**** We are proud to have Chacham David Yoseph, Shalita, offer the Daily Halacha today. He is author of Halacha Berura and Torat HaMoadim. (Chacham David Yoseph is the son of Chacham Ovadia Yoseph)
Tomorrow is the fast of Shivaa Asar BiTamuz. The Mishna said that there were five bad things that happened on this day. On this day, Moshe Rabenu broke the Tablets when Israel made the Golden Calf. And on this day, the Romans succeeded to break down the walls and enter Jerusalem.
So therefore, as long as one is healthy, it is Halacha to fast tomorrow (July 6 2004). The fast begins at Alot HaShachar and ends at Tzet HaKochavim. Tomorrow, this relates from about 4:00AM until at about 8:50PM.
One may not be exempt if he feels the day is too long and he is working and feels it is too difficult. But, Chas VeShalom, if someone does not feel well, and he is sick, and he has fever, or if a woman is pregnant, then they may eat on this day. But without serious reason, everyone should fast tomorrow.
Now, it’s not so simple if someone wants to wake up early in the morning to eat. According to the Mekubalim, after one goes to sleep, he is not allowed to eat anymore. To drink is OK, but not to eat. But according to the Halacha in Shulchan Aruch, one may eat or drink early in the morning so long as he makes a condition before he goes to sleep. In this case, one must finish eating by 4:00 AM, and he has to make a condition before he goes to sleep the night before. He has to say; ‘I am not starting the fast yet, for I want to wake up and eat early in the morning.’ One would do the same even if he only wants to drink. One would have to make a condition and say tonight before going to sleep, “I want to drink in the morning. I am going to sleep now, but I have a plan to wake up early and to drink before the fast starts.”
So the Halacha, if you make a condition to drink, there would then be no question that one is allowed to drink. But eating depends. According to the Shulchan Aruch it is OK, but according to the Mekubalim it is not. How should one follow? So, if someone is strong and can follow the Mekubalim, it would be better. But one who needs to eat early in the morning because the fast would be very difficult on such a long day, he can then rely on Shulchan Aruch even though it is against the Mekubalim.