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Can someone say asher Yatzar for a sick, mute, hospitalized or any other person who has excreted but is unable to say the bracha himself? Does the person who excreted have to have any da'at or kavana or ability to understand what is being said or even the fact that a bracha is being done for him even if he doesn't understand what the bracha is or why it's being done?

This site discusses an interesting debate as to whether Asher Yatzar is considered Birkat Hanehenin, which posits that's only the one who receives benefit should recite it, or if it is a Birkat Hashevach which doesn't havethat requirement. The article has no sources to the debate. Additionally, it concludes "unless there is a case of great need", but it doesn't describe what fits that category, halachically.

Addressing Comments:

I am assuming that the person saying the blessing has not relieved himself. This may address the "great need" mentioned in the above article. If the answer is "Yes, but only when the reciter has also relieved himself", why is that a requirement for this situation? Would it, then, make sense for that person to wait until he has also relieved himself in order to say the blessing for both?

If Asher Yatzar is considered a Birkat Shevach, this may delve into a general rule that someone who has no kavana or understanding of what the bracha is for may still have fulfilled his obligation by hearing someone else do the blessing.

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    "Does the person who excreted have to have any da'at or kavana or ability to understand what is being said or even the fact that a bracha is being done for him even if he doesn't understand what the bracha is or why it's being done?" Have you ever heard of any blessing working the second way? AFAIK you always need to hear every word and intend to fulfill your obligation if someone is saying a blessing for you (eg. Kiddush). Why would you even think to ask this? – Double AA Nov 1 '17 at 16:57
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    @DoubleAA, it sounds from the wording of the question like the OP thinks a praise-type benediction can be said by anyone who wants to praise. Which makes sense. – msh210 Nov 1 '17 at 18:40
  • If they could not recite the bracha, then kal vachomer they wouldn't be able to say "amen" to it, right? – ezra Nov 1 '17 at 20:35
  • @mevaqesh See recent edits. I have seen two sites state that it can only be done if the healthy person has also relieved himself. I'm not sure why that's a requirement esp. if it may be considered Birkat Shevach. – DanF Nov 2 '17 at 14:46
  • @ezra not necessarily. Undoubtedly, we both personally know numerous people who can't read or pronounce Hebrew well enough to say the bracha. But, "Amen" has become a common Hebrew (as well as English) word that many can pronounce. – DanF Nov 2 '17 at 18:08
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Yabia Omer Volume 9 Orach Chaim 3:2 says that one should not be Motzi his friend with Asher Yatzar. He says that since the Meiri in Rosh Hashana 29 holds that one can not be Motzi someone for such a type of Bracha, therefore as Sofek Brachos L'Hakail one should follow that view.

ברכות תפלה וברכות שבח והודאה - כולן הודאה וריצוי הן, ומתוך כך אף על פי שהן חובה אין אדם מוציא את חברו מהן

So far I have not been able to find an Ashkenazi view on this.

  • Does he give a reason? – Avrohom Yitzchok Nov 1 '17 at 19:19
  • One minute, what is the case?He says for himself and for the friend or for the friend only. In synagogue there is chazanim who recite all birkot hashachar including asher yatsar – kouty Nov 1 '17 at 19:39
  • @AvrohomYitzchok His reason is that it appears to be a mahaloket Rishonim and safek berakhot lhakel. – mevaqesh Nov 2 '17 at 14:47
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    @kouty raises a valid point, which is what I asked (see latest edits). If it's considered Birkat Shevach, why couldn't another person do for his friend. Unless Yabia Omer posits that a person cannot "randomly" recite a birkat shevach. – DanF Nov 2 '17 at 14:49
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    @DanF By randomly recite a birkat shevach, you mean like just saying "Barukh Attah ... HaOlam Oseh Maaseh Vereishit" just for fun? I don't know of anyone who thinks that's permitted. You say blessings on specific events or occasions, not just randomly. – Double AA Nov 2 '17 at 17:18
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Rambam Berachot 11, 1

כל השוני ברכה מן הברכות מתחילה ועד סופה ונתכוון לצאת בה ידי חובתו יצא אף על פי שלא ענה אמן. וכל העונה אמן אחר הברכה הרי הוא כמברך (ברכות נגד ב) והוא שיהיה כמברך חייב באותה ברכה

If the blesser has himself to do (for his own need) this blessing, it is possible. The Abudarham in chapter Birkat Hamitsvot asks a Kashia from Birkat Hamazon laws. When there is a mitzvah lechalek (to bless independently) and from Tefilah (someone cannot bless for a baki, who is able to pray alone). He answers a first teruts regarding birkat hamazon, in name of Yerushalmi berachot 3, 3. The verse indicates that if someone had eaten, he (and not someone else) have to bless. He extends the scope of this first teruts and says that praying is similar to Birkat Hamazon, one needs to ask for owns need, as one has to bless for the pleasure of eating and reaching satiety. A second teruts regarding prayer. Tefilah needs to be silently recited, that's a sign that it is for the speaker only. But shaliach tsibbur for 10 is different.

Following the last teruts it is possible. Following the first, probably not. If the blesser needs not to bless for himself, following both teruts, not too.

  • I'm not sure this answers my question, as I was referring primarily to an Oness - one who cannot say the bracha for himself. IIRC, for Birkat Hamazon, I think one can say for an oness. – DanF Nov 3 '17 at 14:32
  • Ahhhh I understand – kouty Nov 4 '17 at 20:41

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