SECTION 597 Whether it is Permitted to Fast on Rosh HaShanah. (1–9)

סימן תקצז אִם מֻתָּר לְהִתְעַנּוֹת בְּרֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה וּבוֹ ט' סְעִיפִים:

1 Certain authorities maintain that it is a mitzvah to fast on Rosh HaShanah and on Shabbos Shuvah as on all of the Ten Days of Repentance. The halachah, however, does not follow their opinion; it is forbidden to fast on Rosh HaShanah and Shabbos Shuvah, just as it is forbidden to fast on any other Shabbos or festival.1 Even if one has a disturbing dream, but is in doubt as to whether it is one of the dreams that would require him to fast on Shabbos,2 he should not fast. On the contrary, it is a mitzvah for him to eat, drink, and rejoice on Rosh HaShanah, as stated in sec. 581.3 Nevertheless, people should not eat to the point of satiety, so that they do not become frivolous, and so that the fear of G‑d will be upon them.

א יֵשׁ אוֹמְרִים א שֶׁמִּצְוָה לְהִתְעַנּוֹת בְּרֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה וּבְשַׁבַּת תְּשׁוּבָה כְּמוֹ בְּכָל עֲשֶׂרֶת יְמֵי תְּשׁוּבָה, וְאֵין הֲלָכָה כְּדִבְרֵיהֶם, אֶלָּא אָסוּר לְהִתְעַנּוֹת בְּרֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה וְשַׁבַּת תְּשׁוּבָה ב כְּמוֹ שֶׁאָסוּר בִּשְׁאָר שַׁבָּת וְיוֹם טוֹב.ג,1 וַאֲפִלּוּ רָאָה חֲלוֹם רַע וְסָפֵק לוֹ אִם הוּא מֵהַחֲלוֹמוֹת שֶׁמִּתְעַנִּין עֲלֵיהֶם בְּשַׁבָּת2 – לֹא יִתְעַנֶּה.ד

וּמִצְוָה לֶאֱכֹל וְלִשְׁתּוֹת וְלִשְׂמֹחַ בְּרֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה ה כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן תקפ"א,ו,3 אָמְנָם לֹא יֹאכְלוּ כָּל שָׂבְעָם לְמַעַן לֹא יָקֵלּוּ רֹאשָׁם וְתִהְיֶה יִרְאַת ה' עַל פְּנֵיהֶם:ז

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2 There is a tradition handed down in certain communities that whoever has established the custom of fasting on Rosh HaShanah, and then deviates from it and does not fast, will not live out that year. Nevertheless, one who is not anxious about his life need not fast throughout his life, though he must annul his commitment in the manner that other vows are annulled.4

ב יֵשׁ מְקוֹמוֹת שֶׁקַּבָּלָה בְּיָדָם שֶׁכָּל מִי שֶׁרָגִיל לְהִתְעַנּוֹת בְּרֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה וּמְשַׁנֶּה רְגִילוּתוֹ וְאֵינוֹ מִתְעַנֶּה – אֵינוֹ מַשְׁלִים שְׁנָתוֹ.ח וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם מִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ יָרֵא לְנַפְשׁוֹ – אֵין צָרִיךְ לְהִתְעַנּוֹת כָּל יָמָיו,ט רַק צָרִיךְ הַתָּרָה כִּשְׁאָר נֶדֶר:י,4

3 If a person fasts on Rosh HaShanah, he must study or recite supplications throughout the day. For every festival must be divided, half “for G‑d” and half “for yourselves,”5 in order to fulfill [the charges] found in two verses, one6 [which describes a festival as “an assembly] for G‑d,”7 and the other8 [which refers to it as “an assembly] for yourselves.”9 This person who is fasting and who does not fulfill [the charge to celebrate the festival] “for yourselves” must dedicate the festival totally “for G‑d,” and in that way fulfill the commandment [to hold “an assembly] for G‑d.” [That verse does not mention] “for yourselves,” indicating that [in such a case] the entire day should be [consecrated] to G‑d alone.

ג הַמִּתְעַנֶּה בְּרֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה צָרִיךְ לִלְמֹד כָּל הַיּוֹם אוֹ לוֹמַר תְּחִנּוֹת,יא שֶׁהֲרֵי כָּל יוֹם טוֹב צָרִיךְ לְחַלֵּק חֶצְיוֹ לַה' וְחֶצְיוֹ לָכֶם,יב,5 כְּדֵי לְקַיֵּם שְׁנֵי פְּסוּקִים שֶׁבְּאֶחָד כָּתוּב6 "לַה'" יג,7 וּבְאֶחָד כָּתוּב8 "לָכֶם",יד,9 וְזֶה שֶׁהוּא מִתְעַנֶּה וְאֵינוֹ מְקַיֵּם הַמִּקְרָא שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בּוֹ "לָכֶם" – צָרִיךְ לַעֲשׂוֹת כֻּלּוֹ לַה',טו כְּדֵי לְקַיֵּם הַמִּקְרָא שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בּוֹ "לַה'" וְלֹא נֶאֱמַר בּוֹ "לָכֶם", וּמַשְׁמָע שֶׁכָּל הַיּוֹם יִהְיֶה לַה' לְבַדּוֹ:

4 A person who fasts on Rosh HaShanah or on any other festival is forbidden to cook — or to perform any other labors necessary for the preparation of food — for the benefit of others, as stated in sec. 527[:30]. Note the reason explained there.

ד הַמִּתְעַנֶּה בְּרֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה אוֹ בִּשְׁאָר יוֹם טוֹב – אָסוּר לוֹ לְבַשֵּׁל אוֹ לַעֲשׂוֹת שְׁאָר מְלָאכוֹת אֹכֶל נֶפֶשׁ לְצֹרֶךְ אֲחֵרִים טז כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן תקכ"ז,יז עַיֵּן שָׁם הַטַּעַם:

5 Some people say that they have received the tradition that a person who fasted once on the first day of Rosh HaShanah because of a [disturbing] dream must fast on both days of Rosh HaShanah throughout his life, even if [one of them] falls on Shabbos. [The rationale:] Since he was once shown an unfavorable sign at the beginning of Rosh HaShanah, on the first night, this indicates that his fasting is cherished by the Holy One, blessed be He, on Rosh HaShanah, and that he should therefore carry out His will and fast both days of Rosh HaShanah, for they are considered as one long day, as explained in sec. 600[:3].

However, [he] is forbidden to fast on the nights of Rosh HaShanah, just as on other festivals, for even in his dream it was indicated only that he should fast during the day, as with all fasts undertaken because of a dream: one fasts only during the day.

ה יֵשׁ אוֹמְרִים יח שֶׁקַּבָּלָה בְּיָדָם שֶׁהַמִּתְעַנֶּה פַּעַם אַחַת בְּרֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה תַּעֲנִית חֲלוֹם אִם הָיָה בְּיוֹם רִאשׁוֹן שֶׁל רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה יט צָרִיךְ לְהִתְעַנּוֹת שְׁנֵי הַיָּמִים שֶׁל רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה כָּל יָמָיו אֲפִלּוּ כְּשֶׁחָל בְּשַׁבָּת,כ הוֹאִיל וְהֶרְאוּ לוֹ סִימָן רַע פַּעַם אַחַת כא בְּהַתְחָלַת רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה בַּלַּיְלָה הָרִאשׁוֹן רָמְזוּ לוֹ שֶׁתַּעֲנִיתוֹ חָבִיב לִפְנֵי הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא בְּרֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה,כב לְפִיכָךְ יַעֲשֶׂה רְצוֹנוֹ וְיִתְעַנֶּה כָּל שְׁנֵי יָמִים שֶׁל רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה שֶׁהֵן כְּיוֹם אֶחָד אָרֹךְ כג כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן ת"ר.כד אֲבָל אָסוּר לְהִתְעַנּוֹת בַּלֵּילוֹת שֶׁל רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה כְּמוֹ בִּשְׁאָר יוֹם טוֹב, שֶׁאַף בַּחֲלוֹמוֹ לֹא רָמְזוּ לוֹ אֶלָּא לְהִתְעַנּוֹת בַּיּוֹם,כה כְּדֶרֶךְ כָּל תַּעֲנִית חֲלוֹם שֶׁאֵין מִתְעַנִּין אֶלָּא בַּיּוֹם:

6 If he had the [disturbing] dream on the second [night] of Rosh HaShanah, he should fast on the second day of Rosh HaShanah for the rest of his life, but not on the first day.

Nevertheless, whoever is not anxious for his life need not be concerned about this tradition and need not fast at all throughout his life [on Rosh HaShanah], neither on the first day or the second day, even if he had the [disturbing] dream on the first [night].

ו וְאִם הֶרְאוּ לוֹ הַחֲלוֹם בְּיוֹם שֵׁנִי שֶׁל רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה – יִתְעַנֶּה כָּל יָמָיו יוֹם שֵׁנִי בִּלְבַד וְלֹא יוֹם רִאשׁוֹן.כו

וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם, מִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ יָרֵא לְנַפְשׁוֹ – אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לָחוּשׁ לְקַבָּלָה זוֹ, וְאֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לְהִתְעַנּוֹת כָּל יָמָיו כְּלָל לֹא בְּיוֹם רִאשׁוֹן וְלֹא בְּיוֹם שֵׁנִי, אַף שֶׁהָיָה הַחֲלוֹם בְּיוֹם רִאשׁוֹן:כז

7 If one fasts on Rosh HaShanah because of a disturbing dream, he does not have to fast again on a weekday to atone for his fast, as is required if one fasts on Shabbos or on another festival, as stated in sec. 288[:3. The rationale is that] there are opinions that it is a mitzvah to fast on Rosh HaShanah.10 Although the halachah does not follow this view, it is of sufficient weight to rely upon so that this fast will not be considered a transgression for which a second fast is required during the week [as atonement].

ז הַמִּתְעַנֶּה בְּרֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה תַּעֲנִית חֲלוֹם – אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לֵישֵׁב בְּחֹל תַּעֲנִית עַל תַּעֲנִיתוֹ כְּמוֹ הַמִּתְעַנֶּה בְּשַׁבָּתוֹת וּבְיָמִים טוֹבִים וּכְמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן רפ"ח,כח שֶׁהֲרֵי יֵשׁ אוֹמְרִים שֶׁמִּצְוָה לְהִתְעַנּוֹת בְּרֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה,כט,10 וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין הֲלָכָה כֵּן, מִכָּל מָקוֹם כְּדַאי הֵם לִסְמֹךְ עֲלֵיהֶם לְעִנְיָן שֶׁלֹּא נַחֲזִיק תַּעֲנִית זוֹ לַעֲבֵרָה שֶׁיִּצְטָרֵךְ לְהִתְעַנּוֹת בְּחֹל בִּשְׁבִיל כָּךְ:ל

8 [Ordinarily,] when one undertakes to fast on Shabbos or on a festival, his acceptance of the fast is of no consequence, and he may eat without having [his commitment] annulled, as stated in sec. 570.11 Nevertheless, if one undertakes to fast on Rosh HaShanah, even if he does not make a formal vow, but merely accepts the fast, saying: “I am hereby obligated to fast on Rosh HaShanah,” he must have his commitment annulled.

[The rationale is that] since some authorities maintain that it is a mitzvah to fast [on Rosh HaShanah], [his acceptance of the fast] does not resemble a commitment to perform a transgression, in which instance the commitment is of no consequence.12

ח אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁמִּי שֶׁקִּבֵּל עָלָיו לְהִתְעַנּוֹת בְּשַׁבָּת אוֹ בְּיוֹם טוֹב אֵין קַבָּלָתוֹ כְּלוּם וּמֻתָּר לֶאֱכֹל בְּלֹא הַתָּרָה כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן תק"ע,לא,11 מִכָּל מָקוֹם מִי שֶׁקִּבֵּל עָלָיו לְהִתְעַנּוֹת בְּרֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא הוֹצִיאוֹ בִּלְשׁוֹן נֶדֶר לב אֶלָּא בִּלְשׁוֹן קַבָּלַת תַּעֲנִית בְּעָלְמָא לג שֶׁאָמַר "הֲרֵי עָלַי לְהִתְעַנּוֹת בְּרֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה" – צָרִיךְ הַתָּרָה, מֵאַחַר דְּיֵשׁ אוֹמְרִים לד דְּמִצְוָה לְהִתְעַנּוֹת – אֵין זֶה כִּמְקַבֵּל עָלָיו לַעֲבֹר עֲבֵרָה שֶׁאֵין קַבָּלָתוֹ כְּלוּם.12

9 People who follow the custom of fasting on Rosh HaShanah should not recite the passage beginning Aneinu [in the Afternoon Service], just as we do not recite [it] on Yom Kippur. [The rationale is that] these are days of judgment and it is not appropriate to say [as stated in that passage], “Answer us on our fastday.”13

ט וְהַנּוֹהֲגִין לְהִתְעַנּוֹת בְּרֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה – לֹא יֹאמְרוּ "עֲנֵנוּ", כְּמוֹ שֶׁאֵין אוֹמְרִים "עֲנֵנוּ" בְּיוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים,לה מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהֵן יְמֵי דִּין לו וְאֵין שַׁיָּךְ לוֹמַר "בְּיוֹם צוֹם תַּעֲנִיתֵנוּ":לז,13