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Fast of The First Born

There is a little known custom related to Passover. I say little known because it only affects first-born (traditionally only male, first born) children. It is called the Fast of the First-borns. First-borns are supposed to fast from sunrise until the Passover Seder. The idea behind the fast is that first-borns commemorate their salvation from the tenth plague in which the angel of death travelled through Egypt slaying all the first-born Egyptians. Some say first-borns fast to commemorate the fear and trepidation those first-borns at the time of the Exodus felt on the first Passover eve.

Yet, another tradition has grown out of this tradition and that is to hold a Siyyum – or celebration of the completion of the study of a tractate of Talmud – at morning services on the eve of Passover. A siyyum involves someone teaching a bit from the tractate of Talmud that was just completed followed by a meal of celebration. All those first-borns that attend minyan that morning and participate in the study are then allowed to break their fast in order to join in the meal of celebration. Participating in the celebration of the completion of the study of a tractate of Talmud overrides the obligation to fast.

This year I undertook to study the tractate of Tamid. I will be sharing some thoughts and teachings from the tractate on Monday morning April 10th following Minyan. Minyan begins at 7 AM. One need not be a first-born to attend services and join the mini-celebration.


For those that have not had the opportunity to sell your chametz, I will be available on Monday morning during and after the siyyum until 9:00 AM.

Wishing everyone a Happy and Healthy Passover

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