A few minor fasts last only from sunrise to sunset
It is permissible to wake early in the morning and eat before the fast starts
There are five minor fasts on the Jewish
calendar. With one exception, these fasts were instituted by the Sages to
commemorate some national tragedy. The minor
fasts (that is, all fasts except Yom Kippur
and Tisha b'Av) last from dawn (first light) to
nightfall (full dark), and one is permitted to eat breakfast if one arises
before dawn for the purpose of doing so (but you must finish eating before
first light). There is a great deal of leniency in the minor fasts for people
who have medical conditions or other difficulties fasting. The date of the fast
is moved to Sunday if the specified date falls on
Three of these five fasts commemorate events leading to the downfall of the
first commonwealth and the destruction of the first
Temple, which is commemorated by the major fast
of Tisha B'Av.
Following is a list of minor fasts required by Jewish law, their dates, and the
events they commemorate:
The Fast of Gedaliah, Tishri 3, commemorates the
killing of the Jewish governor of Judah, a critical event in the downfall of
the first commonwealth.
The Fast of Tevet, Tevet 10, is the beginning of
the siege of Jerusalem. It has also been proclaimed a memorial day for the six
million Jews who died in the Holocaust.
The Fast of Esther, Adar 13, commemorates the three
days that Esther fasted before approaching King Ahasuerus on behalf of the
Jewish people. The fast is connected with
Purim. If Adar 13 falls on a Friday or Saturday,
it is moved to the preceding Thursday, because it cannot be moved forward a day
(it would fall on Purim).
The Fast of the Firstborn, Nissan 14, is a fast
observed only by firstborn males, commemorating the fact that they were saved
from the plague of the firstborn in Egypt. It
is observed on the day preceding Passover.
The Fast of Tammuz, Tammuz 17, is the date when
the walls of Jerusalem were breached, another major event leading up to the
destruction of the First Temple.
© Copyright 5756-5771 (1995-2011), Tracey R Rich
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