Halacha for Thursday 20 Av 5781 July 29 2021

The “Asher Yatzar” Blessing vs. Birkat Hamazon

Question: In the previous Halacha, we have discussed if one becomes obligated to recite an after-blessing on food and before he does so, he uses the facilities and becomes obligated to recite the “Asher Yatzar” blessing, one should recite the “Asher Yatzar” blessing first and only then recite the after-blessing on the food he has eaten. The question is: Does this apply equally to Birkat Hamazon and the “Al Ha’Michya” after-blessing or does this only apply to the after-blessing of “Boreh Nefashot”?

Answer: We have explained becomes obligated to recite an after-blessing on food and then becomes obligated to recite the “Asher Yatzar” blessing, one should first recite the “Asher Yatzar” blessing and only then recite the after-blessing on the food. This is based on the opinion of the Maharshal who rules that since we follow the rule of “The more frequent of two Mitzvot is performed first” and the “Asher Yatzar” blessing is indeed more common than after-blessings on food, one should thus recite the “Asher Yatzar” blessing first. We had also discussed an additional reason for this.

It would seem that there should be no distinction between the after-blessings of Birkat Hamazon and “Al Ha’Michya” and “Boreh Nefashot,” for the “Asher Yatzar” blessing is still recited more frequently than any of these after-blessings.

However, this is indeed not the case, for reciting Birkat Hamazon is a Torah obligation. Similarly, according to most Poskim, reciting the ‘Al Ha’Michya” blessing is also a Torah commandment. Many Poskim write that a rabbinic commandment does not precede a Torah commandment. Thus, since reciting the “Asher Yatzar” blessing is certainly only a rabbinic commandment, if one becomes obligated to recite Birkat Hamazon or the “Al Ha’Michya” blessing and then later becomes obligated to recite the “Asher Yatzar” blessing, one should first recite Birkat Hamazon and the “Al Ha’Michya” blessing and only afterwards recite the “Asher Yatzar” blessing.

Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l writes as follows: “If one eats something which requires one to recite the “Boreh Nefashot” after-blessing and then becomes obligated to recite the “Asher Yatzar” blessing, one should first recite the “Asher Yatzar” blessing and only then recite the “Boreh Nefashot” blessing. If the same situation arises with Birkat Hamazon or the “Al Ha’Michya” blessing, one should first recite Birkat Hamazon or “Al Ha’Michya” and only then proceed to recite the “Asher Yatzar” blessing. Nevertheless, if one is concerned that one may forget to recite the “Asher Yatzar” blessing after reciting Birkat Hamazon, one should indeed recite the “Asher Yatzar” blessing before reciting Birkat Hamazon.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

The Laws of Mentioning “Mashiv Ha’Ruach”

We Begin Reciting “Mashiv Ha’Ruach” “Mashiv Ha’Ruach U’Morid Ha’Geshem” is a praise we recite to Hashem during the winter months within the “Mechayeh Ha’Metim” blessing of the Amidah as is printed in all Siddurim. We begin recitin......

Read Halacha

The Laws of One Who Forgets to Mention “Ve’Ten Tal U’Matar” in the “Blessing of the Years”

In the previous Halacha, we have discussed in a general manner that our Sages enacted that beginning from the Seventh of Marcheshvan (outside of Israel from the Fourth or Fifth of December), one begins reciting “Ve’Ten Tal U’Matar” (a request for dew and rain) in the “B......

Read Halacha

Eating and Washing One’s Self Yom Kippur

Some Laws of Yom Kippur All are obligated to fast on Yom Kippur, including pregnant and nursing women. Any woman whose health is at risk due to the fast should consult a prominent Torah scholar who is well-versed in these laws and he should render his ruling whether or not she must fast. One whose ......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Shevi’it in a Cooperative Garden

This year (5782) is the Shemitta year. In previous Halachot, we have already explained the basic laws of Shemitta including the fact that one may not plant in or work (in any manner) any land within the Land of Israel unless the work is meant to protect the crops from harm that will befall them if t......

Read Halacha


“The Blessing of the Years”

Beginning from last night, the Seventh of Marcheshvan, we have begun to request rain in the Amida prayer (only in the Land of Israel; the law for those outside of Israel will be discussed further). Let us therefore review some of these pertinent laws. The Enactment of the Sages to Request Rain O......

Read Halacha

When the Sanctity of Shevi’it Will Apply to Fruits and Vegetables and More on “Heter Mechira”

In the previous Halachot we have explained that any produce grown in Jewish-owned fields in the Land of Israel this year (5782) retain the sanctity of Shevi’it. We have likewise discussed the ramifications of this sanctity and the proper way to treat such produce. This sanctity rests even on f......

Read Halacha

Sprouting Avocado Pits During Shevi’it and the Blessing on Hydroponic Produce

Question: What is the blessing on vegetables that grow from the water (and not from the ground)? Likewise, is it permissible to plant such hydroponic produce during Shevi’it? Answer: The Blessing on Mushrooms and Truffles The Mishnah in Masechet Berachot (40b) states: “On things whi......

Read Halacha

Forbidden and Permissible Forms of Work During Shevi’it

In this Halacha and the next, we shall discuss the basic laws of tending to a garden during Shevi’it. We shall not discuss all of the details of these laws, for these laws do not apply to those residing outside of Israel. Works Forbidden by Torah Law and Rabbinic Enactment Some works forbi......

Read Halacha