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Yom Kippur is a few days before my due date. My doctor feels uncomfortable with me fasting. What should I do?

Pregnant women or nursing women must fast like all healthy women.

The dispensation from fasting is only if it’s potentially a life threatening condition. Therefore, in low risk pregnancy, one should fast regularly unless accompanied by severe headaches, dehydration, dizziness etc.

It’s important to fast even at the expense of sleeping in bed all of Yom Kippur. Where practical, it’s important that husbands remain home instead of going to Shul, to help their wife who is fasting.

Likewise, one who is weak and can only fast if he or she remains in bed all day, should not attempt to go to Shul or Daven, rather they should fast and remain in bed. Attending Shul and/or Davening are of secondary importance in comparison to the biblical obligation to fast.

If, however, one feels that their condition has deteriorated Chas V’sholom to the extent that it becomes a question of Sakana, then one can break their fast with Shiurim. See below for guidelines regarding Shiurim.

One can assess their health situation themselves. If they’re feeling very faint, they should break the fast using Shiurim.

A woman in labor is permitted to eat and drink. However, whether it’s advisable medically to eat and drink during labor is a medical debate. Every individual should consult their own doctor.

See here for some general tips:

http://chabad.org/theJewishWoman/article_cdo/aid/1286376/jewish/Top-Ten-Fasting-Tips-for-the-Pregnant-Woman.htm

 

Guidelines regarding Shiurim:

If one is required to eat on Yom Kippur due to medical reasons, a Rov should be consulted in advance to receive specific dispensation from fasting. However, in case of a medical emergency where one’s life is in danger, or even if there is a question whether the condition is a medical emergency or not, the patient should be given food or medicine immediately.

They should not attempt to fast against the Rabbi’s orders. The same Torah which commands us to fast on Yom Kippur tells us that guarding our health is far more important than fasting on this holy day. Just as a healthy person fulfills a Mitzvah by fasting; an ill person does a Mitzvah by eating.

A person who is required to eat or drink due to illness, but afterwards feels strong enough to fast, must resume fasting.

One who is weak and can only fast if he remains in bed all day, should not attempt to go to Shul or Daven, rather he should fast and remain in bed. Attending Shul and/or Davening are of secondary importance in comparison to the biblical obligation to fast.

Although the eating or drinking on Yom Kippur is forbidden even for tiny amounts, however, when fasting is dangerous one should, whenever possible, eat or drink less than a Shiur (the prescribed amount delineated below) at a time. While it is Biblically forbidden to eat or drink even less than this amount, but such an offense is not punishable by Torah law. One is only “culpable” when eating at least 2/3 of the Talmudic measurement called “K’beitzah”, or drinking at least a mouthful of liquid, within a short period of time.

The Shiur for drinking is half of one mouthful (measured before the fast by filling the mouth and cheeks with liquid, emptying it into a measuring cup, and dividing into half).

If eating is necessary, one may eat up to 30cc (cubic centimeters) at a time. (About the size that fits into a small matchbox).

Ideally, these quantities should be consumed at intervals of at least nine minutes; however, if that is not possible one can be lenient with intervals as short seven, six, or even four minutes. If circumstances require eating and/ or drinking even more often, one may be lenient.

Eating and drinking can both be done simultaneously within the same time slot.

When one is required to eat, no Kiddush is recited on Yom Kippur. (This applies even when Yom Kippur falls on Shabbos). Before eating bread one must wash hands as is done throughout the year. There is no need to have two complete Challahs, as is required on all other festivals. There is a difference of opinion whether Ya’aleh V’yavo is recited during bentching.

 

 


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