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Yesterday, a request was publicized in the name of R' Chaim Kanievsky to accept a fast in the afternoon to fast today for the medical recovery of R' Y.S. Elyashiv, unless it interferes with one's learning. I have multiple questions:

  1. How does fasting alone merit a recovery?
  2. Is this act dependent on one accepting the fast the previously, or if one finds out in the morning, should he continue to fast?
  3. If one starts the day not fasting (e.g., I had a coffee this morning to help my learning b/f davening), does it help to continue fasting afterwards?
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My first question is... Did R. Chaim Kanievsky really say that? The stories that are going around these days are getting insane. Apparently now, people are also offering "years of their lives" –  avi Feb 16 '12 at 14:53
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@avi, yeah, that's why I carefully worded "in the name of". This one seems a little more authentic as it is showing up in chareidi papers and (we hope) it would have been authenticated. –  YDK Feb 16 '12 at 15:31
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@avi: years from lives are nothing new. In fact, the concept goes back all the way to Adam Harishon (who gave away 70 years to David)! In more contemporary times, I've heard of such a thing being done in besieged Jerusalem of 1948, on the advice of the then Zvhiler Rebbe. –  Alex Feb 16 '12 at 15:32
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@avi: fair enough. However, the story that I referred to above is one where this method was actually used (under the direction of a tzaddik) and worked - the person lived for another half-century. (Though, granted, I can't vouch for the reliability of the story; I heard it on a children's story CD.) –  Alex Feb 16 '12 at 15:56
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@avi: nor would I - a doctor is supposed to use natural means (ורפא ירפא). I'm just saying that it shouldn't be dismissed as some newfangled "insane" idea, any more than, say, davening on behalf of the person (which, after all, isn't a "natural" approach either). –  Alex Feb 16 '12 at 16:24
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