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Asher Yatzar…The Deadline

 

By: Rabbi Ari Enkin

As a general rule, asher yatzar, the blessing recited after one relieves oneself, must be recited immediately once one has washed one’s hands after using the washroom.  There is some discussion; however, as to how long one actually has to recite asher yatzar in the event that for whatever reason it was not recited promptly after relieving oneself.

According to some authorities there is actually no set time limit. The Levush discusses a situation in which one went to the washroom in the middle of the night but did not recite asher yatzar at the time due to an inability to wash one’s hands. The Levush rules that the asher yatzar can be recited in the morning even if one does not relieve oneself again upon awakening.[1] Similarly, there are those who rule that one who goes to the bathroom several times during the night need not recite asher yatzar each time and need merely recite it once in the morning.[2] Again, this is true even if one does not relieve oneself upon awakening. Indeed, a number of authorities rule likewise and assert unequivocally that asher yatzar is not subject to any deadline or time limit.[3] There is even a view that one who forgot to recite asher yatzar after relieving oneself and then remembers the omission after relieving oneself again some time later is to recite asher yatzar twice, one after the other.[4] However, the halacha is not in accordance with this view.[5] 

Other authorities disagree and argue that if Birkat Hamazon, which is d’oraisa, has a time limit (generally assumed to be seventy-two minutes[6] or until the food is digested[7]) then certainly asher yatzar must have a time limit, as well.[8] Opinions as to such a time limit vary from a thirty minute deadline[9] ranging to those who suggest a seventy-two minute deadline.[10] The most widely accepted opinion on the matter is that one may recite asher yatzar up until one feels the urge to relieve oneself anew.[11] One who relieves himself at the very end of a meal should recite asher yatzar before reciting Birkat Hamazon or any other bracha achrona.[12] 

There is some discussion whether or not asher yatzar should be recited by one who is suffering from a stomach condition or is otherwise relieving oneself repeatedly. According some authorities, if one knows that one will end up back in the washroom in a short while due to the condition, then asher yatzar should not be recited.[13] Others rule that as long as one feels relieved then asher yatzar is to be recited each time regardless of any other considerations.[14] 


[1] Levush, OC 4:1

[2] Rivevot Ephraim 6:123:2.

[3] Elya Rabba (Zuta) 4:1; Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 196:3; Mishna Berura 7:1.

[4] OC 7:3.

[5] Mishna Berura 7:6

[6] Darkei Moshe, OC 184; Taz, OC 184:2; Mishna Berura 184:20; Be’er Moshe 3:39:16.

[7] OC 184:5; Mishna Berura 184:17.

[8] Birkei Yosef 6:3

[9] Kaf Hachaim, 7:7; Tzitz Eliezer 11:45:6.

[10] Yechaveh Da’at 4:5; Yabia Omer 8:22; Rivevot Ephraim 1:50:3, 7:30, 8:2. See also Be’er Moshe 2:10:2 and Chayei Moshe 7:3.

[11] Mishna Berura 7:1; Yabia Omer 8:22. 

[12] Mishna Berura 7:2; Kaf Hachaim 7:1.

[13] Asher Avraham, OC 7; Kol Eliyahu 2:1; Be’er Moshe 4:5; Yabia Omer 9:2.

[14] Mishna Berura 7:2; Kaf Hachaim 4:1

 
 
The opinions and facts here are presented solely by the author. Torah Musings assumes no responsibility for them. Please address religious questions to your rabbi.
 

29 Responses

  1. joel rich says:

    what is the time limit on brachot such as on thunder?
    KT

  2. Ari Enkin says:

    Joel-

    Toch kdei dibbur.

    Ari Enkin

  3. joel rich says:

    Wouldn’t the logical extension of the approach by birchat hamazon be that you would have until you felt the beginnings of the urge to evacuate again-or at least till a state of stasis()?
    KT

  4. Ari Enkin says:

    Yup.

    Dont I mention this at footnote 11?

    Ari Enkin

  5. Moshe Y says:

    R. Enkin, here is a question I’ve always wanted to know but always felt too awkward to ask: what is the “shiur” for asher yatzar? Do any poskim discuss this?

  6. Ari Enkin says:

    Moshe-

    It is discussed everywhere.

    There is no minimum amount. Even a twinkle sprinkle warrants an asher yatzar.

    Ari Enkin

  7. ari says:

    R Enkin

    Thank you for not feeling too awkward to answer that

  8. aaron says:

    I think read somewhere, maybe you can confirm it, that although one should say brochos loud that people should hear and answer amen, a woman should not say this brocho loud.

  9. Ari Enkin says:

    Aaron-

    Interesting. Dont think I ever saw it, but I can ‘hear’ why it would be suggested. It seems to be inconsistent with the genrual rule, though.

    Ari Enkin

  10. me says:

    I thought the shiur was Malay lugmov :)

  11. davidwag says:

    I thought one should not make a bracha/learn/etc. if one feels the need to relieve himself (different thresholds depend on type of relief sought). If so, how could one wait until he needs to relieve himself in order to say asher yatzar, since he couldn’t then recite a bracha?

  12. Moshe Y says:

    R. Enkin: thanks!

  13. Yissachar says:

    R’ Chaim Kanyevski ruled that there is no shiur, and that a ba’al teshuva who never said the bracha in his life needs to say over and over a few tens of thousands of times. Seriously.

    See here:
    http://bhol-forums.co.il/topic.asp?topic_id=1151431&forum_id=1364

  14. Shlomo says:

    davidwag: Good question. Obviously a person shouldn’t wait, but here are two reasons justifying considering the situation where they did:

    1) If when you said the bracha you were still able to “hold it in” for another 72 minutes, the bracha is valid bedieved. Practical (though certainly uncommon) implication: in this situation, should another person say “amen” to your improper blessing or not?
    2) The Mishna Brura I believe discusses whether you should say Asher Yatzar twice if you went all the way to the next bathroom visit without saying it. A negative answer to your question would imply a negative answer to this question too.

  15. Shalom Spira says:

    R’ Shlomo,
    Yi’yasher kochakha on your insights. I must admit I am surprised that a Jew could recite the “asher yatzar” benediction twice. Seemingly, the principle that one may not recite “Modim Modim”, as per the mishnah in Berakhot 33b, would indicate that the blessing should be recited once.

  16. davidwag says:

    Shlomo – I thought the “holding it in” grace period was allowed for, um, #1, but not #2.

  17. Ari Enkin says:

    David-

    Im not sure I understand your question. Indeed, one should not wait to say asher yatzar and one should not daven/say a bracha when one feel the urge to go to the bathroom.

    Ari Enkin

  18. Ari Enkin says:

    R’ Shalom-

    The problem of reciting “modim modim” twice is unrelated to reciting A.Y. twice (according to the view which says you should). This is because the ban on saying “modim modim” is when saying it together, in succession, within a single recitation of “modim”.

    Regarding AY, however, it is being said a second time following a first time, complete recitation of it. Since the two recitations are both complete and independant — there is no concer for “shtei reshuyos”, etc.

    Regards,

    Ari Enkin

  19. Shalom Spira says:

    I thank R. Enkin for illuminating my eyes with the excellent elucidation.

    Perhaps this point itself represents the focus of the dispute between Shulchan Arukh OC 7:3 (cited by the Rav in footnote 4) and the poskim marshalled by Mishnah Berurah and Arukh Hashulchan (cited by the Rav in footnote 5) who challenge Shulchan Arukh. SA believes that there’s no comparison between repeating a blessing and saying the word Modim twice. After all, as indicated by R. Enkin, we regularly recite amidah twice for tashlumin purposes. MB and AH may counter that reciting the amidah – which consists of a whole series of blessings (with the progressive themes of shevach/bakashah/hoda’ah) – may indeed be orchestrated twice without fear of conveying heretical impression. However, to say the very same blessing twice is dangerously close to “Modim Modim”, and therefore may not be done.

    Of interest to this proposed explanation to the dispute between SA vs. MB & AH is the gemara in Berakhot 33b which contrasts saying “Shema Shema” with saying the entire verse of Shema twice. [Indeed, SA OC 61:9 rules that it is forbidden to say either "Shema Shema" or to say the entire verse of Shema twice. However, SA may hold that this prohibition is unique in the context of the verse of Shema, because the entire theme of Shema is to declare the perfect Unity of HKB"H. Thus, one who says the verse twice is essentially (chas vichalilah) sarcastically mocking the very theme of the Shema. By contradistinction, SA sees no problem with saying the "asher yatzar" benediction twice. On the other hand, MB and AH see no distinction between repeating Shema and repeating "asher yatzar"; both are prohibited.]

  20. Ari Enkin says:

    R’ Sholom-

    Re: On the other hand, MB and AH see no distinction between repeating Shema and repeating “asher yatzar”; both are prohibited.]

    Pehaps. I just dont see it in this way. Teiku.

    Ari Enkin

  21. Steven Oppenheimer, DMD says:

    I believe a close reading of Rabbi Greenblatt’s teshuva (Rivevot Ephraim 6:123:2) shows that he felt one should make an Asher Yatzar blessing each time one gets up at night to go to the bathroom.

  22. Steven Oppenheimer, DMD says:

    I believe a close reading of Rabbi Greenblatt’s teshuva (Rivevot Ephraim 6:123:2) shows that he felt one should make an Asher Yatzar blessing each time one gets up at night to go to the bathroom.

  23. Elliot Pasik says:

    Here’s a question for Rabbi Enkin. Man has minor, outpatient surgery and returns home. In the middle of the night, he has the urge to urinate, but is unable to. He recalls the doctor’s advice. Ten per cent of patients will need a Foley catheter. Sometimes general anesthesia will overly relax the bladder to the point where it becomes nonfunctional for a period of time.

    Man jumps in taxi which races him back to hospital. The pain of being unable to urinate is now fierce, but the worst is yet to come. ER nurse, with topical anesthesia only, inserts Foley. Man reflexively screams out the name of the founder of Christianity, instead of asher yatzer. But a few seconds later, man does feel better.

    Should man have said asher yatzer?

  24. Ari Enkin says:

    Elliot-

    !??!

    Yup.

    Ari Enkin

  25. Ari Enkin says:

    Steve-

    I agree. I cited the R.E. becasue it is the only source where I saw that opinion in a sefer. He does at least say that the other opinion is legitimate.

    Ari Enkin

  26. Ari Enkin says:

    Yissachar-

    There is also the view of the Raavad and others that one can make up for EVERY SHEMONEH ESREI EVER MISSED.

    I think they issue diplomas in OCD’s for those who follow the Raavad.

    Ari Enkin

  27. Elliot Pasik says:

    Thanks – we should all be zoche to say asher yatzer the natural way!

  28. Ari Enkin says:

    Aaron-

    RE: “I think read somewhere, maybe you can confirm it, that although one should say brochos loud that people should hear and answer amen, a woman should not say this brocho loud.”

    I just found it! Pele Yoetz – “tzniut”.

    Ari Enkin

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