Halacha for Sunday 3 Av 5779 August 4 2019

Those Who are Obligated and Exempt from the Fast of Tisha Be’av and their Status When Tisha Be’av Falls Out on Motza’ei Shabbat

Someone Ill with a Non-Life-Threatening Illness, An Elderly Person, and a Woman who has Recently Given Birth
One who is ill (meaning when one is actually bedridden and the like, even if the illness is not life-threatening) is exempt from fasting on Tisha Be’av. When in doubt about one’s status, one should consult a prominent halachic authority. (Aches and pains, such as the common headache and the like, are not grounds to exempt one from fasting on Tisha Be’av.)

An elderly person who is weakened by fasting is considered “ill” for all intents and purposes and is exempt from fasting on Tisha Be’av; even if he has no internal illness, he must nevertheless eat on Tisha Be’av.

There is a dispute among the Poskim regarding the status of a woman who has recently given birth. Regarding a woman who has given birth within the past seven days, all opinions agree that she is exempt from fasting on Tisha Be’av. However, if she has given birth more than seven days ago but she is still within thirty days of giving birth, several Poskim are of the opinion that she must act stringently and fast on Tisha Be’av. However, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l rules that as long as the woman is within thirty days of giving birth, she is exempt from fasting.

The same applies to a woman who, G-d-forbid, miscarries following at least forty days of pregnancy (meaning that she miscarried a fetus who was in the womb for forty days or more; these forty days are counted from the actual conception, not the way doctors count beginning from an additional two weeks later) in that she is exempt from fasting on Tisha Be’av as long as she is still within thirty days of the miscarriage.

Pregnant and Nursing Women
Although pregnant and nursing women are exempt from all other public fasts (besides for Yom Kippur), they are nevertheless obligated to fast on Tisha Be’av most years.

Nevertheless, on years during which Tisha Be’av falls out on Shabbat and the fast is postponed until Sunday, such as this year, 5779, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l rules (in his Responsa Yabia Omer, Volume 5, Chapter 40) that pregnant and nursing women are exempt from the fast of Tisha Be’av. He proceeds to support this with sources and proofs to his opinion. He writes that Hagaon Harav Yehuda Shako zt”l (one of the greatest luminaries of Jerusalem approximately sixty years ago) agreed with his ruling. Indeed, in his youth, Maran zt”l was a member of his Bet Din (rabbinical court) alongside Hagaon Harav Ezra Attia zt”l and he would discuss his halachic responsa with them in order to receive their approbation.

The modern-day Poskim disagree as to when pregnant and nursing women may begin to eat on Tisha Be’av. We have posed this question to Maran zt”l and he replied that it is preferable that such woman not completely remove themselves from the fast being observed by the rest of the Jewish nation and it is proper that they not eat until the afternoon of Sunday, the Tenth of Av, meaning past halachic midday (in Jerusalem at approximately 12:45 pm and in New York at approximately 1:00 pm). Obviously, this applies only when they do not feel any significant weakness, dehydration, and the like, for according to the letter of the law, they may eat anytime on Tisha Be’av this year, as we have explained.

Children
Children, meaning a boy who has not reached thirteen years of age and a girl who has not reached twelve years of age, are completely exempt from fasting on Tisha Be’av. The reason why children are exempt from participating in this fast is because children are exempt from all of the laws of mourning in any case. Indeed, if G-d-forbid a child loses a parent, he need not mourn at all, for the Mitzvah of educating children does not apply here (besides for the law of rending the child’s garment which does apply). Any boy who has not reached the age of thirteen or girl who has not reached the age of twelve is completely exempt from the fast and they need not even fast for several hours.

8 Halachot Most Popular

The Laws of Koshering Vessels for Pesach

One may not use Chametz vessels on Pesach since vessels which have been used to cook in or have had hot Chametz placed in them have Chametz flavor absorbed in them. Thus, just as we separate between meat and dairy utensils all year long, we must likewise separate between the utensils we use all year......

Read Halacha

Arriving Late to or Skipping Some Portions of the Megillah Reading

Every member of the Jewish nation is obligated to read the Megillah on the day of Purim. One must read it during the night and once again the next day, as the verse states, “My G-d, I call out to you during the day and you do not answer; during the night I have no rest.” This verse is wr......

Read Halacha

Some Detailed Laws Regarding Kitniyot (Legumes) on Pesach

In the previous Halacha we have briefly discussed the primary laws of Chametz and Kitniyot (legumes) on Pesach. We have explained that according to all communities, legumes such as rice and chick peas are not actual Chametz, for only grain products can be considered Chametz. However, Ashkenazim cust......

Read Halacha

Koshering Sinks and Kitchen Countertops

We have previously discussed that just as one should designate vessels for milk and meat respectively, likewise, regarding the holiday of Pesach, one should not use one’s regular Chametz vessels that were used all year round; rather, one should designate special kosher for Pesach vessels. N......

Read Halacha


Caution Regarding Chametz Issues

The Prohibition to Eat and Benefit From Chametz The Torah (Shemot 13) states regarding the holiday of Pesach: “Matzot shall be eaten for seven days; neither leaven nor sourdough shall be seen in your borders.” Our Sages taught in Masechet Pesachim (21b among other places) through exp......

Read Halacha

Koshering an Oven for Pesach

Question: Can a household oven be koshered for Pesach? Answer: Maran zt”l discusses this issue in several of his works (among them Yabia Omer, Volume 5, Yoreh De’ah, Chapter 7) and this issue is a halachically complex one for the flowing reasons: When foods are being baked or cooke......

Read Halacha

Chametz Which Becomes Inedible Before Pesach

The Prohibition to Eat and Benefit from Chametz on Pesach Just as one may not eat Chametz on Pesach, Hashem has likewise commanded us not to retain any Chametz in our possession on Pesach. It is similarly forbidden to benefit from Chametz on Pesach, as we have already explained. Actual Chametz W......

Read Halacha

Matanot La’Evyonim

In the previous Halacha we briefly discussed the Mitzvah of “Matanot La’Evyonim” on Purim day which is the distribution of two monetary gifts, one to each pauper. What Must One Give? In order to fulfill this Mitzvah, one need not give actual gifts; rather, it is permissible to ......

Read Halacha