Halacha » Who Must Fast On 9 Av

Who Must Fast On 9 Av


Tisha B’Av has been established as a Day of Mourning for generations due to 5 terrible tragedies which all occurred on this day:

  1. On this day, the decree was sealed upon the Jewish Nation sojourning through the desert that they would not merit entering Eretz Yisrael due to the sin of (negative reports of the) spies.
  2. The First Bet HaMikdash was destroyed.
  3. The Second Bet HaMikdash was destroyed (490 years after the destruction of the first).
  4. The great Jewish metropolis Beitar was destroyed, along with tens of thousands of its Jewish inhabitants.
  5. The wicked Turnusrufus plowed over the land where the heichal of the Bet HaMikdash stood.

It is noteworthy to mention that although this was the precedent for establishing the fast, this day has seen many terrible calamities befall the Jewish Nation throughout the generations:

The expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290, the expulsion of the Jews from France in 1306, and of course the expulsion of the Jews from Spain which has come to be known as the Spanish Inquisition to name a few.

Who Must Fast?

Tisha B’Av is a fast day for all. The fast starts from sundown when Shabbat ends (which is at 8:24 pm NY time) until Sunday night at 9:13. One who ate or drank by mistake must continue his fasting.

This notwithstanding, since the nature of this fast is a Rabbinic, some people may be exempt from fasting. Those who are exempt from fasting may eat regularly but should refrain from eating pleasurable meals but rather try to limit to very simple things like bread, water, and necessities.

  • Those who are sick aren’t required to fast, even if their sickness isn’t a life threatening one. Therefore, if one has fever, he should not fast. One who is diabetic or has high blood pressure should consult with his doctor whether he should fast.
  • One who underwent a surgery and has not yet fully recovered should not fast; if he is not sure about his condition, he should consult his doctor.
  • Not only is a sick person exempt from fasting, but one who has just recovered from an illness and hasn’t yet fully recovered, and by fasting there is a chance that the sickness might return is also exempt from the fast.
  • The elderly (80 years old and older) must not fast if they are weak, especially if ordered so by their doctor. Those who are much older shouldn’t fast even if they feel strong and fine, and even if his doctor permitted them to fast.
  • Pregnant women and nursing mothers who feel fine must fast. If at any point of the day they feel weak or light headed etc. they should eat and drink regularly. A pregnant woman who is high risk or has any medical condition shouldn’t fast.
  • A woman within 30 days after labor or miscarriage ר“ל , also is exempt from the fast. A woman who is 3 days after labor and feels fine, although it is better that she not fast, is nevertheless permitted to if she wishes to be strict and fast.
  • One who starts feeling ill during the fast or feels dehydrated, lightheaded, throws up etc. should eat and drink immediately. Not doing so would be a Torah violation and a sin. One who isn’t sure whether he should fast or break the fast, should consult with a certified and experienced Rabbinic authority. Our Bet Horaah welcomes all questions and is pleased to service the community before 9 B’av and during. We can be reached by calling or messaging our phone number at 3479184088, or message Rabbi Shay Tahan at 3476663467.
  • A person who is young and healthy and feels well, but from previous fasts knows that once he fasts, he starts feeling sick or having other bad reactions, should take measurements of 1 ounce of food and liquid every 9+ minutes as needed for his condition, thus enabling him to be able to go through the fast without having those bad side effects, and would still be considered fasting.
  • A person is allowed to continue taking his medication on Tisha B’Av regularly, and if he needs to drink a bit of water to help swallow the pills may do so.