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I don't know if other people have experienced this, but when reciting asher yatzar immediately after going to the bathroom, I find that if I meditate upon the meaning of the words I cannot help but recollect the process of using the toilet. Given that one cannot recite a blessing in the bathroom, it seems to me (perhaps erroneously?) that one also should not think about using the bathroom while reciting a blessing. Are there any problems with thinking about urinating or defecating while reciting asher yatzar and, if so, are there any sources that discuss what an appropriate kavanah should be?

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    Considering that's exactly what you're supposed to be expressing appreciation for, those thoughts don't seem especially inappropriate. If graphic imagery intrudes on your thoughts unbidden, your best bet would be to accompany those thoughts with appreciation that your body functions properly. Attempting to fight intrusive thoughts generally doesn't work and often has the opposite effect. As far as a halachic source that one may recite a blessing in the presence of those unbidden thoughts, I'll leave that for someone to post as an answer. – Fred Jan 20 '16 at 8:00
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    Unclear what you're asking. You're supposed to concentrate on the words you're saying, viz. the miracle of being able to go the toilet. If you think about the Kotel and fresh flowers growing you didn't make the Bracha correctly. – Danny Schoemann Jan 20 '16 at 8:24
  • Just to clarify my previous comment: I was not trying to say that a person has no control whatsoever over his thoughts. If, for example, prurient thoughts intrude on one's mind, he should try to redirect his attention to Torah thoughts, and he certainly should not actively choose to nurture or dwell on those original thoughts. But it is generally ineffective to use brute force to directly try not to think a particular thought or image. And, in the ordinary course of events, there is no use feeling anxious or guilty about stray, uninvited thoughts. – Fred Jan 21 '16 at 0:21
  • @DannySchoemann, the blessing is about the body's functioning properly in general, not about urination and defecation specifically. AFAIK. – msh210 Jan 21 '16 at 16:09
  • I think that the blessing is for the well-being reached after urination and defection. If the urinary tract or the GE system were not well it was not possible to live... – kouty Feb 13 '17 at 8:38
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Perhaps the fact that you are thinking about can actually be directed to proper Kavanna.

Rav Avigdor Miller writes in his sefer, Shaarei Orah, that one should be thankful of the fact that he is healthy and does not have to have troubles in regard to his health as there are people who do not have such.

If it can be channelled in a way in which you can be thankful to H-shem, it shouldn't be a problem.

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Are there any problems with thinking about urinating or defecating while reciting "asher yatzar"

There are two things in presence of which blessing, praying and all davar shebikdusha are contraindicated, both are learned from two different verses. There are Nackedness and derivatives, excrements and equivalents. The Rashba explains in Masechet Berachot (25a, {1}) that from the details of the verses result differences in halacha regarding those two different prohibitions. One example is when they are behind a transparent glass. If nackedness is behind a transparent glass separation, the prohibition remains because Tora points the vision. But for excrements you can see, if you are separated by a close glass and there is no odors, you can pray and bless because you are in a separated area (והיה מחנך קדוש). If there is no separation and you can see the stools, even far, you are considered in the same area and cannot pray. To cover the excrements makes a separation (וכיסית את צאתך). If you want to praise niflaot haberia thinking to elimination process, no problem.

For nackedness there is a problem of thinking. which is bad as another verse says to avoid all bad things.

are there any sources that discuss what an appropriate kavanah should be?

The Kavana of the blessing is not so close to defecation and urination. Shulchan Aruch OC in Siman 6 sayf 1 explained the Kavana: That the creation of man displays a wonderful wisdom. Some commentators say that the blessing regards the fact that the body is similar to a bota bag air-filled, and full of holes. Some others comments, "by wisdom" that G-d did prepare the foods of Adam, and then he created him, with holes, the mouth, the nose, anus, and hollow organs as hearth, stomach, etc, see below the SA:

כשיצא מבית הכסא יברך "אשר יצר את האדם בחכמה", שבריאת האדם היא בחכמה נפלאה. ויש מפרשים, על שם שהגוף דומה לנוד מלא רוח, והוא מלא נקבים, כדלקמן בסמוך. ויש מפרשים "בחכמה", שהתקין מזונותיו של אדם הראשון ואחר כך בראו.‏ "וברא בו נקבים נקבים, חלולים חלולים", פירוש: נקבים רבים, כגון פה וחוטם ופי טבעת, וגם ברא בו איברים רבים חלולים, כמו לב וכרס ומעיים. ‏ "שאם יסתם אחד מהם", כלומר שבנקבים יש נקב אחד, שהוא הפה, שכשהוא במעי אמו הוא סתום, וכשיוצא לאויר העולם הוא נפתח. ואם כשיוצא לאויר העולם היה נשאר סתום, לא היה אפשר להתקיים אפילו שעה אחת. והאיברים החלולים, אם היה נפתח אחד מהם – לא היה אפשר להתקיים אפילו שעה אחת.‏ ועוד יש לפרש, שגבול יש לאדם שיכולין נקביו ליסתם ולא ימות, וכיון שעבר אותו הגבול – אי אפשר להתקיים אפילו שעה אחת. וכיוון שבכלל הנקבים הם פי הטבעת ופי האמה, ובכלל האיברים החלולים – שאם יפתח אחד מהם אי אפשר להתקיים – הם כרס ומעיים, שפיר הוי שבח זה מעניין עשיית צרכיו.‏ ואפשר עוד, שמאחר שאם יוצא לנקביו ביותר עד שאם עבר הגבול – ימות, בכלל "שאם יפתח אחד מהם" הוא, והוי "שאם יפתח אחד מהם" נמי מענין עשיית צרכיו ממש.‏ "רופא [חולי] כל בשר", על שם שהנקבים שברא בו להוציא פסולת מאכלו, כי אם יתעפש בבטן – ימות, והוצאתו היא רפואה.‏ "ומפליא לעשות", מפני שהאדם דומה לנוד מלא רוח, ואם יעשה אדם בנוד נקב כחודה של מחט, הרוח יוצא. והאדם מלא נקבים ורוחו משתמרת בתוכו, הרי זה פלא.‏ ועוד יש לפרש, על שם שבורר טוב המאכל ודוחה הפסולת. ‏

The blessing of asher yatsar is about the healthy well-being reached after urination and defection. If the urinary tract or the GE system were not well it was not possible to live. the issue is not to recall the defection.


{1}

דהא לגבי צואה לא הקפידה תורה אלא במחניך קדוש וכל שהוא חוץ לד' אמותיו אינה במחנהו, ומנחנהו קדוש הוא? ואי משום לא יראה בך -- ההוא בערוה ממש מוקמינן לה וכדאמרינן לקמן (כה:) צואה בעששית מותר לקרות ק"ש כנגדה. ערוה בעששית אסור לקרות ק"ש כנגדה. מאי טעמא צואה בכיסוי תליא מילתא דכתיב "ושבת וכסית את צאתך" אבל ערוה "לא יראה בך ערות דבר" אמר רחמנא

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