I hear occasionally about fast days in Israel when there's no rain. Some examples are in this answer. From one of the links there, R' Mosheh Lichtenstein is not in favor of fasting for rain in a situation where it's not life and death danger, as it was in the time of the Gemara.

Do communities around the world declare fast days for potentially life-threatening events? I'm thinking in particular of hurricanes, which threaten lives yearly in the Carribean and southeastern US. As far as I can tell, a strong enough hurricane is basically equivalent to עיר שהקיפה נהר, which is one of the dangers you can daven for on Shabbos. And, while a hurricane is probably less dangerous today than it was thousands of years ago, people can and do still die from them R"l, so R' Mosheh Lichtenstein's primary points don't seem to apply.

Do Jewish communities in Florida, Puerto Rico, and other threatened places declare fast days when there's a hurricane approaching? If not, why not? And the same question applies to other natural disasters that can be predicted a few days in advance.

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    Predicting these in advance is a pretty recent phenomenon. The more common classical discussions are about disease outbreaks, where fasting was medically counterindicated.
    – Double AA
    Aug 30, 2019 at 18:09
  • he.wikisource.org/wiki/…
    – Double AA
    Aug 30, 2019 at 18:17
  • @DoubleAA Do Rabbanim in FL and PR recommend saying that nusach when there's a hurricane coming? Actually I'm not convinced a hurricane falls into the category רוב גשמים to call it רוב טובה. Even when the AH"S talks about how bad רוב גשמים is in his country he's talking about ruined crops, not leveled houses.
    – Heshy
    Aug 30, 2019 at 18:31
  • @Heshy: see Aruch Hashulchan 576:18, where he does talk about destroyed houses, but says that still we don't necessarily fast for such events.
    – Meir
    Aug 30, 2019 at 21:50
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    @DoubleAA now we have a disease outbreak where fasting isn't counterindicated yet in places where it hasn't spread (evidence: how many Rabbanim are going to tell people not to fast on Monday? I'm sure some but not in most places). If there's such a thing as מכה מהלכת גדולה מזו I can't think of it.
    – Heshy
    Mar 5, 2020 at 17:44

1 Answer 1


I was at Rabbi Zweig’s Yeshiva in Miami Beach when Irma hit in 2017. There were no fast days declared at any of the local shuls or the Yeshiva, though there was certainly a lot of Tehillim being said in the few minutes we weren’t doing our hishtadlus in preparing for the storm. I’m no longer at that Yeshiva, but I’m still in touch with people who are; from what I understand it’s the same protocol this time around.

I don’t know what specific reasons they had in mind when not declaring a fast day, I just know they didn’t.

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