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Taanit Bechorot - Fast Of Firstborns

*The Daily Halacha Moment - Taanit Bechorot* 🍲

״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 Is Taanit Bechorot?


On erev Pesach, all firstborn males must fast. This fast commemorates the salvation of the Jewish firstborns during Makkat Bechorot in Mitzrayim.

[1] The requirement to fast applies to the firstborn son of either parent, whether he is only the firstborn of the father or the mother. [2]

It is customary for a father to fast on behalf of his firstborn son until the son reaches adulthood. [3]

On Taanit Bechorot, the custom is to permit any firstborn who attends a seudat mitzvah to eat. Once he has eaten at a seudat mitzvah, he may continue to eat the rest of the day.


It is common practice for a firstborn male to partake in the seudah of a siyum mesechet on the morning of erev Pesach after praying Shacharit. A person who wishes to do this must hear the actual siyum being made. Furthermore, if the firstborn did not partake in the food while at the siyum, he may not eat at home afterwards. [5] However, if one arrived after the siyum finished, but the person who completed the mesechet was still speaking about his siyum or a related topic, then one may eat at the meal afterward. [6]

Similarly, when a siyum is being made, the firstborns in attendance should understand what is being recited. Therefore, the one making the siyum should not merely read the end of the mesechet without explaining

what he is reading. [7]


[1]. Tur 470:1; Shulchan Aruch 470:1. Ohr LeTzion, vol. 3, 12:1 explains that the firstborns fast instead of making a feast to commemorate the miracle that they were saved because they used their merits for the miracle.

[2]. Shulchan Aruch 470:1.

[3]. Rama 470:2. See also Chazon Ovadia, Pesach §1, p. 214, which adds that if one’s child is not yet thirty days old, one does not have to fast for him.

[4]. Yabia Omer, vol. 1, O.C. 25; Chazon Ovadia, Pesach §1, p. 208.

[5]. Ashrei HaIsh, vol. 3, p. 363.

[6]. Teshuvot VeHanhagot 3:114; Yabia Omer 4:42; Chazon Ovadia, Pesach §1, p. 213.

[7]. Ben Ish Chai, Tzav 1:25; Yabia Omer 1:26; Chazon Ovadia, Pesach §1, p. 212. See also _Az Nidberu, vol. 12, 58:3.

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