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Birchos Hashachar - morning brachos (part II)
MBY 6:1 Speaking of the meaning of the brachos, let us examine today the amazing bracha we recite after performing our bodily functions – known as ‘Asher Yatzar’ (translation taken from the Artscroll Siddur, p. 15):

“Blessed… Who fashioned man with wisdom and created within him many openings and many cavities. It is obvious and known before Your Throne of Glory that if but one of them were to be ruptured or but one of them were to be blocked it would be impossible to survive and to stand before You. (Note: MB writes that it is not the prevalent custom to recite the words, “even for one moment”.) Blessed are You, Hashem, Who heals all flesh and acts wondrously.”

The words in bold print are those about which the Shulchan Aruch offers commentary which we will offer below.)
“Wisdom” – How is the fashioning of man with wisdom? Several interpretations are given: 1) The mere existence of man is wise beyond description; 2) Hashem created man’s sustenance in advance of man’s own creation; 3) There is nothing else found in creation, besides man, that is filled with air (like a balloon) and yet has many openings!

“Openings” – These are the amazing orifices in man’s body, such as his mouth, nose and digestive openings.

“Cavities” – These are the hollow organs within man’s body, such as the heart, stomach and intestines.

“Ruptured” – Were an orifice not able to close when it needed to, or were an organ to burst, a man would not be able to live.

“Blocked” – Were the orifices not able to excrete, a man, would likewise not be able to live.

“Heals all flesh” – Hashem implanted within man’s digestive system the ability to filter out toxic wastes from the nutrients and excrete them from the body. By this process, He is constantly keeping man healthy.

“Acts wondrously” – Besides all of the physical wonders mentioned above, how wondrous it is that Hashem combines within man the physical and the spiritual? Indeed, the two are interconnected: if a man is not nurtured physically, he will die and thus the soul will leave him and leave this world! In this vein, the Sages teach us that food also contains both physical and spiritual “nutrients” – the body is fed by the physical nourishment of the food while the soul is fed by the spiritual nourishment of the food. (Ed: Perhaps that is why we must observe dietary laws and make brachos. In fact, we are taught that if we do not follow the laws of kashruth, we develop ‘timtum halev’, i.e. a blockage of the spiritual “heart”, which impedes our ability to absorb Torah…)

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