Some spiritual disciplines have a concept of a "water fast" (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_fasting), during which one consumes only water, tea w/o sugar, etc.

Clearly, consuming even water is prohibited on standard Jewish fast days. However, does Jewish law possess any concept of a water fast, such as for a penance, personal fast day, etc? I'm aware of the custom of refraining from food but not liquids before visiting the kever of a tzadik, so I'm curious if this applies elsewhere. Thanks!

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    Never heard of I'm aware of the custom of refraining from food but not liquids before visiting the kever of a tzadik - source? Dec 29, 2015 at 15:15
  • See m.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/36247/jewish/Overview.htm. Towards the end, it mentions the custom.
    – Ian Taylor
    Dec 29, 2015 at 15:18
  • observances related to visiting the [Lubavitcher] Rebbe's resting place is hardly mainstream visiting the kever of a tzadik - do you have another source? Dec 30, 2015 at 8:59
  • Check out halacha2go.com/forum/daily-halacha/…. Sources aren't cited super well, but it does discuss the concept. In any case, it's not really the point of my question, which was more about the concept of partial fasting overall.
    – Ian Taylor
    Dec 30, 2015 at 14:31
  • Thank you @Ian. Quoting Chabad sources to back Chabad sources is hardly helpful, :-) but they source it to the Zohar. Fascinating actually; based on a Zohar and then tweaked. I've pasted the relevant parts for those who can't be bothered to follow your link: (in the next comment, as it's too long). Dec 30, 2015 at 15:21

1 Answer 1


Another example will be that it is forbidden to eat before feeding your animals, but drinking is permitted (see second paragraph and footnotes of shulchan aruch harav 167.9) (similar regarding before shachris)

Regarding "penance, personal fast day", in my understanding of the kabolistik customs regarding these things, anything that is a hit on your body will work (as least for something)

  • Check out Parshas Chayei Sarah in which Eliezer and his men drank before Rivkah drew water for the animals, but he fed his animals before going to the meal set by Besuel and Lavan. Aug 24, 2015 at 1:36
  • @sabbahillel hazoriz That is an unrelated Halacha. One is forbidden to eat before feeding his animals is not a "fast" and is not any form of penance or spirituality, other than as a holy mitzvah d'oraysa.
    – LN6595
    Dec 29, 2015 at 17:11

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