Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Does someone who was a first born, but was born from a C-section have to fast on Ta'anis Bechoros?

The only source I know which addresses this is the Kaf HaChaim on Shulchan Aruch (470:3), who says that it's a safek, and since it's only a chashash there is no need to be strict.

I was wondering if anyone knew of any other sources and/or if there is consensus.

share|improve this question
Interesting question. I would assume yes because the fact relates to the killing of the first-born in Egypt, not to the dedication of first-born to the temple. But the latter is connected to the former, so...hmm! – Monica Cellio Mar 24 '13 at 20:24
Chok Yaakov 470:2 – Michoel Mar 24 '13 at 21:47
Editing into your question why you think a cesarean baby might be an exception would improve the question vastly. – msh210 Mar 25 '13 at 6:23
When I asked my Rav this question (ages ago now), the reason I thought of the question is because I had previously learned that someone born by C-Section was patur from pidyon haben, and had recently read that someone born by C-Section also does not recieve the double portion of the inheritance due to the bechor. Since these mitzvot/rights didn't apply to me, I reasoned that maybe the halacha didn't see me as a bechor at all, for any reason. (My Rav answered by pointing me to the Kaf HaHayyim 470:3, whose ruling is described below.) – Chanoch Apr 1 '15 at 18:11

According to the always-reliable Wikipedia, this is a machlokes. R' Elyashiv recommends participating in a seudas mitzva, and thus, breaking the fast early, in order to avoid this problem.

There is some discussion among the poskim (halakhic authorities) regarding whether a firstborn born through caesarean section is required to observe this fast, given that he is not obligated in the Redemption of the Firstborn. The Chok Ya'akov (470:2) suggests that such a firstborn may be required to fast, while the Kaf HaChayyim (470:3) rules that he need not fast. To circumvent this question, as well as [the] dispute regarding a firstborn non-Jew who converts to Judaism, Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv ([Ha]Seder Ha'aruch, Vol. 3, p. 44) suggests that such firstborns participate in a seudat mitzvah

H/T to Michoel for pointing out a flaw in the Wiki article, and to Fred (probably) for correcting it.

share|improve this answer
I don't think it's accurate to say there is a machlokes between the Chok Yaakov and Kaf HaChaim. The Chok Yaakov questions whether such a firstborn should fast, and the Kaf ChaChaim quotes him and rules that he does not need to. (Link to Kaf HaChaim) – Michoel Mar 24 '13 at 22:43
@Michoel Ah, I found the link at the same time you posted it. Interesting, you seem to be right about the Chok Yaakov; if he's saying anything, it's that he shouldn't fast. Hm, I'd like to see the Seder Ha'aruch inside, to see his sources, but I can't find one online. – HodofHod Mar 24 '13 at 22:53
We have the set in the shul I daven in, so I can take a look a bit later. – Michoel Mar 24 '13 at 22:58
I haven't worked my way through this yet, but it looks promising: hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=28075&st=&pgnum=28 – HodofHod Mar 24 '13 at 23:20
Here's the relevant quote from Haseder Haaruch: בכור יוצא דופן אפשר שיש לו שם בכור לעניין תענית בערב פסח. חק יעקב תע, ב. מרן הגרי"ש אלישיב הורה בזה שישתתף בסעודת מצוה, כמבואר להלן סי' ה – Michoel Mar 25 '13 at 4:27

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.