Tzom Gedaliah

The Daily Halacha Moment - Tzom Gedaliah 😔


״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)


Question:

May one take medication on Tzom Gedaliah?

May one brush ones teeth on Tzom Gedaliah?

May one take a shower on a fast day?


Answer:

The fast of Tzom Gedaliah is observed on the day after Rosh HaShanah, the third of Tishrei. [1]


It is especially praiseworthy to give tzedakah on Tzom Gedaliah. [2]

One who needs to take a pill on a fast day should do so without water.

However, if the pill has a tasty coating, one should wrap it in a thin paper or swallow it with bitter-tasting water (for example, tea or soapy water). However, if one is sick with a potentially life-threatening illness, he may swallow the pill with regular water, but should try to use just a minimal amount (less than a reviit). [See Footnote 3]


One who regularly washes his mouth may do so even on a fast day, but should not use more than a reviit of liquid. [4]

Similarly, some say if one regularly brushes his teeth in the morning, he may continue to do so, even with toothpaste, as long as he leans over the sink while brushing so that he should not accidentally swallow some of the toothpaste. [5]

Similarly, one may chew on a tasteless object on a fast day. However, one may not chew gum or something similar, since it has taste. [6]

It is permissible to take a shower on a regular fast day, [7] and one may even use hot water. (many Ashkenazim are stringent and only shower in cold water) [8]


Sources:

[1]. Rama §1. See the Rambam in Taanit 5:2, which says that this fast is observed because it is the day that Gedaliah ben Achikam was killed. See also Teshuvot HaRishon LeTzion, vol. 2, p. 300.

[2]. Yalkut Yosef, Yamim Nora’im, p. 465; Chazon Ovadia, Arba Taaniyot, p. 42.

[3]. See Chazon Ovadia, Arba Taaniyot, pages 279 & 30, which permits swallowing a pill with water. This is also the view of Halichot Shlomo, Ben HaMetzarim, ch. 15, 3:8. However, Chazon Ovadia, Arba Taaniyot, p. 31 states that if the pill tastes sweet, one should wrap it in nylon before swallowing it. Since this is a choking hazard, one may rely on the poskim who permit one to drink water with the pill if there is something bitter mixed with the water. See also Kaf HaChaim §16; Ohr LeTzion, vol. 3, 29:11; ibid., vol. 4, 15:8; Torat HaMoadim, Yamim Nora’im, p. 271; Yalkut Yosef, Yamim Nora’im, p. 659; and Chut Shani, Shabbat, vol. 2, p. 326.

[4]. Chazon Ovadia, Arba Taaniyot, p. 27. Even though the Shulchan Aruch §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.

[5]. 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.

[6]. Chazon Ovadia, Arba Taaniyot, p. 29. See also Yaskil Avdi, vol. 8, 20:54, which rules stringently, even regarding objects without taste.

[7]. Shulchan Aruch §2.

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


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