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May a Noahide Fast on the Fast Day of Gedaliah

Many Noahides will not know who Gedaliah was.

It is therefore important to first learn about the event in history.

Historically, there are four [Jewish] fasts associated with the destruction of the Holy Temple occurred in a sequence. The 17th of Tammuz which commemorates the day when the walls of Jerusalem were breached [in mid-summer], came after the period of siege initiated on the 10th of Teves. The 9th of Av and the destruction of the Temple [3 weeks later] came as a result of, and in sequence to, the 17th of Tammuz, and the [Jewish] fast of [the assassination of the appointed governor] Gedaliah followed the day and events of the 9th of Av.

In the Temple, 70 bulls were sacrificed on Sukkot by the Priest for the benefit of the non-Jews, in addition to the voluntary offerings that could be brought to the Priests during the year. The loss of the 1 and 2 Temple is thus also a reason for Noahides to mourn.

The murder of Gedaliah is directly linked to the Exile of the Jews. The Rebbe indicates that Noahides are Obliged to be Distressed over the Jews' Suffering in Exile.

This concept is includes in the Seven Noahide Laws - in the prhibition of eating flesh torn form a living animal. The underlying principle here is to be careful not to inflict pain upon animals, for tearing flesh from a living animal causes it great pain. This is the reason that it is forbidden to consume such flesh. Thus, if Noahes are even forbidden to cause pain to animals, they should surely feel distress at the suffering of fellow humans.

Noahides have to feel the pain of the Jewish exile and participate in the suffering of the Jewish People, instead of being complacent, not only would they not intensify the suffering of exile, but the opposite. They would strive to do everything in their power to alleviate Jewish suffering in exile as much as possible by assisting the Jewish peopel in all area. This behavioi would resemble the prophecy of Isiahah 49:23, "Kings will be your nurtures"!.

A Noahide may mourn the loss of the Temple and f the Divine Presence from being revealed in the world. And in my personal opinion, one may also mourn for the Galut/ exile of the Jewish people - which is still going on and causing suffering.

If a Noahide would like to fast he may voluntarily do a "half" fast. If he were to observe a full day of fasting, he would be making a ritual memorial day for himself, which would fall under the creation of a new religion, which is forbidden.

A "half" fast means that one fasts

more lightly - that is, only eating or only drinking -

or shorter - that is, only eating or only drinking, for example, from sunrise until noon.

In case of illness or medical problems, a Noahid should not fast.

The reason that Noahide should not observe a full fast is because it weakens a person and then it is much more difficult to improve the world. For example, a person may become irritable, haughty or bad-tempered because of the fasting. Improving the conditions of the world is called Yeshiv Olam, and is a important obligation for a Noahide.

Instead of (or along with) a half fast, one can say psalms, give charity and perform acts of kindness.

Brought By Angelique Sijbolts


Angelique Sijbolts is one of the main writers for the Noahide Academy. She has been an observant Noahide for many years. She studies Torah with Rabbi Perets every week. Angelique invests much of her time in editing video-lectures for the Rabbis of the Academy and contributes in administrating the Academy's website in English and Dutch. She lives in the north of the Netherlands. Married and mother of two sons. She works as a teacher in a school with students with special needs. And is a Hebrew Teacher for the levels beginners and intermediate. She likes to walk, to read and play the piano.



To Perfect the World by the Lubavitscher Rebbe: p. 177-178


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