Thursday, July 5, 2012

The fast of seventeenth of Tamuz (Part 2)

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

We fast and elevate our prayers and supplications (tachanunim) to haShem, which inspire us to introspect and do Teshuba.

On the 17th of Tamuz there are only two prohibitions: eating and drinking. 

No additional restrictions apply, such as the prohibition of washing the body, wearing leather shoes, working, driving, etc.

Who is exempted from fasting?

Minors: boys under 13 and girls under 12 years old are completely exempted from fasting.

Nursing women: According to the Sephardic Minhag, after giving birth, a woman is exempted from fasting for 24 months, even if they are not actually nursing their baby.

Pregnant women, especially after the first 3 months, are exempted from fasting.

A person who is sick, with flu or fever or a chronic disease, for example, diabetes, is excused from fasting.

Elders should consult with their physicians if the fast might affect their health. If it will, they are exempted (and in some cases, prohibited) from fasting.

A healthy person who is affected from a temporary headache or other discomfort, is allowed to swallow a pill--like a tylenol, ibuprofen, or any other non-chewable pill-- without water.  However, if a person suffers from a more serious illness, he should take his or her medication with water or in any way the doctor indicates.   

All other healthy people should fast and remember the tragedies that fell onto the Jewish people in this day.