- Not to be confused with Breakfast, also with a meaning of "breaking of the fast."
A break-fast in Judaism is the meal eaten after fast days meals such as Yom Kippur and Tisha B'Av. During a Jewish fast, no food or drink is consumed, including bread and water. The major fasts last over 25 hours, from before sundown on the previous night until after sundown on the day of the fast. Four other shorter fasts during the year begin at dawn and end after sunset. In Islam fasting mostly occurs during the month of "Ramadan" where Muslims fast for the whole duration of the month for around 30 continuous days. The fasting starts at dawn and ends by sunset where the first meal "break fast" is eaten. During the time of fast no form of food and drinks are consumed.
A break-fast follows each of the major Jewish fast days of Yom Kippur and Tisha B'Av, as well as the four minor fast days of Fast of Gedalia, Fast of Esther, Tenth of Tevet, and Seventeenth of Tammuz.
To break the fast, it is customary to eat a light meal consisting of salads and dairy foods. Heavy food on an empty stomach is usually avoided. Sometimes the fast is broken with tea and cake before eating a full meal. A drink of milk or juice before the post-fast meal helps the body to readjust and diminishes the urge to eat too much or too rapidly.
Customs for the first food eaten after the Yom Kippur fast differ. Iranian Jews often eat a mixture of shredded apples mixed with rose water called "faloodeh seeb." Polish and Russian Jews will have tea and cake. Syrian and Iraqi Jews eat round sesame crackers that look like mini-bagels. Turkish and Greek Jews sip a sweet drink made from melon seeds. Some people start with herring to replace the salt lost during fasting. North African Jews prepare butter cookies known as rhuraieba ("ribo" among Moroccan Jews) for the meal after the Yom Kippur fast.
Orthodox Jews generally do not eat meat or drink wine at the break-fast after Tisha B'Av because the burning of the Temple on the 9th of Av is said to have continued until noon on the 10th of Av. Even when the 9th of Av falls and Shabbat and Tisha B'Av is observed on the 10th, though all other Nine Days restrictions end with the fast, wine and meat are customarily still not consumed at the break fast.
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