There are 5 prohibitions on Yom Kippur. All coming from the biblical verse: 'On the 10th of Tishri veinitem et nafshotekhem' (Vaikra 23,27) you should deprive your bodies... The five prohibitions are: (1) Eating and drinking, (2) washing our body (3) anointing our body (4) having marital relations and (5) wearing leather shoes. Let's talk about fasting.
Everyone has to fast on Yom Kippur, except the following:
1. Minors: a boy or a girl younger than 9 years old should not make any type of fast, even for a couple of hours. When they reach 9 they fast for a couple of hours, but only if they are in good health. Every year the parents should encourage them to fast for a little longer so they will slowly get used to the idea of a complete day of fasting. When the son or daughter reaches 11 years, they should try to fast the whole day if they are in good health. A healthy girl from the age of 12 and a healthy boy from the age of 13 are obligated to fast as everybody else.
2. Mothers: After childbirth, during the first 3 days, a mother should not fast. The same rule applies for the 72 hours after a miscarriage. After the first 72 hours from the day of childbirth until the 7th day after birth, if the mother says that she needs to eat, she should eat. After the 7th day she has to fast, unless otherwise indicated by a reliable doctor. A woman in labor cannot fast.
3. Sickness: When one is sick or weak because of his age, or someone getting some kind of medications, should get the advice of a reliable physician to see if he needs to eat and/or take his medication. After talking to a Doctor a Rabbi could help him to establish, based on the doctor's advice, how to eat his food. In a case of a chronic illness, such as diabetes, and especially in a case where there is a risk (Safek) of some kind of danger to someone's life, one should break the fast even if one was not able to consult with a physician.
4. According to Jewish Law, if a Chole -a sick person- asserts that he or she needs to eat, he or she should be fed, even without asking a Doctor.
Tomorrow, BH we will deal with 'Pregnancy and Yom Kippur' and 'How to eat on Yom Kippur when you need to'.