Religion & Beliefs

Major Hunger, Minor Fast

Tomorrow is the 17th day of Tammuz, which is considered a minor fast day. There are only two major fast days, Yom Kippur and Tisha B’Av, during which we’re forbidden from eating, drinking, having sex, wearing leather shoes, bathing, and … Read More

By / July 2, 2007

Tomorrow is the 17th day of Tammuz, which is considered a minor fast day. There are only two major fast days, Yom Kippur and Tisha B’Av, during which we’re forbidden from eating, drinking, having sex, wearing leather shoes, bathing, and wearing perfume. Major fasts last 25 hours, from sunset one evening through nightfall of the following day. In contrast, we have four minor fast days, during which we’re restricted from eating, drinking, having sex, and wearing perfume. Leather shoes and bathing are fine, and the fast only lasts from sunrise to sunset. Tomorrow, that means that in New York we’ll be fasting from 4:16 a.m. until 9:08 p.m. Not so minor, really. Seventeen hours without food and drink? I’m not particularly excited. For tips on how to have an easy fast, I turn to my Muslim friends, who are experts at fasting because of Ramadan. One of my friends directed me to the Islam101 website, which is a lot like the extremely helpful Jew FAQ. Islam101 has a page with a bunch of fasting pointers, mostly relating to what you should and shouldn’t eat in preparation for a fast. It’s all worth a read, but the gist is that whole grains and carbs like pasts and whole grain bread are good preparatory foods, and obviously drink plenty in the hours leading up to the fast so you don’t end up too dehydrated. For more information about why we fast on the 17th day of Tammuz, check out the OU’s website that details various halalchic and traditional reasons for the fast day. To find out when the fast starts and ends in your city, go to MyZmanim.com.