Fasting on Tisha B’Av When Breaking The Fast Will Cause Extreme Nausea

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QUESTION

Houston, TX

A woman from my shul has the following issue with fasting:

Although she is fine while fasting, experiencing only headaches, she becomes extremely nauseous when she eats after the fast, and can’t keep any food down for a few hours. What should I tell her regarding fasting on Tisha BeAv?

ANSWER

This is a tricky one, since it is not the fasting that makes her nauseous, but the eating afterward.

One way to approach this would be to say that she is a cholah, since was this nausea to happen on Tisha BeAv as a result of the fasting, she would constitute a cholah, at least that’s the way it sounds from your description (see SA OH 554:6, MB 554:11). The argument is that the cause of the nausea is ultimately the fasting, not the eating, since the eating is a necessity and will happen regardless.

Consider the following analogy – fasting on Tisha BeAv will cause a person to have fainting spells the entire next day whenever he takes a deep breath of air. I think in such a case we would agree that this is a choleh who can eat on Tisha BeAv, although nothing will happen on Tisha BeAv itself. This is the approach that I would adopt, and certainly so in a year when Tisha BeAv is a nidcheh (pushed off to Sunday). (MB 554:14)

Understandably, some may be hesitant to define her as a cholah, since no symptoms are present on Tisha BeAv (what would they say to the fainting example, above?) and that the proximate cause of the nausea is the eating. According to this, one can always take the shiurim approach. We normally don’t do shiurim on Tisha BeAv – if there is a reason to eat or drink, then do it (see Arukh HaShulchan OH 554:7, Nishmat Avraham 1:554:6) – but here it might be different. Here the person is not, according to this approach, a choleh (which would allow eating without shiurim). Still, she will become a mitztaeret as a result of the fast. The argument could be made that given that mitzta’eir is a matir in many derabanan cases (see Ketubot 60a, MB 328:90, etc.), here too we can allow eating/drinking less than a shiur (sort of like a trei derabanan) to prevent mitzta’eir (also acknowledging that the matir is usually to alleviate mitzta’eir now, not to prevent it in the future).

Bottom line: my pesak would be that although the symptoms won’t show themselves until after the fast, the woman is a cholah now – in the sense that she has a condition that will bring about severe nausea if she fasts – and thus should not fast.

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