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You Don't Need a Health Crisis

Sunday, 6 February, 2022 - 9:55 pm

Question of the Week

This is out of left field but maybe you can help. A religious Jewish guy works in the office next to me. I just bumped into him as he was walking out of the men's room, and I said hello. But he was talking to himself. He held up his finger to tell me to wait until he finished his "conversation" and then greeted me back. No one else was around, and he wasn't on the phone. At first I thought it was bizarre behavior but have come to learn that maybe there is something religious behind it. Is there?

Answer

You have just witnessed one of the most powerful religious moments in the universe. And it usually happens outside the men's room.

Your colleague was not talking to himself, he was talking to G-d. He was saying thanks for the ability to go to the bathroom. There is a short prayer of gratitude recited by observant Jews every single time they relieve themselves:

Blessed are You, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, who has formed man in wisdom, and created within him numerous orifices and cavities. It is revealed and known before the Throne of Your Glory that if but one of them were to be blocked, or one of them were to be opened, it would be impossible to exist even for a short while. Blessed are You, Lord, who heals all flesh and performs wonders.

This is nothing short of amazing. Going to the bathroom is not usually seen as a transcendental experience. And yet here we take this less than pleasant bodily function, and use it as a means for appreciating the miracle of our existence.

Many people turn to G-d after surviving a serious illness. We turn to G-d after going to the bathroom. Which goes to show, you can  appreciate your health without having to endure a health crisis. What a relief. 

Good Shabbos,
Rabbi Moss

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