After we use the restroom, we recite a benediction praising God for our ability to do so. The benediction ends by referring to him as the one "who heals all flesh", viz all people.

In the amida prayer, central thrice every weekday to our prayer service, we recite a benediction asking God for health. The benediction ends be referring to him as the one "who heals the sick of his people, Israel".

Both are true, of course: he heals all flesh and he heals Jews. And I can see why we might mention either fact. But why is each fact mentioned where it is: the one about mankind in the post-restroom prayer and the one about Jews in the amida?

  • I've heard that both R. Yaakov Emden and R. Yonasan Eibschitz discuss this, but I don't have an exact citation to either and don't know what they say.
    – msh210
    Mar 12, 2020 at 21:38
  • related judaism.stackexchange.com/q/23321/759
    – Double AA
    Mar 23, 2020 at 18:20

1 Answer 1


The Amidah is said from the perspective of the Jewish people/congregation, as it begins "velokai avoseinu", and as is indicated in other brachos as well ("hashiveinu avinu lsorasecha","tekah bshofar lcheiruseinu","hashivah shofteinu").

Thus in the brocha of refaeinu the 'us' in 'Heal us...', is referring to the Jewish people just as it is throughout the Amidah. Since we are specifically asking Him to heal the Jewish people, it makes sense to end off "who heals the sick of his people, Israel".

After we use the restroom however, we are praising Hashem for the system He created, which is universal. Blessings of praise (as opposed to requests or thanksgiving for a nation-specific benefit) are not nation-specific (ie "kocho ugvuraso malei olam").

  • 3
    Sensible answer. It would be stronger with some supportive source.
    – DanF
    Mar 12, 2020 at 22:21

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