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.

  • 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.

  • 1
    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. – Hod - Monica's Army 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 – Hod - Monica's Army Mar 24 '13 at 23:20
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    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

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