PM CDT last Friday night.  The secular (aka -- by me, anyway -- slave) date is October 20, 2017 CE.  The Hebrew (aka Real) date is certainly Rosh Chodesh חשון/Cheshvan and certainly in the year 5778 since Creation.  The date, you ask... good question!

Sundown on Friday night was 6:01 PM CDT, which means he was born either at the end of the last day of תשרי or the beginning of the first day of Cheshvan; a period know as בין השמשות/twilight.  What's the big deal, you ask... I am so glad you asked.  We all deal quite handily with בין השמשות every week and every holiday; we're just stringent.  We start Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov before בין השמשות; that is, before sundown.  Likewise, we end Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov after בין השמשות; some 42, 50, 60, or 72 minutes after sundo…