I had learned that women are only required to fast on Yom Kippur and Tisha B'Av.* But sometimes, women are obligated in mitzvos that they wouldn't ordinarily be expected (such as the time-bound mitzvos of Purim) because of the mitzvah's historical connection with women. Is the Fast of Esther an example of such a thing? What is the extent of women's obligation to fast on this day?

*Edited to note: This really isn't correct.


2 Answers 2


According to this website, a woman is required to fast unless she doesn't feel well enough to do so

Many authorities, including the Kaf Ha’haim (based on the Bah), the Elya Rabba, the Kisur Shulhan Aruch, Hacham Bension Abba Shaul, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach and Rabbi Mazuz, ruled that the status of a woman during this period vis-à-vis Ta’anit Ester depends solely on her physical condition. If she says that she feels well and capable of fasting, then, according to the accepted position, she is required to observe the fast.

  • It seems that website is not going accd to the practice mentioned in the question that women don't fast except on 9Av/YK, so I don't see how this answers the question.
    – Double AA
    Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 14:42
  • The title asks about a woman's obligation to Fast on the Taanit, and the question asks "What is the extent of women's obligation to fast on this day?" Are these not answered? If the answer has to be from within the context of what the asker has learned, then the answer is self apparent -- the asker learned that women don't have to fast. If another question is being asked, the question should be edited to clarify the need for different information.
    – rosends
    Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 15:50
  • 1
    Way to take things out of context... The relevant question is "Is the Fast of Esther an example of such a thing?" even if the other parts, taken out of context, aren't as limited. I don't need to tell you that just answering the title is a poor way of answering what the OP meant to ask. The question isn't just what did she learn; it's "in the context of the opinions that women aren't [as] obligated in minor fasts, is Taanit Esther more obligatory because of the connection to women [a la Af Hen Hayu...]?" Telling us that some think women are obligated in all fasts isn't helpful in the slightest
    – Double AA
    Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 15:55
  • Which is why I also answered the final question "What is the extent of women's obligation to fast on this day?" If you can rewrite the question to explain what the "such a thing" is which would contravene the explicit learning the asker states, that would help frame a different answer.
    – rosends
    Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 15:59
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    I never claimed to have an answer nor do I at this point plan to post one. Hopefully someone will.
    – Double AA
    Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 16:35

Rabeinu, Without getting a little Meshuge, the answer really is in the fact that Esther fasted for 3 days before she went in to see the King. Remember this was no little undertaking. Whether she was married to Mordecai or had been a virgin or had been summoned or not by the King is immaterial because in this particular case, the King was the ruler of all Persia (127 countries more or less). There's no question that Esther put her life on the line and for this she exemplifies a woman of courage and today women (moreso) than men should fast on this fast day. For some it may be hard to digest, but in my personal opinion this is a woman's fast not a man's and women in this particular case must take Ester's example of Courage by fasting.

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