Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Halocho #1049 - When is Ta'anit Esther - and when did Queen Esther fast?

When Purim is on Sunday - like this year - then the fast of Esther is on the Thursday before. (That's tomorrow!)

If one forgets to fast on Thursday, one fasts the next day - on Friday.

Ta'anit Esther is not as stringent as other fast days, and expecting and nursing mother do not fast, nor does anybody who is unwell. When in doubt, consult with a Rabbi.

The custom is to give 3 coins to charity after Mincha on Ta'anit Esther. Each coin should be half the local currency - half dollar, half shekel, etc.

When did Esther fast?

Over 2,300 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-day long 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.

Ta’anit Esther is the only one of the 6 fast days not mentioned in Tanach.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 141:1, 5, 8. Esther 2:7, 3:12-9:30

- Danny
Wednesday, 10 Adar 5773

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