Argentinian Jews able to vote despite fast, Israel's chief rabbi rules
Argentinians are going to the polls on August 11 for their bi-annual primaries in preparation for national elections on October 27. Voting in the South American county is mandatory for all citizens of voting age.
This year, however, the date of the primary voting falls out on the Jewish fast of the 9th of Av (Tisha Be'av) – which commemorates the destruction of both Jewish temples as well as other tragedies in Jewish history – and runs from the evening of August 10 until the evening of August 11.
This puts the Jews of Argentina in a difficult spot. According to Jewish law, written down in the 16th century Shulchan Aruch (Set Table), observant Jews refrain from eating, drinking and dealing with other things, and instead focus their thoughts on the destruction of the temples and the day's other travails.
Should Jews vote in the election and act against this tradition or refuse to vote and risk legal punishment?
Israel's Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau was asked this question. He ruled that while it would be better to vote in the evening after the fast is over once the stars are visible, Jews who can’t do so may vote during the daytime as well.