FRIDAY THE FOURTEENTH - THE LONGEST PURIM
When Shushan Purim falls on Shabbos
Rabbi Yosef Levinson
For us, when Purim, the fourteenth of Adar falls out on Friday as it
does this year, it is the shortest Purim. We must eat the Seudas
Purim (Purim feast) early in the day in order to prepare for Shabbos.
We shuffle between delivering mishloach manos (food gifts to friends)
and cooking for Shabbos, and take care not to mix the barley up with
the bissli, so our friends don't end up with barley and our cholent
with bissli. Whereas usually we prolong the festivities by
celebrating well into the night, this year the celebrations come to an
abrupt end with the onset of Shabbos. Perhaps we feel that our right
to celebrate Purim has been infringed upon. But for our fellow Jews
residing in Yerushalayim the opposite is true. They observe Purim on
the following day. And when Shushan Purim falls on Shabbos, it is the
At the time of the Purim miracle, the Jews of Shushan were granted an extra day to fight their enemies, and to mark this, their celebration was on the following day. When Chazal (the Sages) instituted the festival of Purim, they designated a separate day to commemorate this event. Since Shushan was distinguished as a walled city, they said all walled cities would celebrate the second day as Purim. Wanting to honour Eretz Yisrael, they declared the definition of a walled city to be one that was surrounded by walls at the time of Yehoshua's conquest of Eretz Yisrael. This day is known as Shushan Purim(1).
When Shushan Purim falls on Shabbos, the mitzvos hayom (the mitzvos of that festival) are spread over three days and it is referred to as Purim Meshulash, a three day Purim. The Bnei Yerushalayim (residents of Yerushalayim) have seventy two hours to celebrate, be merry and of course to reflect on the lessons of the day, rather, days. There are many halachos and much discussion concerning the observance of Purim Meshulash. There are sefarim which have been written on this topic alone(2). While most of these laws do not apply to those residing outside Yerushalayim, there are some that are relevant to us. Also, just as in these times we feel the anxiety and suffering of our brethren in Eretz Yisrael, we should also take pleasure in their hour of joy. Studying these laws will also give us a better appreciation and understanding of the mitzvos that we ourselves observe on Purim.
The Shulchan Aruch enumerates the basic halachos of Purim Meshulash:(3) When the fifteenth day of Adar falls on Shabbos(4), the Megilla is not read on Shabbos. Rather the reading is carried forward to Friday. Matanos l'evyonim (gifts for the poor) are collected and distributed on this day. On Shabbos two Sifrei Torah (Torah scrolls) are removed from the Aron (Ark). The weekly portion is read from the first sefer, and from the second we read the end of Parshas Beshalach: Vayavoh Amalek, And Amalek approached(5). (The Haftora is the same as the previous week, Parshas Zachor(6).) However, the Seudas Purim is not made until Sunday. (Included in the seuda is the mitzva of Mishloach Manos as well(7).)
While we basically observe Shushan Purim according to the Shulchan Aruch's ruling, there are many ramifications that he does not discuss. Also, some of his rulings are a source of great debate. Therefore, those who take their Simchas Purim ( joy/celebration of Purim ) very seriously are strict and try to observe all of the various opinions.
KRIAS HAMEGILLA - READING OF THE MEGILLA
The Megilla is not read on Shabbos, rather the reading is forwarded to Friday.
This ruling of the Shulchan Aruch is universally accepted, as it is mentioned explicitly in the Gemara(8). Still, some question whether all the halachos which apply when reading b'zmana (at its the proper time, that is, the fourteenth of Adar for residents of non-walled cities, and the fifteenth for residents of Yerushalayim) also apply for the Bnei Yerushalayim reading sheloh b'zmana (not at the designated time).
When reading the Megilla b'zmana, the halacha states that every effort must be made to hear the Megilla with a minyan (ten men) in order to publicize the miracle(9). However, when a minyan cannot be gathered, the Megilla may be read by individuals and the brachos are recited beforehand(10).
However when the Megilla is read sheloh b'zmana, a minyan must be present. In Talmudic times, it was permissible for villagers to hear the Megilla on the Monday or Thursday preceding Purim. They were not competent in the Megilla reading, so they needed one of the b'nei ha'ir (townspeople) to read it for them(11). This halacha is not applicable today. There is still one instance when the Megilla is read today sheloh b'zmana. Someone who will be travelling on Purim and will not have a kosher Megilla with them, should, before they leave home - provided that it is after Rosh Chodesh Adar - read from a kosher Megilla, without reciting the brachos(12). A minyan must be present at this reading(13).
What is the halacha when the Megilla is read on Friday the fourteenth in Yerushalayim? Is a minyan required since it is not the designated day for reading the Megilla, or do we consider this kria (reading) as if it were read b'zmana and therefore a minyan need not be present?
This question is a very relevant one. Firstly, for many women with young children it is difficult to come to Shul. In any case, are they required to do so? If someone is home bound or hospitalized - may they read the Megilla alone, or must they lose out on this important mitzva?
When the Megilla is being read sheloh b'zmana, a minyan is required for pirsumei nissa (publicizing the miracle). Rashi explains that a minyan is not necessary when the Megilla is read b'zmana(14). Since everyone reads the Megilla on this day, that is sufficient pirsumei nissa. Accordingly, when reading the Megilla in Yerushalayim on Friday, since everyone is reading the Megilla that day, a minyan should not be mandatory. One might have thought that there is actually more pirusmei nissa than usual. Usually, the Megilla is read by inhabitants of regular towns (bnei ha'ir: residents of non-walled towns, such as us) and those of Yerushalayim on two different days. This year both read it on the same day.
That being said, the Mishna Berura requires a minyan(15). If there is no minyan, the Megilla is read without the brachos. He explains that once the Chachamim (Sages) required a minyan for a kria sheloh b'zmana, they did so in all situations even if the reasoning would not apply in one case(16).
However there are many Achronim (later day authorities) who do not accept the Mishna Berura's argument. Since everyone reads the Megilla today, this is sufficient pirsumei nissa. The prevalent custom in Yerushalayim is to follow these opinions and the brachos are recited before the Megilla is read, even if no minyan is present(17). Nevertheless, every effort should be made to hear the Megilla with a minyan(18).
Another issue concerning the Megilla reading is, Does the reading of the Bnei Yerushalayim have the same status as the reading of the bnei ha'ir? Even though they both read the Megilla on the same day, perhaps the bnei Yerushalayim's reading is a lower level mitzva than that of the bnei ha'ir. To better understand this question, let us first analyze why the Megilla is not read on Shabbos.
The Gemara cites two reasons why we are prohibited to read the Megilla on Shabbos(19). Rabbah says that even though everyone is obligated to read the Megilla, not everyone is capable of doing so. Chazal were concerned that one might become so anxious about not being able to fulfil the mitzva, that he might forget that it is Shabbos, and carry a Megilla through a reshus harabim (public domain) to an expert to learn how to read the Megilla. Carrying it there a distance of four amos (cubits) would be an issur d'Araissa, a Biblical prohibition. The Chachamim therefore banned the reading of the Megilla on Shabbos. The Gemara adds that this is also the reason we do not blow shofar on Rosh Hashana or take the arba minim (four species) during Succos if these fall on Shabbos.
Rav Yosef gives an additional reason why we may not read the Megilla on Shabbos. The ani'im (the poor) anxiously await the Megilla reading as they know that matanos l'evyonim will be distributed afterwards. Matanos l'evyonim cannot be distributed on Shabbos, since doing so involves a Shabbos violation (see the relevant discussion below). Because of Chazal's concern over causing the ani'im unnecessary discomfort, Chazal advanced the Megilla reading to Friday. This way the matanos l'evyonim can be allocated on the day that the Megilla is read as usual.
The Commentators discuss why was it necessary for Rav Yosef to give an additional reason, given that he has to agree with Rabbah's reason, which also applies to shofar and lulav as well(20).
The Turei Even suggests that what Rabbah and Rav Yosef are arguing about is whether or not the Friday Megilla reading (brought forward from the Shabbos) has the same status as when it is read b'zmana. The Megilla reading was instituted by the Nevi'im with Ruach Hakodesh, and is mentioned in the Megilla, one of the twenty-four books of Tanach. Thus, even though it may not be a mitzva d'Araissa (Biblical command), given its origin, it is still on a higher level than other mitzvos d'Rabbanan. Rabbah's view is that the restriction of reading the Megilla on Shabbos came into effect only much later, namely in the time of the chachamim, who have the authority to issue decrees in order to safeguard the Torah and to prevent the violation of issurei d'Araissa, Biblical restrictions. They may do so even though this would restrict one from performing a mitzva d'Araissa (positive mitzvos). Thus, Rabbah holds that the later day Chachamim could advance the Megilla reading to Friday to protect one from violating Shabbos, and such a reading would be no different from any other mitzva d'Rabbanan.
However, says the Turei Even, according to Rav Yosef, reading the Megilla on Friday is an observance midivrei Kabbala (enacted by the Nevi'im). Since it was not instituted as a safeguard against chillul Shabbos (Shabbos desecration), sages from a later generation cannot repeal a decree issued by a previous generation. Therefore, when the mitzva of reading the Megilla was established, this early reading was included as part of the mitzva..
A practical application of this dispute is whether a ben Yerushalayim can read the Megilla on behalf of a ben ha'ir. Even though they both have a mitzva - to read the Megilla on Friday - the nature of their obligation is not the same. According to Rabbah, a ben krach (resident of a walled city) cannot read the Megilla for a ben ha'ir, since the ben ha'ir observes the original mitzva which is midivrei kabbala and the ben krach's mitzva is from a later generation and is only a mitzva d'rabbanan. Someone who is obligated to perform a mitzva on a higher level of obligation cannot be exempted by someone who has a lesser obligation in that mitzva(21).
According to Rav Yosef, however, since for Bnei Yerushalayim the Megilla reading on Friday the fourteenth is also midivrei kabbala, a ben Yerushalayim can read on behalf of a ben ha'ir.
This is the Turei Even's opinion. However HaRav Tzvi Pesach Frank suggests that even Rabbah can agree that the Megilla reading is midivrei kabbala for the residents of Yerushalayim(22). We know that the Anshei Knesses HaGedolah, the Men of the Great Assembly, who originated this mitzva, permitted the reading of the Megilla at an earlier time in certain instances(23). However, they did not specify under what circumstances this was allowed. Therefore, Rav Frank writes, they left it to the discretion of the Chachamim of each generation to enact an early reading when warranted. Therefore even though reading the Megilla on Shabbos was banned by a later generation and was then replaced by reading it on Friday, this was done with the authority granted to them by the Anshei Knesses HaGedola. We can thus say that they accorded this reading the same status as when the Megilla is read b'zmana (24). Some rule that if a ben Yerushalayim did read the Megilla for a ben ha'ir, that it is preferable for the ben ha'ir to read the Megilla again without reciting the brachos(25).
Matanos l'evyonim are collected and distributed on this day.
The Chazon Ish explains that matanos l'evyonim cannot be given on Shabbos because of the prohibition of carrying four amos (cubits) in a reshus harabim (public domain) or carrying from a reshus hayachid (private domain) to a reshus harabim(26). He adds that it cannot be because money is muktza, - there is a ban on handling money on Shabbos - because one can fulfil his obligation by giving gifts of food(27).
Ideally when giving matanos l'evyonim, the money should be given on Purim and received on Purim. Normally, for one who wishes to give manos l'evyonim to aniyei Yerushalayim this presents a problem. Since they celebrate Purim on a different day, how can we give them matanos l'evyonim? If we give matanos l'evyonim on the fourteenth when we observe Purim, it is not Purim for the recipients. If we would wait until the next day, when it is Purim for them, it is not Purim for us. The solution, most Poskim agree, is that we can give money to a shaliach (an agent) on the fourteenth and that this would be distributed on the fifteenth when it is Purim for the ani'im(28).
There is no concern this year as everyone gives matanos l'evyonim on the same day. Still, because of the time difference between Eretz Yisrael and the rest of the world, one must still arrange that the gift is given and received when it is the fourteenth of Adar in both locations. For us living in Australia, that means we should not give matanos l'evyonim until late in the afternoon when it is morning in Eretz Yisrael, the correct time to fulfil the mitzva there. This halacha also applies every year,if one gives his matanos to aniyei Eretz Yisrael residing outside of Yerushalayim.
Even though the purpose of matanos l'evyonim is to provide for the ani'im's Purim seuda, which is moved to Sunday, we are not concerned that the ani'im will spend the money given to them on Friday before then. For even if this would happen, one would still fulfil the mitzva. We might add that since there are opinions that the proper time for the seuda is on Friday or Shabbos, then the money was not spent before hand (see Seudas Purim, below).
SEUDAS PURIM - THE PURIM FEAST
The Seudas Purim is not made until Sunday.
Let the festivities begin. This halacha is a source of much controversy. It would appear that the Gemara does not discuss when the Seuda should be held, however the Talmud Yerushalmi(29) does discuss this issue. The Yerushalmi quotes a braissa (teaching of the Tanaim, authors of the Mishna) that when Purim falls on Shabbos, the Megilla reading is advanced. However the Seudas Purim is postponed until Sunday. The Yerushalmi explains why we cannot eat the Seuda on Shabbos. In the Megilla it is written, la'asos osam yemei mishteh v'simcha: to observe [lit. "to make"] them as days of feasting and gladness(30). The verb la'asos implies that the Seuda can only be celebrated if the joy of the day is somehow "made" by Beis Din (Jewish court). Since the Sanhedrin declares which day is Rosh Chodesh, by doing so they also determine on which day we will celebrate Purim. However, when Purim falls on a Shabbos, it is already a day of joy. Since the Kedusha (holiness) of Shabbos is pre-determined - from the time of Creation - and is not dependent on the fixing of the calendar, Purim on Shabbos is not noticeably one that Beis Din proclaimed as a day of celebration(31), or that our joy is in honour of Purim(32).
The Meiri gives another reason why the Seuda may not be held on Shabbos: because mishloach manos cannot be given on Shabbos. Mishloach manos may not be performed on Shabbos because we cannot carry them then(33). Since mishloach manos, and the Seuda are connected mitzvos(34), when we move mishloach manos, we also move the seuda to a different day.
The Rishonim find this Yerushalmi very difficult(35). When the Megilla must be read shelo b'zmana, it is always brought forward. We cannot postpone the reading until after Purim, which the Gemara(36), derives this from the verse v'lo ya'avur - and it shall not pass(37). Elsewhere the reading of the Megilla is compared to the celebration of Purim, from the verse, v'hayamim ha'eileh nizkarim v'na'asim - those days shall be commemorated (by reading the Megilla) and celebrated (38). Based on this, there are Rishonim who disregard the Yerushalmi and rule that the Purim festivities cannot be postponed until Sunday.
Some write that the seuda can take place on Shabbos, the day designated as Shushan Purim(39). In another situation when the Megilla is read before Purim, the Gemara quotes a braissa which states ein simcha elah b'zmana: the celebrations are only held on Purim proper(40).
The Meiri brings another opinion: that the seuda should be held on Friday. This is in accordance with the Yerushalmi, in saying that the seuda cannot be held on Shabbos, and with the Meiri's own reason that mishloach manos may not be given on Shabbos. Another advantage, according to the Meiri, is that the festivities are held on the same day that the Megilla is read. Nevertheless, this appears to be a minority opinion and there does not seem to be any braissa or Gemara that concurs with this ruling.
The Ran comes to the Yerushalmi's defense. He argues that v'lo ya'avur only applies to the Megilla reading. We learn that the Megilla may be read on additional days besides the fourteenth and fifteeth. V'lo ya'avur teaches us that this is only before Purim. Once Purim passes, the Megilla may no longer be read. Even though we compare the mitzva of reading the Megilla to the mitzva of celebrating, that is only in regard to establishing the correct day to celebrate Purim and to read the Megilla(41). However, when the Megilla is read shelo b'zmana, we do not learn one from the other. The Ran says this must be so because in any case we read the Megilla on a different day to when we eat the seuda. Normally, when the Megilla reading is advanced, the seuda is still held b'zmana on the fourteenth. Therefore when Purim falls on Shabbos and cannot be celebrated then as the Yerushalmi explains, the seuda is postponed to Sunday. Since v'lo ya'avur does not apply to the seuda, it is preferable to postpone the seuda. For the general klal (rule) is that whenever a mitzva cannot be performed at the correct time, we postpone it until after the obligation has taken effect(42). The halacha follows the Yerushalmi(43).
However, because of the wide number of opinions, one who is seriously concerned that he fulfils the mitzva of being joyous and merry on Purim properly, should endeavour to eat a seuda on each of the three days(44).
On Friday one should have a meal that includes something additional in honour of Purim, and drink some wine. If it is difficult to do so, one does not have to eat bread during this meal(45). This meal should be eaten before chatzos, midday.
On Shabbos, Shushan Purim, during the Seudas Shabbos, one should serve a special dish in honour of Purim in addition to drinking some wine. In Bircas Hamazon, Al Hanissim is recited. If forgotten, Bircas Hamazon is not repeated, rather when nearing the end, in the Harachman section, one should insert the following: Harachaman hu ya'aseh lanu nissim u'nifla'os ka'asher asa la'avoseinu bayamim haheim baz'man hazeh - The Merciful One should perform for us miracles and wonders as He has done for our fathers in those days at this season- and continue with Bimei Mordechai - In the days of Mordechai, and then complete Bircas Hamazon(46).
On Sunday, the main Seudas Purim is served. However, Al Hanissim is not recited. It is proper, however, to mention it in the Harachaman section of the Bircas Hamazon, see the above paragraph(47).
(The Seudas Purim is not made until Sunday). This includes the mitzva of Mishloach manos as well.
The mitzva of mishloach manos this year is another widely debated topic. While the Yerushalmi addresses when the seuda should be held, it does not discuss when mishloach manos should be given. Nor does the Shulchan Aruch mention it. The reason stated by the Mishna Berura for giving the mishloach manos on Sunday is that many Rishonim and Achronim connect mishloach manos to the seuda.
The Rambam, for example, discusses the mitzva of mishloach manos in the same halacha discussing the seuda(48). Matanos l'evyonim, however, is mentioned on its own. The Shulchan Aruch also mentions mishloach manos together with the seuda(49). He devotes a separate siman (chapter) to the laws of matanos l'evyonim. This can be understood according to the Terumas Hadeshen's explanation of mishloach manos(50). We give gifts of food to our friends to ensure that everyone has food for the Purim feast(51). We also mentioned above that the Meiri explains the reason we do not serve the seuda on Shabbos is because we cannot fulfil the mitzva of mishloach manos. He obviously relates mishloach manos with the seuda.
Apparently then, the halacha should be identical to what we said regarding the seuda. According to the letter of the law, mishloach manos should be given on Sunday as the Mishna Berura explains. However, one should also give mishloach manos on Friday and Shabbos to satisfy the other opinions as well. We can see this from the Maharal Chaviv. He rules that the seuda takes place on Shabbos and he adds that mishloach manos are also given on this day. Moreover, the Pri Chadash says one should serve a seuda and give mishloach manos on both Shabbos and Sunday.
However, the Chazan Ish writes that mishloach manos may not be given on Shabbos. Matanaos l'evyonim cannot be given on Shabbos because this usually involves carrying from a reshus hayachid to a reshus harabim or carrying through the reshus harabim. This applies to mishloach manos as well. We see this also from the Meiri's explanation that the date of the seuda was changed because we cannot give mishloach manos on Shabbos. Even those who disagree with the Meiri and understand that we do serve the seuda on Shabbos, can agree that giving mishloach manos on Shabbos presents a difficulty. The Chazon Ish adds, that if Chazal abolished reading of the Megilla on Shabbos because one might forget and carry the Megilla, then they surely would not tell us to observe a mitzva which by nature, involves carrying into different domains.
The Chazon Ish then explains that according to all opinions, the correct time to give mishloach manos is Friday. He says we cannot separate the mitzva of mishloach manos from matanos l'evyonim: they are both given on the same day(52).
Therefore even if one is lenient in regard to serving a seuda on Friday, he should still give mishloach manos then. The poskim also mention that in an area surrounded by an eiruv, one gift of mishloach manos should be given to a guest at one's seuda. And again on Sunday, one gives mishloach manos.
There is one more very important halacha which the Shulchan Aruch omits, but is quoted by the Mishna Berura(53). Shoalin v'dorshin b'inyano shel yom, we (publicly) inquire and expound on the day's topic(54).
The purpose of the drasha (lecture) is to publicize the miracle on the actual day of Purim. However the Rishonim differ as to the content of the drashos. Rashi explains that a Sage expounds the actual Megilla. The Ritva also understands that it was to discuss the miracle. Other Rishonim(55) explain that the Rabbis would lecture on the laws of Purim. There are proofs to both opinions from the Gemara there.
The Gemara asks why was it necessary to mention this halacha in regard to Purim. We already learnt in a braissa that Moshe Rabbeinu enacted that on each Yom Tov we should inquire and expound on topics relevant to that particular Yom Tov. The laws of Pesach during Pesach, the laws of Shavuos during Shavuos, and the laws of Succos during Succos. The Gemara responds that Purim had to be mentioned specifically because one might think that since Chazal banned the reading of the Megilla on Shabbos out of concern that one would inadvertently carry, perhaps they also banned the public lecture on Purim. One might say, if it is permissible to lecture in public on Shabbos, then it is also permissible to read the Megilla. If the public lecture was expounding the Megilla and discussing the miracle, it is understandable how one can mistakenly confuse the two. Since he is expounding the Megilla and very likely is reading from it. But if the drasha was an halachic discourse, how can the two get confused?
However, a contrary proof is also argued. The Gemara compares Purim with the other Yomim Tovim. On the other Yomim Tovim everybody agrees that we hold a halachic discourse. Therefore, this must also be the case in regard to Purim(56).
There are many other halachos in regard to Purim. It is asked, should Hallel be said in Yerushalayim on Shabbos(57)?
There is also a discussion of a ben krach who is visiting the city before Purim or a townsman who visits Yerushalayim. Does he retain the status of his residence, or does he follow the halacha of where he is at that moment? This depends on when he will return home. There are differences depending on whether they leave on the evening of Purim or the following morning. There are many variables and halachos, and is beyond the scope of this article to discuss(58).
We also must define how far we extend the boundaries of Yerushalayim in determining which of its residents celebrate Shushan Purim. This depends on how close they are to the Old City, or if the Old City is visible, or if there is an undeveloped area separating it from Yerushalayim(59).
However, since "The longest Purim" is becoming the longest article, perhaps we can discuss these halachos in a later issue. An appropriate title could be 'Off the Wall'!
Finally, we did not discuss when one wears his costume and gets dressed up(60). Is it when we hear the Megilla, or when we have the seuda, or perhaps both? May we all merit to celebrate Purim in Yerushalayim so that we can see firsthand.
1 There are other cities that might have been surrounded by walls and they observe both days of Purim as they are in doubt of their status, these halachos apply to them as well. However for the sake of simplicity, we will limit this discussion to Yerushalayim, the only city that observes only Shushan Purim: Piskei Teshuvos 688:8. 2 There are two works titled Purim Meshulash, one authored by HaRav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld, the other by HaRav Divlitsky. 3 Orach Chaim (O.C.)688:6 4 The fourteenth cannot fall on Shabbos, Mishna Berura, (M.B.)688:14. 5 Shemos 17:8 6 Shmuel 1, 15:2, M.B. 688:16b. 7 M.B. 688:18. 8 Megilla, 4b. 9 Even though whenever a minyan is required it must consist of ten men, the Rema 690:18, questions here if women can be included. A minyan here is only necessary to publicize the miracle. Since women must also hear the Megilla, perhaps they too can be counted. He leaves the issue unresolved. 10 O.C. 690:18. 11 Megilla 2a, with Rashi. 12 O.C. 688:7. 13 M.B. 688:20, 690:61. 14 Megilla, 5a. 15 M.B., 688:18. 16 Sha'ar Hatzion, 688:58. The Megilla is still read without the brachos however, because there are Rishonim (early authorities) who hold that even sheloh b'zmana one is only obligated to search for a minyan. Since there is a dispute regarding whether reading the Megilla without a minyan is valid, we read it without reciting the brachos. 17 HaRav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld zt'l, Chazon Ish, Orach Chaim 155:2. The Chazon Ish states that this can be deduced from the Rambam, Hilchos Megilla 1:15 where the Rambam writes when the Megilla is read before the fourteenth of Adar, a minyan is required. Since in Yerushalayim the Megilla is being read on the fourteenth, it was not included in this requirement. The Or Sameach also understands the Rambam this way. We might add that the Mishna Berura's ruling is based on Rashi, ibid 5a. However, there is an apparent contradiction in Rashi's words since another statement he makes seems to agree with the Rambam. This is in fact the conclusion of both the Meromi Sadeh and the S'fas Emes, see there how they reconcile both statements of Rashi. 18 Piskei Teshuvos 691:13, since there are other achronim who rule like the Mishna Berura: The Pri Chadash 691:18; Kaf Hachaim 691:118. See Piskei Teshuvos 691, note 54, where he mentions that if a lady cannot make it to shul, that it is preferable to hear the Megilla reading in the presence of ten women than to hear it alone. 19 Megilla, 4b. 20 Tosafos, ibid;.Pnei Yehoshua, ibid. 21 Mikra'ei Kodesh, Purim 51. The Turei Even writes that there is also a leniency in this ruling. The Behag rules that a lady cannot read the Megilla for a man. He explains that a man's obligation is midivrei Kabbala. Women, however, are only obligated mid'Rabbanan. Reading the Megilla is a mitzvas asei shehazman gramma - a time-bound mitzva from which women are usually exempt. Still since women were also included in Haman's gezeira (evil decree), and were subsequently saved, Chazal instructed that women should also read the Megilla. Since her obligation is lower than a man's, she cannot read for him. However, the Turei Even suggests that when Shushan Purim falls on Shabbos, when men also are obligated mi'd'Rabbanan, a woman may read for a ben krach. 22 Mikra'ei Kodesh, ibid. 23 Megilla, 2a. 24 We should note that these two questions - Does a ben Yerushalayim require a minyan for the Megilla reading? and is their mitzva of a lower degree than that of bnei ha'ir - are independent of one another. Even if bnei Yerushalayim can read the Megilla without a minyan, their reading may still be considered to be on a lower level. The reason that a minyan is not required is that since everyone reads the Megilla on this day, the reading already has sufficient pirsumei nissa. This, though, does not necessarily prove that their reading is on a par with that of the bnei ha'ir. Conversely, even if a minyan is required because it is being read sheloh b'zmana, that is, on a day that was not originally designated for reading, it is still possible that this reading retains the status of a mitzva midivrei Kabbala. According to Rav Yosef, this is so because it was the Anshei Knesses HaGedola who changed the date to Friday. And according to Rav Frank, even Rabbah agrees that the date maintains its original status since it was changed with the permission of the Anshei Knesses HaGedola. However, this presents us with an interesting question. Assuming a ben Yerushalayim can read the Megilla for a ben ha'ir, according to the Mishna Berura, would a minyan be required? Since the Mishna Berura rules that the ben Yerushalayim requires a minyan, if he read without a minyan, he would not fulfil his obligation. However, the ben ha'ir does not need a minyan. Can the ben ha'ir fulfil his mitzva through a ben Yerushalayim, who in this situation cannot fulfil his own obligation? 25 Piskei Teshuvos 688:13. 26 Orach Chaim, 155:1. 27 See, however, the Aruch Hashulchan, 688:17 who does mention that the reason is because money is muktza. An obvious ramification of this difference in opinion occurs when it is possible to send mishloach manos. The prohibition of carrying applies to mishloach manos as well. However, if we cannot give matanos l'evyonim because we cannot handle money on Shabbos, it would still be possible to give mishloach manos. Of course, according to everyone, we cannot carry on Shabbos to fulfil the mitzvos of Purim. The question is, Would we be given a mitzva which can only be observed in limited circumstances and that may perhaps lead to chillul Shabbos? See Seudas Purim and Mishloach Manos below. 28 See Laws of Matanos l'evyonim, Rabbi Yosef Zimbal, Moadim U'zmanim, Vol. 1, No.1. 29 Megilla, 1:4. 30 Esther, 9:22. 31 Korban Ha'eida 32 Ritva. 33 This coincides with the Chazon Ish's explanation of why we can not give matanos l'evyonim on Shabbos. See above, matanos l'evyonim. 34 See below, Mishloach Manos. 35 Ritva, Rashba and Ran on Megilla, 5a. 36 Megilla, 2a. 37 Esther, 9:22. 38 Ibid, 9:28. 39 Ritva, Rashba, ibid.This is probably Rambam's opinion, since in dealing with cases where Shushan Purim falls on Shabbos, he only mentions that the Megilla reading is advanced to Friday, but not when the seuda should take place. We cannot, on our own, assume that the seuda takes place on Sunday. The Rambam does mention that villagers who read the Megilla before Purim eat the seuda b'zmana. We can assume the same when Purim falls on Shabbos. The Maharal Chaviv also rules that Shabbos is the proper time for the seuda to be served (Siman 32). He argues that our Gemara, the Talmud Bavli (Megilla, 30a) argues with the Yerushalmi. When he was in Yerushalayim and Shushan Purim fell on Shabbos, he actually ate the Seudas Purim on Shabbos. However the Magen Avraham (688:10) and the Noda B'Yehuda (Orach Chaim, 1:42) explain that his proof is inconclusive. One might ask, how the Rishonim can dispute the Amoraim of the Talmud Yerushalmi? The Ritva seems to divide this Yerushalmi into two parts. First, the Yerushalmi quotes a braissa which states that the Seudas Purim is postponed and not advanced. The Yerushalmi then interprets this to mean that the seuda is delayed until Sunday and then continues to offer an explanation as to why it cannot be held on Shabbos. However a braissa quoted in our Gemara implies that even when the Megilla reading is advanced, the seuda must take place on Shabbos. Therefore the Ritva, it could be argued, assumes that the Talmud Bavli argues with the Yerushalmi. In such a case we side with the Bavli. Accordingly, he interprets the braissa quoted by the Yerushalmi to mean that even though the Megilla reading is advanced to Friday, the celebrations are "delayed" (so to speak) and instead of being held on the day of the reading, (Friday), are held on Shabbos, when it is Shushan Purim. There is also another braissa in the Tosefta (3:4) which is very likely discussing our situation, when Purim falls in Shabbos. It states that the celebrations are held b'zmana, on Shabbos. 40 Megilla, 4b-5a. 41 Megilla, 2b. 42 Mishna, Megilla 5a. 43 This is the view of the Rif, Ran, Orchos Chaim, the Shulchan Aruch, the Ridvaz, Magen Avraham, the Gra, and Noda B'Yehuda amongst others. 44 HaRav Yosef Chaim Sonnefeld; Kaf Hachmim 688:38. The Mishna Berura mentions the Maharal Chaviv's view and in Sha'ar Hatzion 688:30 writes that the Pri Chadash rules that one should have the seuda on Shabbos and Sunday, but does not mention Friday. 45 There are opinions that one can eat a Seudas Purim without bread. Magen Avraham 695:9. It is only a minority opinion that the seuda should take place on Friday, and the Mishna Berura does not even mention it. Therefore, we may be lenient and eat and drink in honour of Purim. It is worth noting that the She'iltos D'Rav Achai Gaon, 67 writes that on Purim there is an obligation to eat and to thank and praise Hashem for all the miracles that He has performed for us. The Netziv explains in Ha'Emek Sheila that the Sheiltos understands the purpose of the seuda to be to thank and praise Hashem. This, he says, we do in Bircas Hamazon (Grace after meals), with the recital of Al Hanissim. Thus, there is an opinion that if one forgot to mention Al Hanissim in Bircas Hamazon, he must repeat it, even though one would not repeat Shemoneh Esrei if he forgot Al Hanissim. Since Al Hanissim is an integral part of the meal, Birkas Hamazon must be repeated. Obviously then, one must eat bread during the meal. Another reason then why we would not be required to eat bread is that we do not say Al Hanissim on Friday. This, however, presents a difficulty. On Sunday, which is considered the real Seudas Purim, we do not mention Al Hanissim either! Furthermore, there are many opinions that the term seuda is a reference to bread, which is why we eat it. We only mention the Sheiltos as an additional reason. 46 Even though in the previous note, we mentioned an opinion that Bircas Hamazon is repeated, since it is a matter of dispute, we apply the maxim that safeik brachos l'hakeil - we do not recite a bracha if we are in doubt whether it is required. Mishna Berura, 695:15. 47 A fascinating idea is found in the Meshech Chachma (Esther 9:31). He writes that when the Yerushlami said to delay the seuda until after Shabbos, it meant that the seuda should take place on Motzaei Shabbos (Saturday night). The restriction of postponing the seuda until after Purim begins on Sunday morning. He explains that Haman's original gezeira - decree against the Jews on the thirteenth of Adar - was the morning of the thirteenth and the following night. For non-Jews, night always follows the day. It is only according to the Torah that day follows night. Therefore, they battled the day of the thirteenth and the following night, and they rested the fourteenth day, and the following night (In Shushan they fought again on the fourteenth and rested on the fifteenth day and the next night. When Purim was declared a day of celebration, it was instituted b'zmaneihem - in their times - according to the Torah. Since they originally rested on that night which led to Purim being introduced when there is no other option, v'lo ya'avur does not apply. Therefore the seuda is held Motzaei Shabbos. 48 Hilchos Megilla, 2:15 49 688:4. 50 Siman 111 51 See 'Giving or sending', an in depth look at mishloach manos, Rabbi Moshe Donnebaum, Moadin U'Zmanim, vol. 1 No.1. 52 There is perhaps another reason why mishloach manos should be given on Friday (according to the opinions that the seuda is served on Shabbos). Even if we understand that the purpose of mishloach manos is to ensure that one has provisions for the seuda. In a regular year, one can cook and prepare food on Purim day. Even if he does not receive mishloach manos, he can still go buy and or cook and prepare food for the seuda. However on Shabbos one may not cook or prepare food. Surely then, one would not rely on receiving mishloach manos for Shabbos. Since there is a possibility he would not receive any gifts, he would prepare food on Friday for the seuda. Therefore, it would be more appropriate to give mishloach manos on Friday. 53 688:16 54 Megilla, 4a. 55 Rashba; Rambam. 56 The Magen Avraham 429:1 explains that according to Rashi, while they did lecture on halachic topics, they also discussed the miracles of each Yom Tov. It is in regard to this that we compare the two. 57 See Megilla, 14a with the Meiri; Chasam Sofer, O.C. 192. 58 See Piskei Teshuvos, 688:9-11 59 See Chazon Ish, O.C. 153:2; 151; Mikra'ei Kodesh Purim, 29, Minchas Yitzchak, 8:62. 60 See Piskei Teshuvos 696:14.
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