Thursday, 18 July 2013

Non-Fasting on Fast Days

Here is a real-life scenario that sometimes comes up:

Patient and Doctor [physician]

Patient: Doctor, With my condition X, may I fast on Fast Days?

Doctor: Yes, you need not eat - provided that you drink water. You cannot afford to get dehydrated...

Patient: Thank you, but as you may not know, the Halachah requires * refraining from water, too.

Now the Patient and his Rabbi

Patient: the Doctor says I need not eat on Fast Days, but that I must drink water.

Rabbi: Do what you can. Refrain from eating, and drink only as much water as needed so as to avoid damaging your health.

* Assuming a healthy person. People with illness may be exempt from fasting on several of these fasts...



When the patient drinks water as above, is this water:

A. Food? And therefore the Patient is deemed as NOT fasting ...


B. Medicine? The patient is indeed fasting as much as he physically can, and so is deemed a "faster".

The nafqa mina could be with regards to receiving an aliyah.
Generally, we avoid giving an aliyah to a "non-faster."


I favor B. To my point of view, in this case - water is his form of medication. And so he does observe the fast by eliminating all food and any excess liquid.

Best Regards,

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