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COMING SOON Bez"H
Fascinating Insights—The Sefer (in English)
that on Erev Pesach, there is a Taanis Bechorim
because the Jewish firstborns were saved from Makkas Bechoros—זכר לנס שנצולו.
1) The Be’er Yosef
is bothered why a Bechor nowadays fasts since it
should be the descendants of those Bechorim who fast, not other Bechorim who
descended from people who weren’t Bechorim at the time of Makkas Bechoros? Future Bechorim wouldn’t have been affected by the fact that the
Bechorim were spared unless their ancestors were Bechorim at the time of Makkas
Bechoros. Furthermore, those who are descendants of those Bechorim may
not be fasting (if they are not Bechorim)?
2) If the purpose of a
fast is to publicize the miracle of the firstborns being saved, then why do we
fast? It should be done in a happy way, just as we see with other miracles which
are commemorated with a Seuda.
3) R’ Shlomo Zalman
Aurbach asks that if we fast because the Jewish firstborns were saved from
Makkas Bechoros, then why do we fast on Erev Pesach, the 14th of
Nissan? Makkas Bechoros occurred on the 15th of Nissan, the first
night of Pesach.
is not to publicize the miracle of being saved rather it’s a commemoration (זכר). This is just like we see with Taanis
Esther where we fast as it is a commemoration to the original fast—since they
fasted, we fast. The Zichron Yehuda
says the same is by Taanis Bechorim as the Jewish Bechorim by Makkas Bechoros fasted
because they knew the Bechorim were in danger. That is, despite a divine
guarantee of safety against Makkas Bechoros. This is because in a time of
trouble, one needs heavenly mercy.
firstborns surely fasted to be saved, although they were promised since they
needed heavenly mercy. Rabbeinu Yonah
writes that when Hashem was ready to destroy Mitzrayim, the Jews were in fear and
davened to Hashem that He should fulfill what He said—that the plague of Makkas
Bechoros not affect them—because the way of Tzadikim is not to be confident with
their righteousness, because שמא יגרום החטא. If the Bechorim davened, then they fasted,
as the two go together as in דברי הצומות וזעקתם, the matter of the fasts and their
Therefore, we too today fast as a commemoration to the firstborns fasting in
Consequently, we don’t make it a Simcha rather a fast since that is what it is a
commemoration for. With this we can explain why Taanis Bechorim is on the 14th
although Makkas Bechoros was on the 15th at night—because the Jews
fasted on the 14th.
merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander Ztz”l for close
to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. Rabbi Alt
has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications. He lives
with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes
and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of
Cited in Sefer Taanis Bechorim, p. 22. The reason we commemorate it
on the 14th can’t merely be because the 15th is Yom Tov
causing them to move it to the 14th because then the fast should
have been moved to the 13th, since the 14th of Nissan is
also somewhat of a Yom Tov, as it is Erev Yom Tov and the day that the Korban
Pesach was brought. There are even restrictions against doing various forms of
Melacha on the 14th. Furthermore, when Purim is on Sunday, Taanis
Esther is moved back to Thursday and not to Friday (Shulchan Aruch, Orach
Chaim, 686:2) and when Erev Pesach comes out on Shabbos, Taanis Bechorim is
moved back to Thursday (470:2). The Aruch Hashulchan (470:4) and Mishna Brura
(470:6) explain that the reason Taanis Bechorim is shifted back to Thursday
instead of Friday is because since it’s anyway not in the proper time, it is
preferable to distance it from Shabbos so that the Bechorim don’t enter into
Shabbos while fasting. Based on that, if Erev Pesach isn’t the real time for
the fast, it would seem inappropriate to reschedule the fast to Erev Pesach
thereby causing the Bechorim to enter into Pesach while fasting.
Yehuda, volume 1, 133. This
was authored by R’ Yehuda Greenwald (1845-1920), who was a student of the Kesav
Sofer. He became the Rav of Satmar.