web analytics
May 23, 2015 / 5 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Fasting, Halacha And Common Sense (Yuma 73b)

Sitting next to my father, the rabbi, on the synagogue dais on Yom Kippur morning, I wondered how long I could last before breaking my fast. The lunch bag my mother gave me seemed to call out to me from the rabbi’s office where I had left it. By 10 a.m. I could stand it no longer. It was already three hours after my breakfast time. I felt the envious eyes of some worshippers follow me as I crept away toward the office. Years later I would come home from shul to visit my father, now ailing in bed on Yom Kippur. I would comfort him as he begrudgingly followed doctor’s orders, eating just one small morsel of bread at a time, waiting ten minutes before eating another. And I would tell him what he told me years back: “It’s OK, it’s a mitzvah for you to eat.”

Regarding Yom Kippur the Torah states “ta’anu et nafshoteichem” – you shall afflict your souls. According to the interpretation of the Talmud, the words mean that on Yom Kippur one may not eat, drink, bathe one’s body, wear leather shoes or engage in marital relations. The punishment for disregarding the prohibition against eating or drinking on Yom Kippur is karet, premature death at the hand of God. Disregarding the other prohibitions mentioned above is not punishable by karet but is nevertheless prohibited.

Two conditions must exist, however, for the punishment of karet to apply to eating and drinking on Yom Kippur. First, one must have eaten an amount of food equivalent to kotevet hagasah (the size of a large date) or imbibed an amount of liquid equal to melo lugma (a cheek full of fluid) – between 32-40 grams. Second, these quantities must have been consumed within a period of time equivalent to kedei achilat peras, the time it takes a person to eat half a loaf of bread. According to most opinions, this is equivalent to between 8 and 10 minutes. In the case of Yom Kippur, the Torah uses the term inui, affliction, and according to the Talmud a person begins to feel the first signs of relief from hunger or thirst only after eating or drinking the above quantities. These quantities differ from the olive (or revi’it) size (equivalent to the volume of 1.25 eggs) that applies to non-kosher food or drink or to chametz on Pesach.

A sick person who is told by a doctor (or feels on his own) that refraining from eating and drinking on Yom Kippur will or may aggravate the sickness to the point of danger, is required by halacha to eat and drink on Yom Kippur. The halacha sees no merit in jeopardizing one’s health in order to fast on Yom Kippur. Quite to the contrary, the halacha roundly condemns such irresponsible behavior. “There is nothing virtuous about a sick person endangering himself by fasting on Yom Kippur. The Torah will hold such a person responsible for the harm he causes himself,” warns the Ramban. The rule of thumb here is to follow the doctor’s instructions. In this case, the doctor is the rabbi.

If the doctor or the patient is uncertain as to the effects of fasting on the health of the patient, one may take the following course of action. Preferably before Yom Kippur, (but this may also be done on Yom Kippur if one forgot) one should measure out quantities of food each equal to the volume of a large date. This can best be done by inserting the food into a measuring cup up to the 30-gram line. The patient should eat this quantity of food on Yom Kippur and then wait about ten minutes before eating the next portion in the same quantity and so on.

About the Author: Raphael Grunfeld’s book, “Ner Eyal on Seder Moed” (distributed by Mesorah) is available at OU.org and your local Jewish bookstore. His new book, “Ner Eyal on Seder Nashim & Nezikin,” will be available shortly.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Fasting, Halacha And Common Sense (Yuma 73b)”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Tzipi Hotovely, new Deputy Foreign Minister.
Foreign Minister Hotovely: Tell the World ‘God Gave Israel to the Jews’
Latest Judaism Stories
Leff-052215

There is a great debate as to whether this story actually took place or is simply a metaphor, a prophetic vision shown to Hoshea by Hashem.

Staum-052215

Every person is presented with moments when he/she must make difficult decisions about how to proceed.

Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

One does not necessarily share the opinions of one’s brother. One may disapprove of his actions, values, and/or beliefs. However, with brothers there is a bond of love and caring that transcends all differences.

Torah

This Shavuot let’s give G-d a gift too: Let’s make this year different by doing just 1 more mitzvah

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if […]

God and the divine origin of His Torah are facts even though we do not fully comprehend them.

So if we basically live the same life, why should he get eternal reward and not me?”

The question is: What about pidyon haben? Can one give the five sela’im required for pidyon haben to a kohen’s daughter?

In Parshas Pinchas the Torah introduces the Mussaf for Shavuos by describing it as Yom HaBikurim when we bring the new offering.

Rachel was thrown by the sight and began to caringly think whom this person might be.

The desert, with its unearthly silence & emptiness, is the condition in which the Word can be heard

The census focused on the individual, proving each is created as irreplaceable, unique images of God

Jewish survival in a dysfunctional world requires women assuming the role Hashem gave them at Sinai

The Honor Of Reading The Kesubah
‘Witnesses Sign Only After Reading…’
(Kesubos 109a)

Why does the Torah use two different words for “to count,” and what does each indicate?

From Bemidbar on and in Nevi’im, the nation is viewed primarily by its component parts, the tribes

More Articles from Raphael Grunfeld
Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

God and the divine origin of His Torah are facts even though we do not fully comprehend them.

Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

In order to be free of the negative consequences of violating a shvu’ah or a neder, the shvu’ah or neder themselves must be annulled.

The omer sacrifice of loose barley flour was more fitting for animal consumption than human consumption and symbolizes the depths to which the Jewish slaves had sunk.

In most communities the rabbi will perform the eruv ceremony on Erev Yom Tov for all community members.

Are you kidding? You know the non‑Jew is not going to consume your chametz. He is not really paying you for it; neither is he taking possession of it.

First, the punishment for eating chametz on Pesach is karet, premature death at the Hand of God.

This process, which is the most powerful form of kashering, is known as libun.

Hapeh is based on the fact that the person who qualifies the statement is the sole source of the unqualified statement and the court has therefore no choice but to believe her.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/fasting-halacha-and-common-sense-yuma-73b/2014/01/09/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: