March 2018

Our daily morning liturgy includes a prayer – known colloquially as “Asher Yatzar” – thanking God that all our body’s parts and systems work as they should.  I have always found this prayer to be remarkable, but it took on heightened personal significance for me recently as I was recovering in the hospital from major surgery.  Contemplating this prayer while confronting a serious health issue is a profound reminder of life in perspective. 

When everything is fine, we take that “everything is fine” situation for granted, forgetting the miracles and extraordinarily complex set of circumstances that make everything fine.  This is just as true regarding our health as it is for everything else we take for granted that is just fine in life, including the good people and good deeds we take for granted.  It is only when everything is not fine – health, relationships, work, family, life, etc. – that we suddenly miss what we took for granted, that we long for things to be fine, that we wish we could have that “everything is fine” back so that this time we might pay attention and be grateful.  

Since we can’t ever go back, the clear lesson is to start now: look inside, look around, and don’t take any good for granted – be actively and sincerely appreciative of all that works and all that’s fine.  And try to say the “Asher Yatzar” every day, as long as you are able, with gratitude.


Rabbi Pearl