Friday, July 6, 2012

The fast of Seventeenth of Tamuz (4:19 AM-8:58 PM)

This coming Sunday July 8th we commemorate the Seventeenth of Tamuz. A day in which five tragedies happened to the Jewish people (see here

√ The fast begins at dawn, which in Great Neck NY is at 4:19 AM.  The starting time of the fast is only relevant if before you went to sleep you were planning to wake up early -- before the fast begins-- to eat or drink. However, if at the time you went to sleep you planned to wake up after dawn, in fact you have already accepted and started the fast from the night.   So, if you randomly wake up earlier than 4:19AM, you cannot eat or drink. The Ashkenazi custom, however, is to allow drinking in this case because drinking water, for example, is not like a planned meal or a snack.  

√ If during the fast you forgot about the fast and you ate or drunk something, you still have to continue with the fast when you realize it is a fasting-day. You should not cancel the fast altogether because of that mistake. In this involuntary case, also, you don't need to make up for this fasting day by fasting another day. 

√ If you forgot it is a fast day and you said a berakha (blessing), for example, on a glass of water, according to the Sephardic tradition you should take a little sip of water because a berakhain vain is considered a Biblical transgression, i.e., a violation of the Third Commandment "You shall not pronounce the name of HaShem your God in vain".  Ashkenazi rabbis, however, considered that saying a blessing in vain is not a Biblical but a Rabbinical violation, and therefore one should still abstain from eating or drinking upon realizing his mistake.    
The fast ends at 8:58 PM

Shabbat Shalom!

Candle lighting in NYC 8:11 PM
Shabbat ends in NYC  9:19 PM. 

Click here to see who is exempted from fasting

Due to the current hot weather situation in NY, people should take extra precautions to avoid dehydration. Symptoms of dehydration are: vomiting, feeling very nauseated or very weak or light headed, despite lying down.  If you have any symptoms of dehydration you must break the fast and drink water immediately.