I was lecturing at an IAF base, and my host - the assistant base commander - showed me where the bathroom was. When I came out, I washed my hands three times consecutively with a cup and said slowly and with intent the Asher Yatzar blessing that one says after visiting the toilet. My host looked at me wide-eyed, as if I'd suddenly sprouted peacock feathers. "Rabbi," he gasped, "you guys even make a blessing after relieving yourselves?"
We sure do! It's the best and cheapest health insurance policy anywhere. Hear this:
Blessed are You, HaShem, Our God, King of the universe, Who created the human with wisdom and created within him many openings and many cavities, exposed and known before Your Throne of Glory, that if one of them were to be ruptured or one one of them were to be blocked it would be impossible to survive and to stand before You for even one hour. Blessed are You, HaShem, The physician of all flesh who acts wondrously.
Baruch atah Adonoi, Elohainu, melech ha'olam, Asher yatzar et ha'adam b'chochmah, u'vara vo n'kavim n'kavim, chalulim chalulim, galui v'yadua lifnai chisei chvodecha, she'im yipatei'ach echad maihem o yisataim echad maihem, ee efshar l'hitkayeim v'la'amod l'fanecha afilu sha'ah achat. Baruch atah Adonoi, rofeh chol basar u'mafli la'asot.
The Practical Halachas of Visiting the Toilet
No, this is not a joke. Proper deportment in the bathroom is an integral part of holiness. Besides, Jewish Law covers every single aspect of daily life.
As a service to our readers, here are the laws concerning visiting the toilet in a nutshell, based on Chapter Four of The Abridged Code of Jewish Law (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch):
- One must relieve oneself as soon as one feels the need, without delay.
- One must be modest in the toilet, and not relieve oneself in front of other people unless there is a partition.
- One must be careful not to overly strain, for it could create problems in the colon.
- One must not think about Torah or Torah-related subjects in the toilet; instead, think about mundane matters such as business or commerce.
- One must cleanse oneself thoroughly after visiting the toilet, for it is forbidden to pray if one’s body isn’t completely clean of excrement traces.
- Every time after visiting the toilet, even after urinating one drop, one must wash one’s hands thoroughly and then say the “Asher Yatzar” blessing.
May Hashem grant you and yours wonderful health always, amen.