Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Halocho #75 – When did Esther fast?

2,363 years ago, two days before Pessach, Haman decreed that all the Jews would be destroyed on 13th Adar, eleven months later. After consulting with her cousin Mordechai, Queen Esther declared a 3 days fast that lasted through the first days of Pessach, after which she went – uninvited – to the king and invited him and Haman to a wine feast. At the wine feast she invited them to a second wine feast where which she gained royal permission for the Jews to defend themselves. Jews always fast and pray when going out to war, and so they did on Adar 13, 3406 (354 BCE). On Adar 14 they celebrated their victory. In commemoration, we fast on Adar 13 (tomorrow – Thursday) and celebrate Purim on the morrow. Ta’anis Esther is the only of the 6 fast days not mentioned in Tanach. The fast ends when the stars become visible (a few minutes before Motzai Shabbes time), and if needed, one may eat and drink before Megila reading. However one should not eat a meal until after hearing the Megila. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 141:1,8, Esther 2:7, 3:12-9:30

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