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In viewing the words of Asher Yatzar, there is no mention of waste elimination, excretion or anything even indicating a specific bodily activity. All it mentions is the wonders of the bodily structure and there is a "hint" to waste elimination by mentioning "if a "hole" were to be improperly opened or closed we could not exist.

So, if we are already "hinting" at waste elimination, why was the bracha limited to urination and defecation and not all types of waste elimination such as nausea, sneezing and coughing?

  • Why not things other than waste elimination, too, like eating, breathing, and hearing? – msh210 May 28 at 14:36
  • How about we say it when we wake up in the morning, as gratitude for god not allowing us to die? – Clint Eastwood May 28 at 14:40
  • עי' הלכות קטנות ח"א סי' קלז – wfb May 28 at 14:46
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    Interesting. The Yaavetz asks this question about seminal emissions – Shoel U'Meishiv May 28 at 15:05
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    The kaf hachaim 240:28 says that if one is able to, one should go to the bathroom after relations so that he can make אשר יצר on both. – moses May 28 at 16:56
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Sneezing and coughing is not something that you do every day all the time. People do go a day or two or more without sneezing or coughing.

Urination and defecation on the other hand is a process that must go on every day all the time. If there is an obstruction then it is deadly. It is basically the only big plumbing activities that we consciously do every day during which it is brought to the forefront of our awareness of the great compexities of our body. And so perhaps then it is the most opportune time to say this blessing.

(Why not say it when eating? Because we already have a blessing that we say then. And also perhaps because when we're eating, the focus is on the food itself as opposed to when using the bathroom, the focus is on the plumbing process.)

  • Plausible answer that needs some source to support it. Breathing and sweating are also needed daily to survive, yet there is no bracha for those. – DanF May 29 at 13:11
  • @DanF but is not as obvious and does not require a conscious, active effort on the person's part like going to the bathroom – larry909 May 29 at 13:57
  • @DanF and actually, breathing and sweating is probably included in the blessing but we only say the blessing when we do the activity that is most obvious and requires a conscious effort, like going to the bathroom – larry909 May 29 at 13:58
  • @DanF when we say the blessing asher yatzer when going to the bathroom we have in mind to be yotze for all the other activities that we are thankful for, like sweating etc. This is a common occurrence in Jewish law that we say a blessing on one mitzvah and have in mind for other mitzvahs. – larry909 May 29 at 14:01
  • @DanF why can't I be the source? This is a reason for an existing law. It's not like I'm making up a new law. Only providing a possible explanation for an existing law. – larry909 May 29 at 14:03

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