אשר יצר | Asher Yatsar, interpretive translation by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l

This English translation of the prayer “Asher Yatsar” by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l, was first published in his Siddur Tehillat Hashem Yidaber Pi (2009). Versification by Aharon Varady according to the nusaḥ ha-ARI z”l. . . .

אשר יצר | Asher Yatsar prayer for recognizing the Divine Image in all our bodies by R’ Emily Aviva Kapor

Asher Yatzar (the “bathroom blessing”, traditionally said every morning and after every time one goes to relieve oneself) has always rung hollow to me, at best, and at worst has been a prayer not celebrating beauty but highlighting pain. The original version praises bodies whose nekavim nekavim ḥalulim ḥalulim (“all manner of ducts and tubes”) are properly opened and closed—yes, in a digestive/excretory sense, but it is quite easy to read a reproductive sense into it as well. What do you do if the “ducts and tubes” in your body are not properly opened and closed, what if one is open that should be closed, or vice versa? . . .


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