Duty Calls

Man should strive to have his intestines relaxed all the days of his life.

–Moses Maimonidies

Be forewarned: this post is about poo.

Why, you ask, is a rabbi writing about…uh… bowel movements? Well, because as the Rambam himself reminds us above, having a successful BM is nothing less than holy work. If you think I’m joking, you should know that one of the best known daily blessings in Jewish tradition is the one we say before we do our business every morning:

You abound in blessings, Eternal One our God, Soverign of all Creation, who with wisdom created the human being with wisdom, making for us all of the openings and vessels of the body. It is clearly apparent that if one of these passage-ways be open when it should be closed, or blocked up when it should be free, it would be impossible to exist or stand before your Presence. You abound in blessings, the wondrous healer of all flesh.

It may well be that we are waking up to the joys of regularity – and in particular the importance of examining what we leave behind. The whimsical medical guide, “What’s Your Poo Telling You?” has now sold 250,000 copies world-wide – and even the Oprah Winfrey show has devoted air time to the the health importance of toilet bowl gazing. Could it be that that poo-observation is becoming (pardon the expression) something of a movement?

If I haven’t completely nauseated you by now, click above for a musical tutorial or check out this recent article from Salon. Here’s an exerpt:

Going to the john is no longer simply a process of elimination. No, the “unbridled elation that results from releasing the perfect poo” is now a transformative act, bringing the conscientious fiber-eating toilet sitter to a spiritual or sexual high.

(Hmmm, maybe Maimonidies was onto something after all…)

3 thoughts on “Duty Calls

  1. Lori Lippitz

    I understand that one of Winston Churchill’s quips was, “There is nothing so overestimated as sex, or so underestimated as a good s***.” Salvadore Dali was also known to go back to bed if his morning elimination was not satisfactory (he describes it in details that I will spare you). There’s all the literary wisdom I know on the subject.


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