2 (b). [Although the entire Jewish People have accepted the Fast of Esther
as a public fast day], it is not as binding an obligation as the four fasts
mentioned in the prophetic writings (see Chapter 121). Therefore,
leniencies can be taken in a time of need. For example, pregnant and
nursing women and people who are ill, even one who merely feels pain in his
eyes, need not fast if they suffer great discomfort. Similarly, a woman
who has given birth within thirty days and a groom during the seven days
after the wedding, do not have to fast. These people should "repay" this
fast at a later date (1).
In contrast, other individuals who are healthy should not separate
themselves from the community and are obligated to fast. Even a person on
a journey for whom the fast is difficult is required to observe it.
(1) That is, they should fast for a day in the future, to make up for not
fasting during the Fast of Esther.