Fasting – Recovering from Heart Attack

I had a heart attack 7 weeks ago. I have thankfully recovered but am still somewhat weakened. Should I fast on the upcoming Shiva Asar b’Tammuz?

The Aish Rabbi Replies:

If your doctor says it is not safe for you to fast, you certainly shouldn’t. (Unlike on Yom Kippur, you do not need an expert medical evaluation to excuse you from fasting.) If your doctor doesn’t feel there is a particular concern, then you should try to fast. But if you have any discomfort, you should stop.

In general for minor fasts, a healthy person should not be lenient just because of the discomfort of fasting, even if he feels quite weak on account of it. But if the person feels unwell and certainly dehydrated, he should not fast. Since you have a preexisting condition, you can eat at the first sign of weakness.

Note that even people who must eat on a fast day should not indulge, but should only eat simple foods to preserve their health.

We wish you a speedy recovery!

(Sources: Shulchan Aruch O.C. 550:1, Mishna Berurah 5, Kovetz Mi’Bet Levi” (R. Vozner) XIII pg. 17 [12].)

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