I was just wondering about the halachos of waking up to eat before a fast day. If one had intention, is it best to wake up, wash negal vasser, get dressed, go to bathroom say Al Netilas Yadaim, Asher Yatzar and Elokai Neshama and then eat? Or should one eat before reciting these?

  • According to rambam, if you went to sleep you can't eat again even if you woke up before the fast started. Commented Dec 24, 2013 at 23:24
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    @MoriDoweedhYaa3gob Where does he say that if you intended to wake up before the fast it still counts as if the fast started?
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 24, 2013 at 23:32
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    @DoubleAA ח תַּעְנִיּוֹת אֵלּוּ שֶׁמִּתְעַנִּין עַל הַצָּרוֹת--אֵין מִתְעַנִּין בָּהֶן לֹא עֻבְרוֹת, וְלֹא מְנִיקוֹת, וְלֹא קְטַנִּים; וּמֻתָּרִין לֶאֱכֹל בַּלַּיְלָה, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁמִּתְעַנִּין לְמָחָר--חוּץ מִתַּעְנִית הַמָּטָר, כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאַר. וְכָל תַּעְנִית שֶׁאוֹכְלִין בָּהּ בַּלַּיְלָה, בֵּין צִבּוּר בֵּין יָחִיד--הֲרֵי זֶה אוֹכֵל וְשׁוֹתֶה, עַד שֶׁיַּעֲלֶה עַמּוּד הַשַּׁחַר: וְהוּא, שֶׁלֹּא יָשַׁן; אֲבָל אִם יָשַׁן, אֵינוּ חוֹזֵר וְאוֹכֵל. Commented Dec 25, 2013 at 9:48
  • What does this have to do with a fast?
    – WAF
    Commented Dec 25, 2013 at 11:58
  • See @DoubleAA's comments for more duplicates of this question and some answers to it: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/20710/3
    – WAF
    Commented Dec 25, 2013 at 14:08

2 Answers 2


One who wakes up in the middle of the night (after sleeping at least 30 minutes) and intends to go back to sleep but wants to drink or eat (and had the intention to do so before going to sleep in the next morning is a fast day) should, at a minimum, wash his hands (three times on each hand if you want to satisfy all opinions) (sources here and here). If he didn't wash his hands and wants to drink water, many poskim allow to think the brachot but not say them loud (sources here).

If one doesn't intend to go back to sleep, he should wash his hands, say birkot haTorah (if he will think thoughts of Torah and follows those poskim who think one needs birkot HaTorah before thoughts of Torah, see second para here) and eat.

He can say birkot haShachar later according to his custom

  • the earliest time to say birkot haShachar is from chatzot (midnight) except for HaNoten Lesechvi Binah which should not be said until Alot HaSchachar (here, point 3)
  • some say the blessings when waking up (see e.g., here), others wait to be dressed or be in synagogue (R Eliezer Melamed calls it "the widespread custom" - see last paragraph here)

When one wakes up before Alos Hashachar he may say the morning brachos, but is not obligated to. The obligation begins only in the morning. Since any problem of eating before davening only begins at (1/2 hour before) alos hashachar, therefore if one awakens before that time, he may choose to either say the brachos first, or He may eat without saying the brachos first.


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