Who Should Not Fast on Tisha Beav
Many people are curious to know who should not fast on the fast day of Tisha Beav.
According to Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef, who should live long and be healthy, any woman who has given birth within the last thirty days should not fast during this summer fast. Any other pregnant or nursing woman should not fast if this will cause them to be ill even if the fast is not endangering. Additionally, anyone who will be really ill although his life is not endangered is permitted to eat. (Yechaveh Daat 42)
However, it is not as clear who falls into this category. The wisest way t o decide whether or not to fast is to ask your local Rabbi.
One need not fast if he is so weak that he needs to lay down and can not function. That would be considered an ill person whose life is not in danger.
According to the Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim 554 – 6 if one is ill he should immediately eat and need not wait for an exact prognosis about the true situation. Those who do need to eat should only eat enough to keep them going.
Shaarey Teshuvah on the above quote cites those who say that a nursing mother who will be in terrible pain because she can not produce milk may eat. Additionally, a mother may eat if a doctor says that her milk will change causing the child to be ill.
Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef cites the introduction to Tzedakah Umishpat written by Rabbi Tzedakah Chusein in the 18th century. He was born in Syria and served as Chief Rabbi of Baghdad. He ruled that due to the intense heat of Baghdad summers pregnant or nursing woman should not fast on Tisha Beav. Fasting under such circumstances can be life endangering.
During the years that Tisha Beav falls on Shabat and is pushed off until Sunday one need not fast if they are a little ill. However, as discussed above it is best to consult with a rabbi.