Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

29 Kislev 5760 - December 8, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Home and Family
The `Asher Yotzar' Project
by Rena Kaplan

We have previously published two articles concerning this seemingly routine blessing - in the hope that our readership put new appreciation into their reciting of it. In our opinion, it is the most important blessing said each day, for if anything were to go wrong with one of the valves, openings, miles of pathways in our system, we would be unable to exist for another moment...

Shimshon Halperin maintains that for two minutes a day, that is twenty seconds per each recitation, a person can acquire a heightened sense of gratitude towards Hashem - and a far better level of personal health!

In an attractive Las Vegas office, a business deal was made between Shimshon Halperin and several real estate brokers. As the meeting ended, Mr. Halperin decided to highlight the event by giving the other Jews attending the meeting a gift that was close to his heart. He gave them a colorful, laminated card on which the blessing Asher Yotzar was printed in large, clear letters. He explained what the words meant.

About two years ago, Shimon Halperin began to give much serious throught to the verse in Iyov 19:26, "From my flesh I can see my G-d." He marveled at how our blood flows through our veins, how our kidneys filter out wastes and poisons, how our arteries pump blood to our hearts and the rest of our bodies, and how our lungs purify the blood with fresh oxygen. He thought about how the liver helps in digestion and how our intestines process food through yards of tubing. Anyone who takes the time to think about the wonders of our functioning bodies can see the hand of Hashem in creation.

When we say Asher Yotzar after relieving ourselves of bodily wastes, we are thanking Hashem for giving us bodies that function properly, even without our conscious effort, most of the time, and keep us healthy. If we ever visit a hsopital or take care of a very sick person, we know what a miracle that is.

Halperin decided to embark on a grand project to encourage fellow Jews to say the blessing of Asher Yotzar properly. He had this blessing printed on shiny, graphically designed and illustrated posters of various sizes, including a handy pocketsize. To date, far over a quarter of a million of these posters have been distributed in schools, business, camps, bungalow colonies, book stores and shuls. They are given out at luncheons, yarzeit gatherings and synagogue functions.

The posters can be found hanging in doctor's offices and yeshiva dorms and, of course, in countless homes. They have been printed in English, Hebrew, Russian, Spanish, French, and Farsi (the language of Iran).

They have been shipped to Canada and across the seas to Europe and Australia. A world-wide distribution of over one million posters is expected in the near future. On each poster, vivid illustrations help us focus on the wonders of the different systems of our healthy bodies.

In Shimshon's own home, he has purchased battery-operated stop watches and mounted them outside each bathroom. He encourages the members of his family to time themselves each time they recite Asher Yotzar.

The response to the Asher Yotzar project has been exciting. Many people note that once they began to say this blessing properly and with concentration, their attitude toward others parts of the prayers improved as well.

Hanoch Teller, well-known author and lecturer, recalls a flight on which he was traveling home to Israel. Many religious people were flying and an irreligious couple seated next to him was mocking the way they gathered to pray. Just then, they saw a man emerge from the lavatory, stop and recite a blessing. They thought this was particularly amusing and began to laugh. Teller patiently explained to them the meaning of the blessing. He captured and held their interest and eventually, this couple found their way back to Yiddishkeit as baalei tshuva.

A successful businessman, Shimshon Helperin decided to stop in his tracks and take stock of his life. Did he want to focus only on his career and the benefits of finanacial aggrandizement? No, he had greater visions for his future. With energy and determination, he decided to set aside his precious mornings to study Torah with a study partner and go to his Manhatten office in the afternoons. He began giving shiurim in Daf Yomi and has dedicated himself to making the Asher Yotzar Project an international venture.

You can order free posters or wallet-size cards for personal use or distribution at 03-5704633, or through the American number: 914-426-6188.

Here's to your health!


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