Fasting in Jewish Tradition

As Yom Kippur slowly approaches, Jews will have a thing or two to do this summer in regards to fasting.

Fasting in Jewish tradition is something that every follower of the faith should do. Every Jew is bound by his beliefs and traditions to fast on specific holidays throughout the year.

As a matter of fact, fasting is a very popular and common tradition, as there are as many as 25 holidays and events where Jews get to fast. This impressive number of fasting days has left some of the younger followers shocked; as is the case with many new learners.

When a fasting day comes, you’ll notice it as your parents have probably labeled it on your kitchen calendar. One fasting happens in the month of Tammuz, on the 18th.

Although many younger followers are led to believe that fasting occurs only on Yom Kippur, we’re here to break the news that it’s far from the case.

As we mentioned, there are 25 events and holidays that commemorate this proud tradition. Out of all 25, it is the before-mentioned one, Yom Kippur, that is considered a must. Some of these aren’t even one day holidays; some can last for days and days.

However, it seems that the majority of fasts are to celebrate sacrifices, deaths, destructions, and sieges. Such is the 18th of Tammuz, where Jews celebrate the ending of the sacrifices, the Roman siege of Jerusalem, and when Apostemus broke the Law.

These events are all deeply engraved into Jewish tradition, and they are celebrated in such ways.

In the holy city of Jerusalem, there is a thing called communal fasting. This is where large groups all fast together and these communal traditions have their own rules such as:

There would be no fasting on any holiday or festival such as Shabbat. The only exception to this one is the fast of Yom Kippur.

There would also be no such tradition during the month of Nisan.

There would be no fasting for those that are too ill and in no condition to do what so ever.

There would be no fasting if you’re a person that holds an important position that requires performing his job on a daily basis. This rule was introduced in the modern ages, and the positions mostly include security personnel, rabbis, teaches, and any other important roles in Jewish society.

These are some of the rules that the communal traditions of Jerusalem require. While these are communal, every individual can perform this tradition individually. However, do know that individual traditions also come with rules in Jewish society.

The first and most important rule is to not make your tradition in public and not to discuss it too much. You can do so only if you’re atoning for your sins. But, atonement isn’t the only reason why individual fasting is done in Jewish culture.

Other notable reasons include asking God for mercy, asking for help and guidance, spiritually connecting with one’s self, with his ancestors, and with his roots, to eliminate concerns of a bad and evil dream and many more.

There are various gifts that can be given to a person that performs this tradition. Gift-giving is an activity present in every culture and across all fields of life. You can visit for more information about the best gifts that you can give a friend that is performing this tradition.

Generally speaking, these actions last around 24 hours or a full day. During that time, people are forbidden from eating food or drinking water. Judging by this, you can see how dangerous this is, hence why people of important roles are forbidden from doing it.

But there are also ways for you to prepare and make it through this harsh tradition. As information is widely accessible for every person of the faith, we’ve decided to prepare a few tips on how to prepare when the time of fasting comes.

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Here are our 3 tips on how to make it through

1. Prepare Early

As everyone should know when the time for going without food is, it goes without saying that the best way to prepare is to cut down on foods before that. Things include anything from cutting down on your daily diet, coffee, and various other liquids.

Furthermore, you should also cut back on sodas and non-alcoholic beverages. Also, cutting back on salty foods is a smart thing to do, as it stimulates the need for water. Alcohol should also be out of the question, as alcohol drains your body from the water and various liquids, forcing you to intake more.

2. Ask A Physician If Your Health Allows It

Before putting yourself through such a hard tradition, you should ask your doctor or physician whether your health allows you to do so.

We mentioned earlier that those with poor health or illnesses are abstained from fasting. While you can still do it, you are only putting yourself in grave danger. There is nothing in the Torah that forbids ill people for fasting.

3. Drink Plenty of Water, But Not Too Much

Water is sacred but also forbidden during the tradition. Before the time comes, make sure to drink plenty of water, but not go overboard.

Ask any rabbi and he will tell you that the healthiest thing to do is to drink water. Our bodies are full of minerals that are needed to sustain our daily operations.

Drinking water is healthy, but going overboard can wash these essential minerals. If we would give you a rough estimate as to how much water you should drink during the day before the fast, then we’d say half a gallon is sufficient enough.

While there are also various other ways to prepare yourself for such a tradition, the key thing to note is that you will make it through. Some people are very frightened of such a thing, and others welcome it.

The main thing is to never forget about Yom Kippur, as it is a must for every Jew, and makes a decision on whether you want to fast for the remaining 24 holidays and events.