We know that the danger of fasting two consecutive days is the reason Yom Kippur (and all other fasts) is not celebrated two days outside Israel.

And still Ester commanded on the 3-day fast (Ester 4,16):

לֵךְ כְּנוֹס אֶת־כָּל־הַיְּהוּדִים הַנִּמְצְאִים בְּשׁוּשָׁן
וְצוּמוּ עָלַי וְאַל־תֹּאכְלוּ וְאַל־תִּשְׁתּוּ שְׁלֹשֶׁת יָמִים לַיְלָה וָיוֹם

"Go, assemble all the Jews who live in Shushan, and fast in my behalf; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day."

(thanks to Dr. Shmuel) Although some Poskim do not accept it literally claiming it could not be possible, most do, according to "מיהו בגמ' יבמות קכ"א ע"ב משמע שהיו רצופים וכן פירש"י במגילה דף ט"ו ע"א יעו"ש".

How Halachicly possible was instituting the 3-day fast for the whole people incl. kids and elders?

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    Although I have no textual source currently to support this, only practical experience, I’ll offer something to consider. There are different types of fasting. Many emphasize the relationship between burning body fat with the burning of the fat of the Korban on the altar. This is a fast involving food. The type of fast which is life threatening beyond 48-72 hours includes elimination of water. But if water is permitted, the danger to life is eliminated in almost all cases. If water only is allowed one can fast literally for months. This is because the body switches to ketosis (fat-burning). Mar 21, 2019 at 11:12
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    In a state of extended ketosis, there is also a distinct change in perception, a clarity of mind and an increase in energy. This altered perception is what opens up the new spiritual service. A fast which also excludes water is like the 25 hour fast of Yom Kippur. Purim sameach! Mar 21, 2019 at 11:17
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    Perhaps she enjoined upon the Jews a Monday-Thursday-Monday set of fasts, like those done in a time of drought in Eretz Yisrael? That would be eminently traditional (as a 72 hour fast is not) and there would be no danger to life. Mar 21, 2019 at 20:45
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    Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/65467/170
    – msh210
    Mar 22, 2019 at 2:29
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    @Dude לילה ויום the fast was at night too
    – Double AA
    Mar 22, 2019 at 20:09

1 Answer 1


Kaf HaChaim (תרפו:ל) mentions medrash which says that they would stop for a day.

ל) שם. זכר לתענית אסתר. ואעפ"י שאותן היו בניסן לא רצו להתענות בניסן לפי שבו נגאלו אבותינו ממצרים והוקם בו המשכן. טור. לבוש. במדרש וצומו עלי ג' ימים וכי אפשר לאדם לעשות כן אלא שהיו מפסיקין מבעוד יום. ופי' הריב"ש סי' תי"ו שלא היו ג' צומות רצופים אלא בלתי רצופים כגון בה"ב אלא שבכל אחד יפסיק מבע"י כמו ביוה"כ ולזה אמר לילה ויום. א"ר או' ח' מיהו בגמ' יבמות קכ"א ע"ב משמע שהיו רצופים וכן פירש"י במגילה דף ט"ו ע"א יעו"ש:

  • מיהו בגמ' יבמות קכ"א ע"ב משמע שהיו רצופים וכן פירש"י במגילה דף ט"ו ע"א יעו"ש You might want to start mentioning that that's a Machlokes and some interpret it differently from the Pshat.
    – Al Berko
    Mar 20, 2019 at 23:26
  • אזי מה שאלתך ותנתן לך
    – Dr. Shmuel
    Mar 20, 2019 at 23:27
  • Isn't it begging the question - because it's impossible - it's impossible and should be interpreted differently?
    – Al Berko
    Mar 20, 2019 at 23:30
  • Sorry- I actually didn’t read the end of that.
    – Dr. Shmuel
    Mar 20, 2019 at 23:30
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    Is that what he’s saying? I’m reading it as they would break their fast while it was still day.
    – LN6595
    Mar 22, 2019 at 3:07

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