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My daughter asked me what would happen if someone started the day not fasting -- intentionally! He wakes and says "this is dumb so I'm having breakfast." Then, due to some intervening act or realization, he became a bal tshuva during the morning. Would this person then start fasting in order to fast for the rest of the day or is the opportunity to fast gone once one intentionally does not fast?

Though I know that there are rules for someone who has accidentally eaten, I wonder how those rules apply when someone intentionally ate. Is the obligation still incumbent upon him once it has been intentionally violated (the way I assume Shabbos is -- if someone broke shabbos, he is still bound to observe it 5 minutes later) or is a fast something that requires the intent to observe it for the entire time and someone can't invoke an obligation and be yotzei that requirement later in the process? Is one getting credit for not eating, or simply discharging an obligation by not eating? Is every moment of not eating a positive point, or do the moments have no value if they are not part of the complete fulfillment of a "fast day"?

Does this hinge on whether the fast is a halachically ordained one (so the obligation exists for the entire time) or a personally accepted one which he then gives up on, and then desires to return to?

  • While i feel like i answered the last paragraph of your question, I'm not sure what you meant by end of the middle one. Are those individual questions, or are they leading up to the last paragraph? I'm taking about Is one getting credit for not eating, or simply discharging an obligation by not eating? Is every moment of not eating a positive point, or do the moments have no value if they are not part of the complete fulfillment of a "fast day" – aBochur Apr 26 '18 at 16:33
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O.C 568:1

נדר להתענות יום זה ושכח ואכל משלים תעניתו והוא הדין אם היה תענית חלום או שהיה תענית צבור או שהיה יום ידוע לו להתענות כיום שמת בו אביו או רבו

One who vowed to fast for a day, but forgot and ate, he nevertheless continues fasting. Same applies to fasting for a bad dream or on a public fast day, or it's a day he always fasts, like the day one of his parents or teacher passed away.

According to the Mishna Berura (561:8) one continues fasting even if they ate on purpose.

ושכח ואכל - ואפילו הזיד ואכל הרבה לא יאכל יותר:

[Refering to fasting] And he forgot and he ate - even if he did it on purpose and ate a lot. He should not eat more.

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