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Asara B'Tevet

Updated: Dec 14, 2021

The Daily Halacha Moment - Asara B'Tevet ✡️

״כל השונה הלכות בכל יום - מובטח לו שהוא בן

‎העולם הבא״ (נידה עג ע״א, מגילה כח:)

“Anyone who studies Halachot every day is guaranteed that he is destined for the world-to-come” (Megilla 28b, Niddah 73a)


What happened on Asara B'Tevet?

May one brush one's teeth today?

May one wash one's mouth?

May one shower on a Fast Day?


Asara B'Tevet commemorates the tragedy of Nevuchadnezzar laying siege to Yerushalayim.[1]

Preferably one should refrain from washing one's mouth or brushing ones teeth. However, one who regularly washes his mouth and would be *discomforted* by not doing so, may do so even on a fast day (except Yom Kippur & Tisha B'av), but should not use more than a reviit (around 3 Oz) of liquid. [2] Similarly, if one regularly brushes his teeth in the morning, he may continue to do so, even with toothpaste, but one should make sure that he leans over the sink while brushing so that he should not accidentally swallow some of the toothpaste. [3]

Similarly, it is permissible to take a shower on a regular fast day, [4] and one may even use hot water. [5] Ashkenazim hold that one should not shower with hot water during this fast day. Furthermore, one may go swimming on a regular fast day. [6]


[1]. See Rambam, Taniyot 5:2; Mishnah Berurah 549:2; Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 121:3.

[2]. Chazon Ovadia, Arba Taaniyot, p. 27. Even though the Shulchan Aruch 567:3 states that one should not do so, one who is discomforted by not rinsing out his mouth in the morning may nevertheless do so. See also Mishnah Berurah §11 & 554:22; Aruch HaShulchan 567:3.

[3]. Chazon Ovadia, Arba Taaniyot, p. 28. See also Halichot Shlomo, Taaniyot, p. 398 at the end of Orchot Halachah §4, which permits one to visit the dentist on a fast day.

[4]. Shulchan Aruch 550:2. See also Chazon Ovadia, Arba Taaniyot, p. 21.

[5]. Chazon Ovadia, Arba Taaniyot, p. 21; Ohr LeTzion, vol. 3, 25:1.

[6]. See Be’er Moshe 3:77. Ashrei HaIsh, vol. 3, 67:7 permits one to go swimming only for health reasons.

See also Laws Of The Holidays - Nacson

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