Intelligent Design


When I wake up in the morning and my body is functioning properly–even if I don’t feel 100% awake before consuming my first cup of coffee–I perform my morning ablutions without much introspection. I guess most people are pretty complacent about their morning bathroom routines…until something goes wrong. When the body ceases to function properly–when just one organ isn’t pulling its weight–then we notice.

The early rabbis attempted to combat this complacency with a blessing which is often referred to as “the bathroom blessing,” though it is meant to be recited after one exits the bathroom. I remember being mildly amused when I learned about this blessing; as a teenager I had no frame of reference in my own life experience for such a blessing. Now, as a woman in my 40’s, I strive to recite these words every day:

“Praised are You, God, who with wisdom designed the human body, creating in it openings, arteries, glands and organs, marvelous in structure, intricate in design. You know that if only one of them, by being blocked or opened, should fail to function, it would be impossible to exist. Praised are You, God, healer of all flesh and marvelous designer.”

If I make the effort to recognize God’s intelligent design of my body on a daily basis, perhaps I will not take its functioning properly for granted.

Andy Borowitz recently posted this video of his personal story, which he shared in 2009 at The Moth. He speaks with humor and grace about a life experience that shook his complacency about his body. I wonder if his rabbi encouraged his recitation of the bathroom blessing as a spiritual practice.

    Note about the video: Borowitz uses strong language. Recommended for mature audiences only.

Comments (4)

you know I love that blessing. With krohns disease on one side of the family and IBS and eating disorders on the other…it is G-d’s way of telling me…this one is for you!

I talked about this blessing in my YK sermon 577o, after recovering from a very debilitating illness.

It is a powerful prayer.

I have been saying this one every single morning since I can’t remember when. Well, I can remember when, but it’s terribly personal. I also remember not wanting to say it when I was too nauseated to move in early stages of pregnancy. Frume Sarah, would love to read your sermon, which I bet was a powerful prayer in itself. Pearl, thank you for always connecting from afar. I hope that we will get to talk about food, prayer & love in person in 2012. 😉

[…] purpose as effectively as the rude “Boing!”  In the morning it triggers the recitation of a blessing for my body’s proper functioning, and most afternoons it inspires meditation and slow breathing […]

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