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I heard that in the case of tefillin falling on the floor, this is a serious thing and one must give $25 in tzedaka. I did a little research and found that halacha offers an alternative option of fasting.

If the Tefillin fell on the floor two days before a fast day - for example, the 17th of Tammuz - but it is too late to accept a fast for Mincha prior to the 16th of Tammuz, there are three possible methods of doing this. Which are acceptable?

  • Fasting tomorrow [16 Tammuz] dawn till dusk, eating, and repeating for the 17th of Tammuz
  • Designating a day several days after the 17 of Tammuz to fast
  • Fasting once on the 17th of Tammuz (this is especially relevant in a case where there was no time to accept a fast for Mincha of the 15th of Tammuz, and thus the 17th may be considered the first available opportunity to fast).
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    Consider rewording your first paragraph. The "preferred" method is to fast; one who finds it difficult/is unable to do so may give to tzedaka the amount that his meals for one day would cost him. – Ploni May 19 '17 at 20:09
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    In addition to Ploni’s point... Where does specifically $25 come from? – DonielF Apr 26 '18 at 20:02
  • I’m pretty sure that a person who fasts a Taanis Chalom on Shabbos fasts on Sunday, but one who finds it difficult to fast two days in a row can fast on Monday instead. – DonielF Apr 26 '18 at 20:04
  • Here's another curveball. You find some tefillin outside of the eruv on shabbos. To save them from the elements, you don them to bring them inside. You then drop them on shabbos. – Clint Eastwood Nov 13 '18 at 14:21
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Actually, the Chayei Adam (14:25) says that one fasts on the day it falls - in other words, since you are not supposed to eat before davening, you are supposed to skip breakfast and lunch and only eat after sunset.

ונוהגין כשנפלו תפילין לארץ בלא נרתיקן להתענות בו ביום

This also means you don't have to accept the fast the day before, obviously.

The Aruch Hasulchan (44:3) also mentions fasting but doesn't mention when to fast; making it sound either like the Chayei Adam or that one could choose any day one wants.

He also mentions giving charity instead of fasting, which usually means (at least) the value of the food you eat during one day.

לפי זה גם מה שנהגו העולם כשעל ידי סיבה נופלים התפילין על הארץ, דמתענים או נותנים מה לצדקה, כשנפלו בנרתיקן – אינם צריכים כלום‏

I don't see anybody insisting you fast the next day, like you assume in your question.

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