If the Fast of Esther is Onerous

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Dear Rabbi Simon,

Hope everyone is well. Hadassah has been having some difficulties with fasting over the past few ta’aniyot, even on 10 Tevet (though the Fast ended at 4:40pm). She does not feel well while fasting, and has to spend most of the day in bed. Looking ahead to Adar II, is it possible to be lenient l’chatchila [in the first instance] that she shouldn’t fast at all if she knows she’s going to feel ill from  fasting? Alternatively, how bad does she have to feel before she should be encouraged to eat/drink? I’m talking only of the minor fasts, of course.
Many thanks and tzom kal/Purim same’ah,

Hi Mordechai
Nice to hear from you. In view of your description, for Ta’anit Esther, Hadassah does not need to maintain her fast once she begins to feel weak as a result. That is to say, inasmuch as she is a general healthy young woman I would not recommend her eating breakfast as usual, but once the fast becomes onerous for her she may eat (in moderation) right away.
This guideline needs to be revisited for 17 Tammuz, etc., as the Fast of Esther is slightly more lenient than the other fasts (Tammuz, Av, Gedalya, Tevet).
Best wishes to all the family
Rabbi Rashi Simon

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Ask the Rabbi: Quinoa on Pesach
Dear Rabbi Simon,
Where do you stand on quinoa (and the kitniyot ban) for Pesach?
Many thanks,
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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