According to this answer pregnant and nursing women generally fast only on Tish'ah B'Av and Yom Kippur, but not the other "minor" fasts. (This is certainly the case where fasting would cause them pain.)

In a year where the ninth of Av falls on shabbat, the fast is postponed (nidcheh) until the next day. Are there any leniencies regarding the expectation that a pregnant or nursing woman fast in that case?

The reason I am asking is that anecdotally, I have heard reports (second- or third-hand) of various Rabbis (often in Israel) ruling more leniently specifically in this case, and am seeking sources that either confirm or rule against this practice. Anecdotally, I have heard of pregnant women being told not to fast at all, to fast until midday (chatzot) or to begin the fast but break it upon feeling even mild discomfort, when Tish'ah B'Av is postponed.

Please bring sources (if they exist) that explicitly rule leniently where Tish'ah B'Av is postponed, or explicitly rule against such a position.


3 Answers 3


The Tosefta (Taanit 2:12) cited in part in the Bavli (Pesachim 54b) says that pregnant and nursing women must fast on Tisha Bav (in contrast to other minor fast days). No distinction is made for a postponed fast. Such a ruling is uniformly accepted and documented in all the classical codes, including the Mishneh Torah (Taaniyot 5:10) and the Shulchan Arukh (OC 554:5).

In general the laws of the postponed fast are exactly the same as any ordinary Tisha Bav. There are two Talmudic source which could indicate any degree of leniency for a postponed fast. The first (Megillah 5b) indicates that Rebbe for some reason wanted to entirely skip Tisha Bav on years when it was pushed off, but that the Sages did not accept that position. The second (Eruvin 41a) tells of a certain family who had an annual Temple-related celebration on 10 Av who wouldn't complete the fast when it was pushed off to 10 Av. The Mordechai (Moed 630) quotes an opinion that the same should apply to the parties of a circumcision (father/Mohel/Sandek) occurring on a postponed fast on 10 Av since that day is a personal holiday for them. The Shulchan Arukh (OC 559:9) rules accordingly that the parties of a circumcision can break their fast after Mincha on 10 Av.

In the last few hundred years some rabbis have found room for leniency for pregnant women based on this.

Rav Ovadiah Yosef is the first person I'm aware of in history to argue that pregnant women are entirely exempt from fasting on a postponed Tisha Bav. He argued that since on an ordinary minor fast day pregnant women are exempt but parties of a circumcision are obligated, in this case where parties of a circumcision are exempt all the more so must pregnant women be exempt. (See Yabia Omer OC 5:40)

There are many problems with his argument. First, many Rishonim (including the Rambam and Rif) do not cite the Talmud in Eruvin about personal holidays overriding a postponed Tisha Bav, and indeed many Acharonim dispute that the Halakha follows the view brought in the Shulchan Arukh (see Magen Avraham and Shaarei Keneset Hagedola about the custom in Turkey, Pe'ulath Tsaddiq 3:147 about Yemen, Arukh haShulchan about Eastern Europe, that "we have neither seen nor heard anyone act on this [and break their fast for a circumcision]... such is the custom and one should not change it").

Second, even those who are lenient for a circumcision generally limit it to after Mincha when one has already mostly fasted (cf. Shaarei Teshuva OC 559 sk 7). Only the Chemed Moshe (562:1) allowed having the circumcision earlier in the day and breaking the fast then. (Regarding a circumcision the Magen Avraham quotes two opinions whether it can happen at 6.5 hours or 9.5 hours into the day, and recommends being strict, though many are lenient.) Accordingly, pregnant women should only be allowed to eat later in the day. (R. Yosef relies on the minority opinion of the Chemed Moshe that the circumcision can even take place in the morning, and seemingly further extends it by arguing that circumcisions must take place during the daytime, but the pregnant women is already pregnant at night.)

Finally, the argument is predicated on a suspicious Kal Vahomer: a postponed Tisha Bav is more lenient than an ordinary fast because of laws of circumcision, so it must be as lenient as an ordinary fast regarding pregnant women. This is not obvious for two reasons. First, even a postponed Tisha Bav is significantly more strict than an ordinary fast since it still starts at night, has the 4 other afflictions, prohibition on Torah study, etc. How can you say it must be as lenient regarding pregnant women? Second, many Acharonim (Maharash Halevi OC 2, Beit Meir 559, Avnei Nezer 1:427,429, Eshel Avraham (Buchach) 550:1) actually make the exact opposite Kal Vahomer: on a postponed Tisha Bav women are obligated to fast while they are exempt on ordinary fasts, so parties of a circumcision who are exempt on a postponed Tisha Bav must also be exempt from ordinary fasts.

It's true that R. Yosef provides a couple Rishonim who hold that parties of a circumcision are obligated to fast on ordinary fasts, rejecting that conclusion, but we see that all those Acharonim took it as obvious that pregnant women are obligated to fast on a postponed Tisha Bav. Perhaps those Rishonim just didn't hold like the Mordechai that a circumcision overrides a postponed fast so we can't use them to compare to our case? Perhaps what we should be learning from those Rishonim is that Kal Vahomer shouldn't be used here, especially since the reasons for exempting pregnant women and parties to a circumcision don't seem to be the same (health and/or fundamental optional nature of the fast vs. personal holiday pushing off mourning).

(Looking for a moment at the idea that the permission for pregnant women to not fast on the three minor fasts is because those fasts are fundamentally optional and the community never accepted that pregnant women should need to fast, Divrei Malkiel (3:26) in a responsum during the sixth cholera epidemic ruled that a city at high risk of cholera did not need to fast on Tisha Bav because of the great danger. He bolsters his position by noting that a postponed Tisha Bav may be considered more lenient since he argues the Second Temple was burned entirely on 9 Av (unlike the First Temple which mostly burned on 10 Av) and therefore a postponed Tisha Bav reverts to fundamentally optional since it is no longer the date of multiple tragedies (cf. RH 18b). He also notes some Rishonim to the Talmud in Megillah interpret Rebbe's wanting to skip a postponed Tisha Bav as following a view that Tisha Bav is also part of the "fundamentally optional" fasts. According to this pregnant women could be exempt like on ordinary fasts, but 1) it's not clear he ever relied on this without the overarching concern for cholera, 2) there's no reason to think the will of the community was ever to exempt pregnant women from a postponed fast, and 3) it's not clear we rule like those Rishonim in Megillah, or that the Sages, who we follow, agreed with Rebbe about this point.)

R. Yosef indeed in a later responsum (Yechavveh Daat 3:40) backed off a bit and recommended pregnant women try to fast until the afternoon.

A somewhat similar argument was presented earlier in R. Yaakov Reischer's Shevut Yaakov (3:37), writing about Tisha Bav 1721. This source was quoted by R. Akiva Eiger and then in the Beiur Halakha (not the Mishna Berura, perhaps because he thought it more of an oddity / סניף להקל than mainstream Halakha) so it has received some recent prominence, but it's worth seeing the case inside.

אחד היה לו חולי שאין בו סכנה כ"כ וקיבל עליו התענית והתענה עד אחר חצות לזמן מנחה גדולה ונחלש עד שצוה הרופא שלא יתענה יותר והורה להם המורה שיתפלל מנחה גדולה ואח"כ יאכל ולפי שהתפלל תפלת מנחה ביחידות שכח מלהניח תפילין כדינו ושאל השואל מה תקנתו.
תשובה: הנה בוודאי מה שהורה המורה שיתפלל מנחה גדולה יפה עשה כיון שנדחה ט"ב על יום א' א"צ להשלים אפילו בחולי קצת וכן נהגתי להורות ביולדות תוך ל או במעוברות ומיחוש קצת דהא אפילו משום כבוד המילה הקילו בהנ"ל כמבואר באו"ח סימן תקנ"ט סעיף ט' כל שכן בחשש חולי...
Someone who was sick without too much danger and accepted to fast and fasted until after noon at the time for Mincha, and he became weak until the doctor ordered him not to fast further, and the rabbi ruled that he should pray Mincha first and then eat, and since he prayed Mincha alone he forgot to don his Tefillin and he asked how to fix the situation.
Answer: Certainly that which the rabbi ruled to pray Mincha first was correct, for since Tisha Bav was postponed to Sunday, he does not need to complete the fast even for a smaller illness, and so I have been accustomed to rule to women within 30 days of giving birth or pregnant women who feel unwell, for even for a circumcision are we lenient, all the more so with a risk of illness....

We see the level of sickness that he used to permit breaking the fast was such that the man, after being ordered by a doctor to stop fasting, hurried to pray Mincha even without his Tefillin, and that insisting on waiting till after actually praying Mincha was essential. This isn't quite a blanket ruling that all pregnant women categorically are exempt in the afternoon.

So you have this one source from the 18th century which allows for a somewhat weaker standard of illness to exempt from fasting, which gets quoted a couple times after that, and at the same time you have all the above-mentioned sources (Avnei Nezer, etc.), both before and after that source, who explicitly assumed otherwise or didn't cite any leniency for this relatively common situation (about 1/4 years). Even quite recent works like the Arukh haShulchan, who certainly saw R. Akiva Eiger's citation, make no mention at all of any leniency for pregnant women on a postponed Tisha Bav. It doesn't seem like leniency on this issue was at all widespread historically.

R. Shlomo Luria (Shu"t Maharshal 53, the earliest explicit source on the matter that I've found) ruled that even a woman who gave birth on Saturday 2 Av must fast on Sunday 10 Av since she is past her (OC 617:4) seven day recovery period. Even though the case was explicitly where the fast was postponed, he, by omitting any mention of that, indicates that the postponed case is not treated differently. It was obviously so, since no one had ever suggested otherwise.

Magen Avraham (OC 554 sk 9) used the leniency for a circumcision to justify ruling leniently, against Maharshal, like the opinions in Rishonim that a postpartum woman has 30 days to recover before becoming obligated to fast on Tisha Bav, instead of 7 like on Yom Kippur. While notably the first basis for any leniency for women on a postponed Tisha Bav, implicit again is that nursing after the formal recovery days is insufficient to warrant categorical leniency from a postponed fast. This is likely what the Shevut Yaakov is expanding when he says he is lenient on a postponed fast for "postpartum women within 30 days and pregnant women who feel somewhat ill".

For some more modern names, R. Yitzchak Ratsabi (Olath Yitschaq 1:67) treats a postponed Tisha Bav like any other. R. Ben-Tzion Abba Shaul (Or Letzion 3:29:3) did as well. R. Moshe Shternbuch (Teshuvot veHanhagot 2:253) fundamentally agrees but feels unable to prevent women from relying on the Beiur Halakha, especially in hot climates (where doctors told him there is significant risk for miscarriage (YMMV)). R. Meir Mazuz is quite hesitant to rely on R. Yosef's leniency. R. Yaakov Ariel allows pregnant women with "great pain" different from what she ordinarily feels on Tisha Bav to break her fast. Of course on the other side there are Poskim who take any leniency they can find with fasting nowadays since we are "weaker" than in previous generations (cf. an extreme example).

Obviously any woman should consult with both her doctor and her rabbi to determine how she should stay safe and follow Halakha, especially regarding any complications with her pregnancy or history of miscarriages or preterm labor. Even if she does need to break her fast, she should, after Havdala on something, eat simple foods and participate as much as possible in the mourning (OC 554:5, 568:12), for those who mourn for Zion will merit to see her rejoicing (Taanit 30b).

  • hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=7767&st=&pgnum=376 eliya rabba disagrees with magen avraham and only allows being lenient for a yoledet within 30 on other fasts when pushed off, but not for postponed tisha bav. bach is lenient for yoledet but say nursing alone is insufficient he.wikisource.org/wiki/…
    – Double AA
    Jul 22, 2018 at 23:45
  • Worth noting the Gemara in Eruvin and the Mordechai never say the permission was because it was pushed off. That was just the only case where Tisha Bav could fall on a date when there was that temple related holiday. Only come the Beit Yosef do we find the explanation that a delayed Tisha Bav is more lenient in this regard.
    – Double AA
    Aug 11, 2019 at 19:18

Nishmat writes

Whether a pregnant woman is exempt from fasting on a delayed Tisha B'Av is a matter of halachic debate. There is further debate regarding the halachic status of the first three months of pregnancy.

In general, when a pregnant woman does not feel well, there are grounds for her to break the fast of Tisha B'Av in consultation with a rav. We suggest beginning as though you will fast (including entering the fast hydrated and making arrangements to have a restful day) and seeing how you feel.

In this case, given that Tisha B'Av is postponed from Shabbat to Sunday, you may break the fast if you begin to feel uncomfortable, without need for additional consultation. After breaking the fast on Tisha B'Av, one may eat freely. Havdalah should be recited before eating.

R Eliezer Melamed rules similarly for most women

But when Tisha B'Av is postponed, the obligation of the Tisha B'Av fast is more similar to that of the minor fasts. Indeed, due to the severity of the of the fast's importance, ideally, when it is not difficult, pregnant and nursing mothers should also fast; but if there is any difficulty whatsoever, they are exempt, even though they are not considered ill. In practice, it turns out that about 90% of pregnant and partially nursing women do not need to fast.

(see here for more from R Melamed with sources)

R Ovadia Yosef ruled as follows

Hacham Ovadia Yosef addresses this question (Must Pregnant and Nursing Women Fast When Tisha B’Ab is Delayed From Shabbat to Sunday) in Yalkut Yosef – Ta’aniyot (p. 88; listen to audio recording for precise citation), and advances a “Kal Va’homer” rationale to allow pregnant and nursing women to eat on Tisha B’Ab in this situation. He notes that when a Berit is performed on a fast day, the three Ba’aleh Berit (the father, the Sandak and the Mohel) must fast despite the festive occasion; this applies not only on Tisha B’Ab, but even on Shiba Asar Be’Tammuz, Asara Be’Tebet and Som Gedalya. However, when a fast day falls on Shabbat and is observed the next day, and a Berit is performed, the Ba’aleh Berit are permitted to eat. Even on Tisha B’Ab, the Ba’aleh Berit may eat if Tisha B’Ab is observed on the tenth of Ab because the ninth is Shabbat.

Hacham Ovadia reasoned that if Ba’aleh Berit are permitted to eat on Tisha B’Ab in such a case, then this should certainly apply to pregnant and nursing women, as well. Halacha treats nursing and pregnant women more leniently with regard to fasting than Ba’aleh Berit, as evidenced by the fact that unlike Ba’aleh Berit, pregnant and nursing women are allowed to eat on Shiba Asar Be’Tammuz, Asara Be’Tebet and Som Gedalya. Thus, if Halacha allows Ba’aleh Berit to eat in the case of a delayed Tisha B’Ab, then certainly pregnant and nursing women may eat in such a case, as well. They may eat already in the morning, and it is possible that they may even eat already on Mosa’eh Shabbat, since they are exempt from the fast. Hacham Ovadia adds, however, that pregnant and nursing women in this case should not indulge in food and drink, and should instead eat and drink only as necessary for the wellbeing of the infant.

It should also be noted that a woman in this case must recite Habdala before eating, as Halacha does not allow eating after Shabbat until the recitation of Habdala.

On a regular Tisha b'Av see here from Nishmat.

Remember to always ask your rav before applying anything you read on the Internet.

  • I know you're just quoting Yoatzot, but I don't understand: 'After breaking the fast on Tisha B'Av, one may eat freely.' Generally, when we allow someone to break a fast, it's only for as much as they need for their health (with the excption of Taanis Bechor, IINM. Has to do with the fact that most fasts have both a postive commandment to fast as well as a negative commandment against eating. Even though the fast is no longer extant, the prohibition of eating remains. Taanis Bechor has only the positive commandment to fast, so once that's broken, there is no prohibition against eating) Jul 9, 2018 at 18:06
  • @Salmononius2 the OP asked for sources and I tried to provide a few. As you noticed R Ovadia Yosef says, as you do, that one should eat only as necessary. This is also what I heard. But the OP will for sure ask his rav how to balance across the different opinions
    – mbloch
    Jul 9, 2018 at 20:13

My wife ~5 months pregnant was told by Rav Yitzchok Berkowitz from Sanhedria Murchevet Jerusalem not to fast. I made Havdala for her on grape juice after eicha and kinos.


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