Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Who should observe the fast of Tisha beAv and who is exempt?

Today is the 3rd day of Av, 5770

The fast of Tisha beAv should be observed by all those who are in good health.

Pregnant and nursing women: Similar to Yom Kippur, pregnant and nursing women, in principle, should do this fast. But in case of any complication or physical weakness or any doubt whether the fast will affect their health or their baby's health, they should ask their doctors and proceed as the physician recommends.

Yoledet: During the first 30 days after birth, a woman is exempted from doing the fast.

Minors: boys before 13 and girls before 12 are completely exempted from fasting. Unlike Yom Kippur, there is no need for children to fast a few hours.

Chole She-en Bo Sakana: People with a chronic illness like diabetes or patients under treatment or somebody with high fever should not do this fast. Many rabbis recommend that in these cases, when possible, one should try to fast only until the next morning.
On Tisha BeAv, when exempted from the fast, one can eat normally and does not have to eat in small portions, as it's required on Yom Kippur. However, one should eat whatever necessary for his or her health but obviously not in excess.

Elders should consult with their physicians to make sure that the fast will not affect their health. If it will, they are exempted (or forbidden) from fasting.

For questions or clarifications write to:

READ: "Let them eat fish" for recipes for days without meat.