How Early the Fast?

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Dear Rabbi Simon,
I was wondering why you are starting the fast of 17 Tamuz (this past Tuesday 11 July 2017) at 3.43 am, when most sources I can find say 1.35am?
Regards
Steven

Dear Steven
The simple answer to your question is that I am following the straightforward approach of Dawn = 72 minutes before sunrise. Others calculate based on degrees below the horizon, which this time of year, at this latitude, makes a big difference.
When it comes to beginning a rabbinic fast such as 17 Tamuz, IMO one can rely on the generally accepted formula which fixes halakhic dawn at 72 minutes before sunrise, any time of year. So you can enjoy a snack until that time. When you go sleep the night before, you should have in mind that you are not beginning the fast until 3:43am.
Bon appetit and have a manageable and meaningful fast
Rabbi Rashi Simon

Questions & Answers
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Questions and Answers

Ask the Rabbi: Quinoa on Pesach
Dear Rabbi Simon,
Where do you stand on quinoa (and the kitniyot ban) for Pesach?
Many thanks,
Tzippy
***
Dear Tzippy,
In line with other American authorities, I am in favour of quinoa. Although I reject completely the voices (mostly from Israel) seeking to abolish the ban on kitniyot entirely, IMO we do not need to include in the prohibition pseudo-grains that were unknown in the Old World until modern times. Best to buy with a Pesach hechsher though, to be free of any possible wheat contamination.
Rabbi Rashi Simon
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