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Fast of the Firstborn

Fast of the Firstborn


In the tenth and final plague inflicted upon Egypt, G‑d killed the firstborn in all of Egypt. But, as in all the plagues brought upon Egypt, the Children of Israel were spared. In the Plague of the Firstborn, not one Jewish firstborn died. To express their gratitude, all firstborn males fast on the day before Passover (Erev Pesach). The fathers of firstborn boys under the age of 13 fast in their stead.

The prevailing custom, however, is for the firstborn to exempt themselves from the obligation to fast by participating in a seudat mitzvah (a meal marking the fulfillment of a mitzvah), such as a siyyum--a festive meal celebrating the conclusion of the study of a section of Torah). Most synagogues host such a celebration after morning prayers.

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1000 characters remaining Staff via April 10, 2017

To Joel Correct, the firstborn through a c-section is not required to fast. Reply

Joel Great Neck April 9, 2017

Does "break the womb" mean that a c-section is not required to fast? Reply

Chaim April 9, 2014

Answers The first borns here are only with regards to males.
If there are girls first then a boy, the boy isn't considered a firstborn.
If you are unable to attend a fast then it is sufficient to get eat a bit of food from the food served at the Siyyum. If one is not able to do the above then one would need to fast till the seder. Reply

Mary B. Goouch Toronto, Canada March 21, 2013

Message for Isabelle Cohen Johnson Thank you very much for the translation. Reply

Isabelle Cohen Johnson Portland , USA via March 20, 2013

Translation for Mary B. Goouch Chag Pessah Casher v'Sameach!


Have a Kosher and Joyful Festival of Passover! :) Reply

Mary B. Goouch Toronto, Canada March 20, 2013

Request to Isabelle Cohen Johnson Thank you for responding but would you please translate what you wrote into English. I am anxious to learn.
Thank you! Reply

Isabelle Cohen Johnson Porltand , USA via March 19, 2013

Firstborns To Mary B. Goouch: I understand that if there are only girls in a family, the first one to "break the womb" is the firstborn.

According to the article here, only firstborn males fast on Erev Pesah so I am deducting (but I could be wrong) that only firstborn-males were endangered by the final plague at the first Passover, and firstborn females were safe/not concerned.

Please, someone, correct me if I understood wrongly. :)

Chag Pessah Casher v'Sameach! Reply

Mary B. Goouch Toronto, Canada March 19, 2013

A question for Isabelle Cohen Johnson:
Did you get an answer?
You pose an interesting queston.
What happens if a family has only girls?
I had thought that only first-born males were in danger at the First Passover.
Is this correct? Reply

Isabelle Cohen Johnson Portland, USA via March 10, 2013

Re: First born Ani moda lech ve Chag Pessah Sameach! :) Reply Staff via March 10, 2013

Re Firstborn A firstborn is the first child who breaks its mother's womb :) Reply

Isabelle Cohen Johnson Portland, USA via March 9, 2013

Who count as a first born? Does a boy born after three girls count as a first born or does the fast only concern only boys who "break the womb"? Reply

Israel B Tokyo, Japan February 18, 2010

More specific information please For those of us who can not attend a seudat mizvah on that day, please include directions or link to information on how to observe a minor fast. Reply

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