On a public fast you only do the liturgical changes (like Avinu Malkeinu) if you have at least six actual fasters present. If you don't have that quorum at the beginning and therefore start doing a regular weekday service, and then more people come in, do you change over? What about if you had already begun the torah service with the regular daily reading (assuming the fast day was also a torah-reading day in its own right, like today was)?

Does it matter if there is uncertainty about the new arrivals, so you don't know if you definitely have quorum now?

(This happened at the shacharit I attended today, though not during the torah service.)

  • By Shacharis it is unusual not to have most of the Minyan fasting. Jan 5 '12 at 16:46
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    @GershonGold, I agree, but it's apparently not impossible. Jan 5 '12 at 16:51
  • Do we not read the fast day Torah portion, either? I thought that was independent. Am I wrong?
    – Seth J
    Jan 5 '12 at 17:27
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    @SethJ: there definitely have to be at least three members of the minyan fasting (some say at least six) to read the fast-day portion. There's actually a debate (cited in Nit'ei Gavriel, Bein Hametzarim 11:4) whether if you don't, you read the regular parshah, or nothing at all.
    – Alex
    Jan 5 '12 at 18:13

In terms of the Chazzan's reciting Aneinu during his repetition, the Mishna Berura (119 sk 18) discusses the case where the requisite quorum of individuals fasting is either established or lost between the start of the repetition and the recitation of Aneinu (as blessing 8 of 20). He rules that if the quorum was established during that time, the Chazzan may recite Aneinu in its proper place. If the quorum was lost during that time, he may no longer recite Aneinu in its proper place, but he may still recite it during Shema Koleinu (blessing 16 of 19) similar to the way individuals do at Mincha. He makes no mention here of the issues surrounding the Torah reading.


Nit'ei Gavriel (Bein Hametzarim 11:5) discusses a similar case (in connection with Minchah, but I'd assume the same applies to Shacharis). In short, he says that each of these things should be made up where possible: the chazzan can say Aneinu in his repetition of Shemoneh Esrei (even if there weren't the proper number of people fasting when they had said the silent one), and they should read Vayechal after Tachanun.

I'm not sure, though, about the case in the second part of your question, where they had already read the weekly Torah portion at Shacharis. Conceivably in that case indeed they wouldn't read Vayechal too, because there are supposed to be only three olim. One possibility might be to read Vayechal without any blessings, although I don't know a source that says so. (If they had only started reading the regular portion - say for example they only read the kohen's aliyah - then conceivably they could then take out a second sefer Torah and divide Vayechal into only the two remaining aliyos, although again I don't have a source for that.)

  • Thank you. So the two times through the Shemoneh Esrei are allowed to differ if conditions have changed; I didn't know that. For the torah reading, one thing I was wondering about was what you propose -- if you're not done, re-divide the aliyot to include the fast-day portion too. Jan 6 '12 at 13:53

I can not imagine that you would do a fast day service if the community is not fasting, and I can not imagine that you would do a normal week day service if the community is fasting, even though the rest of the nation is not.

Doing otherwise, to me, just shows a complete non-belief in what you are actually doing.

  • I'd LOVE to hear the rational for praying and asking for extra mercy on the community of fasters when the community is not fasting. AKA why the down vote?
    – avi
    Jan 6 '12 at 8:08
  • But what do you do if the fasters are late? Do you say "aha, the community is ready to fast now" and change what you're doing mid-stream, or, once on a path, do you complete it? Is the fast-day liturgy only valid/effective if you do all parts, for example, or is it meaningful to read the fast-day torah portion even if you didn't do anything up to that point because the community (at the time) wasn't fasting? Jan 6 '12 at 13:51
  • Wait for the fasters to begin...
    – avi
    Jan 7 '12 at 15:58

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