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.

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