Fast of Esther
|Fast of Esther|
|Official name||Hebrew: תַּעֲנִית אֶסְתֵּר|
|Observed by||Jews in Judaism|
|Significance||Commemorating the three-day fast observed by the Jewish people in the story of Purim|
|Begins||13th day of Adar at dawn (if Shabbat, then 11th day of Adar at dawn)|
|Ends||The same day, at nightfall|
|2018 date||February 28|
|2019 date||March 20|
|2020 date||March 9|
The Fast of Esther (Ta'anit Ester, Hebrew: תַּעֲנִית אֶסְתֵּר) is a fast from dawn until dusk on Purim eve, commemorating the three-day fast observed by the Jewish people in the story of Purim. It is a common misconception that this fast was accepted by the Jews for all future generations during the time of Esther, as it is stated in the Book of Esther: They had established for themselves and their descendants the matters of the fasts and their cry (Esther 9:31). This verse actually refers to the fasting and crying in the aftermath of Haman's decree mentioned in Esther 4:1-3. Rather, the first mention of this fast is a Minhag that is referenced in the Gaonic period. Recently, Mitchell First has written a detailed study of the origin of the fast and provided an explanation for its arising in the Gaonic[definition needed] period.
The Fast is observed on the 13th day of the Hebrew month of Adar. (When the year has 2 Adar months, it is observed only in the 2nd Adar). If the date of the Fast of Esther falls on Shabbat (Saturday), the fast is instead observed on the preceding Thursday, as this was the case in 2004, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, and 2017. This will occur again in 2024. (Shulchan Aruch S.686 s.2)
As the Fast of Esther is not one of the four public fasts ordained by the Prophets, the laws concerning its observance are more lenient; pregnant women, nursing mothers, and those who are weak are not required to observe it. (Note: per the concept of Pikuach nefesh, in certain situations a weak, sick, or pregnant person is not required or even permitted to observe any Jewish fast day; a rabbi should be consulted to determine the law for one's specific situation.)
It is generally accepted in the rabbinic tradition that the original three-day "Fast of Esther" mentioned in chapter 4 of Book of Esther occurred on the 14th, 15th, and 16th days of Nisan, these being the eve and first two days of Passover. They fasted on Passover because Esther reasoned it would be better to fast on one Pesach lest they all be destroyed and thus never be able to observe the holiday in the future. The 13th of Adar was a fast day for the warriors while going out to battle, as it is believed to have been customary to fast during the battle in order to gain divine favor. Because fasting during Passover would be inappropriate in almost all circumstances, the "Fast of Esther" became attached to the eve of Purim, the 13th of Adar.
- 2018: February 28
- 2019: March 20
- 2020: March 9
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
- "The first who mentions it is R. Aḥa of Shabḥa (8th cent.) in "She'eltot," iv." The Jewish Encyclopedia, http://jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=613&letter=P&search=purim#2297 Archived 2011-09-13 at the Wayback Machine.
- First, Mitchell (Nov 2010). "The Origin of Taanit Esther". AJS Review. 34:2: 309–351. A short summary of this article is at "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-02-19. Retrieved 2013-01-30.
- The Fast of Esther, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-05-14. Retrieved 2011-03-17.
- "The Fast of Esther". Jewish Virtual Library. Archived from the original on 14 May 2011. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
- "Ta'anit Esther (Fast of Esther) in Israel". timeanddate.com. Retrieved 27 February 2018.