Thursday, August 4, 2011

Tisha BeAb: rules for a day of fasting

In the aftermath of the destruction of the Bet haMikdash (586 BCE), the Prophets of Israel established the fast of Tish'a beAb. Unlike other fast days (except Kippur) in Tish'a beAb we don't eat or drink for a whole day, almost twenty five hours.

The fast will begin Monday August 8th at 7:55 (N.Y. time) until Tuesday August 9th at 8:42 (N.Y. time).

The fast of Tish'a beAb 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 observe this fast. In cases of complications or physical weakness or if the mother thinks the fast will affect her health or her baby's health, she should ask her doctor and proceed as the physician recommends (Listen to Dr. Jacobs audio file!). If during the fast she feels sick, especially if she is vomiting or having other signs of dehydration, she should break the fast and eat immediately. However, mild dizziness and nausea that can be coped with, by lying down on a couch or a bed, are considered normal.

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

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

Chole She-en Bo Sakana: People with a chronic disease 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 until the morning.

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.

When one is allowed to eat for health reasons, one should eat only whatever is necessary for his or her health, and not in excess

Click HERE to listen to Dr. Jessica Jacobs lecture:

"Fasting and Pregnancy"

This presentation was given in our community close to Yom Kippur. Most information is relevant for Tish'a beAb as well. The most important difference is that on Tish'a BeAb, when exempted from the fast, one can eat normally and does not have to eat in small portions, as it is required on Yom Kippur.

For American history fans.
Click HERE to read about an American Yom Kippur, March 30, 1863, by President Abraham Lincoln