Rema in Shulchan Aruch, 470:2 says that a father should fast for his first born (or attend a siyum) on Erev Pesach, if the son is too young to fast, himself. He also states, that if the father, himself is a first born, then the mother should fast for the son.

Let's say the father died, or for some reason, the father cannot fast for health reasons. Is the mother obligated to fast or attend the siyum for her son?

  • Possible duplicate of Fasting for a child bechor before Passover One of the answers deals with a father who is a bechor and whether the mother should fast for the child. That should be the same situation as this question. Mar 28, 2016 at 15:02
  • How is the father being unable to fast for the child due to his already fasting for himself different from any of the other cases you mentino?
    – Double AA
    Mar 28, 2016 at 15:55
  • @DoubleAA What?? In the SA's case, he is already fasting. My situation posits that he is NOT fasting. Or there is no father at all.
    – DanF
    Mar 28, 2016 at 16:03
  • @DanF I know. Why should that difference matter? Either way the dad isn't fasting for the kid, so the mom does.
    – Double AA
    Mar 28, 2016 at 16:04
  • 1
    Did you try checking any commentators to the ShA there? Which? Did they say anything helpful? Including that info can help reduce redundant searching by others, wasting their time.
    – Double AA
    Mar 28, 2016 at 16:05

1 Answer 1


Shulchan Aruch Harav (470:5) writes:

אם אין לה בעל שיתענה בעד בנו אינה צריכה להתענות אם היא מעוברת או מניקה ויש לה צער מן התענית וכן יולדת כל שלשים יום אף שאין לה צער ומכל מקום אם התענית כבר פעם אחת בעד בנה והיה אז בדעתה לנהוג כן לעולם עד שיגדל בנה הרי תענית זה עליה כנדר וצריך להתירה על ידי שאלה וחרטה

If she doesn't have a husband to fast on behalf of her child, she does not need to fast if she is pregnant or nursing and she will have pain from fasting, and the same Din applies to a woman who gave within the last 30 days even if she suffers no pain.

Nevertheless, if she fasted once in the past on behalf of her son and she had in mind then to act accordingly forever until her son grows up, then this fast is to her like a neder (vow) and she must annul it through sheilah vachrota (the process of annulling one's vows).

(translation mine)

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