Tuesday, November 20, 2012

TEFILA: Understanding The Blessing Asher Yasar

...אֲשֶׁר יָצַר אֶת הָאָדָם בְּחָכְמָה, וּבָרָא בוֹ נְקָבִים נְקָבִים, חֲלוּלִים חֲלוּלִים. גָּלוּי וְיָדֽוּעַ לִפְנֵי כִסֵּא כְבוֹדֶֽךָ, שֶׁאִם יִסָּתֵם אֶחָד מֵהֶם, אוֹ אִם יִפָּתֵֽחַ אֶחָד מֵהֶם, אִי אֶפְשַׁר לְהִתְקַיֵּם אֲפִילוּ שָׁעָה אַחַת. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה ,רוֹפֵא כָל בָּשָׂר וּמַפְלִיא לַעֲשׂוֹת

In Masekhet Berakhot, (60 b) the Rabbis mentioned the blessings to be said every morning when we wake up (birkot hashaḥar). One of them is asher yaṣar. This berakha praises God's wisdom in the creation of our body and its functions, particularly the digestive system. It refers to the sophisticated processes by which our bodies absorb the nutrients from the food we eat and drink, identifying the good and discarding the waste. Following the words of Yiob (19:26,  "from my body I will see God") the Rabbis considered our bodily functions as a perpetual testimony of God's wisdom. 
God designed a self-sufficient and autonomous body--with organs and numberless orifices and valves--which heals itself without our voluntary intervention. 
This berakha also hints that most of us only realize the full extent of God's wisdom in the fashioning of our body when our bodies, God forbid, stop working properly.  It indicates that if any element of its sophisticated mechanisms would not work properly--an organ will open up, a body vessel will clog up, or a valve will not unlock--we will not be able to survive.  This berakha opens our eyes and hearts to the wonders of our body, inviting us to recognize the wisdom (and compassion) of its Creator.  

After we leave the bathroom, we wash our hands and recite this blessing of gratitude to the Creator of the awesome human body.
"Blessed are You, Hashem our God, King of the universe, Who formed man with wisdom and created within him many orifices and organs. It is revealed and known before Your Throne of Glory that if one of them ruptures, or one of them clogs up, it would be impossible to survive even for a short moment. Blessed are You, Hashem, Who heals all bodies and acts wondrously."

READ HERE Dr Daniel Gordis "When Balance becomes Betryal"