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Three day Purim

Rabbanit Rachel Weinstein

Adar 5781 | February 2021
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What are the laws of Purim Meshulash?

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‘Purim Meshulash’ – A Three day Purim

This year, the 14th of Adar, the day Purim is celebrated in most Jewish communities, falls on a Friday.

The 15th of Adar, on which Purim has been celebrated in Jerusalem and other walled cities from the time of Yehoshua Bin-Nun, falls on Shabbat. When Purim coincides with Shabbat, it is referred to as ‘Purim Meshulash’ – a ‘triangular’ Purim, since the laws of Purim are spread out over the course of three days.

The Shulhan Arukh (Orah Haim 688) explains:

When the 15th [of Adar] falls on Shabbat, the Megillah is not read on Shabbat, but instead moved up to Friday. Money for charity is collected and distributed on the same day. On Shabbat, two [Torah] scrolls are taken out, and in the second we read “And Amalek came,” and we say “Al Hanissim.” The Purim feast is pushed off to Sunday.

The Laws in Jerusalem (and other Walled Cities)

According to the Shulhan Arukh, the laws of Purim in Jerusalem (and other walled cities from the time of Yehoshua Bin-Nun) are as follows:

  1. Megillah is read on Friday, and the mitzvah of matanot la-evyonim (charity) is also performed on Friday.
  2. The Purim feast/seuda is on Sunday, as is the mitzvah of mishloach manot, since mishloach manot is connected with the Purim seuda.
  3. On Shabbat, two Sifrei Torah are taken out: in one we read the parasha, and in the other, the traditional Purim Torah reading (in Shemot 17:8-16).
  4. Al Hanissim is recited only on Shabbat; however, if someone recited Al Hanissim on Friday they should not repeat davening (Mishnah Berurah 117).
  5. Some add Al Hanissim in Birkat Hamazon at the Purim seuda on Sunday (Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu cites this custom).

The Laws in Unwalled Cities

Most communities outside of Jerusalem celebrate Purim on the 14th of Adar, which this year falls on Friday. The laws of Purim are as follows:

  1. Two different positions are cited in the Beit Yosef regarding the Purim feast/seuda on a Friday. According to one position, the Purim seuda should take place early in the day. This is the primary position of the Rema (on Shulhan Arukh 688:2):

 

When Purim falls on a Friday, the feast should take place in the morning, in order to honor Shabbat.

According to an alternative position, cited in the Beit Yosef, the seuda should take place close to Shabbat, and the feast should continue into the Shabbat meal. Some assume this is the default position, while others believe this is a legitimate position but not the preferred course of action. The Meiri (Ketubot 7a) writes that this is the prevalent custom, and preferred observation of the mitzvah. However, it seems the seuda should take place in the morning, as per the Rema’s ruling.

In the event that there is no option of making the seuda in the morning, or if one chooses to have the seuda closer to Shabbat, one should follow the following guidelines:

* Pores mapa u-mekadesh (‘one spreads a cloth [over the challah] and recites Kiddush’) . This is the Halakhic term used for when a meal starts close to Shabbat and then continues into Shabbat. In this case, one should daven Mincha before beginning the seuda (Rema 688:2). Approximately 30 minutes before sunset Shabbat candles should be lit, the challah should be covered, and Kiddush should be recited.

* If wine is consumed at the Purim seuda, and the blessing Boreh peri ha-gafen (בורא פרי הגפן) was already recited, Kiddush is recited without this blessing. After Kiddush, the meal can continue uninterrupted.

* There is a debate whether one needs to recite ‘hamotzi’ again after Kiddush, but the accepted custom is not to do so, based on the principle ‘safek brachot lehakel’ – when in doubt regarding the laws of brachot, we take the lenient position [and do not recite a bracha] (according to Rif, Pesahim 19b, one should repeat the bracha; the Baal Hamaor disagrees, and this also seems to be reflected in the Rambam, Hilkhot Shabbat 29:12).

* One should eat a portion of bread (or challah) that is equivalent to the halakhic measurement of ke-beitza  (app. 1.5-2 slices of bread/challah) after Kiddush, or at the very least a ke-zayit, (app. 1 slice) to ensure one fulfills the obligation of the Shabbat meal.

* Regarding reciting ‘retze’ (רצה והחליצנו) and Al Hanissim in benching: some say one should recite both (the Meiri and Magen Avraham 688:8; but according to Magen Avraham, only if one has not yet davened Maariv). According to Arukh Hashulhan, both should be recited only if Shabbat was brought in earlier, and there is still light outside; if Shabbat was brought in at the normal hour and night has fallen, Al Hanissim should not be recited (Arukh Hashulhan, Orah Haim 688:11, s.v. ‘yesh omrim,‘ where the Magen Avraham cites the Mordechai; however, the Mordechai is relevant to a scenario of early Shabbat). Another position argues that Al Hanissim should not be recited in this meal (Mishnah Berurah 688:15); according to this position, Al Hanissim should be recited at the end of Birkat Hamazon along with the Harachaman invocations.

* Maariv – one davens after the meal.

* The principle of פורס מפה ומקדש (Pores mapa u-mekadesh‘one spreads a cloth [over the challah] and makes Kiddush’) is discussed in the Talmud, in Pesahim 100a, and explicated in Shulhan Arukh, Orah Haim 271:4).

 

Venishmartem Meod Lenafshoteichem: Take Great Care with your Lives

This year, in addition to the complexity of Purim Meshulash, there are additional complications created by the challenges of the worldwide Corona pandemic that continues to plague us.

The Corona restriction can affect davening publicly and Megillah reading, which is usually heard festively, in large crowds. However, one can fulfill the mitzvah of Megillah even when reading alone (Shulhan Arukh, Orah Haim 690:18).

This year Megillah reading will have to be heard in accordance with the restrictions of the Ministry of Health.

Additionally, the safest way to perform the mitzvah of Mishloach Manot may be with bought and closed packages, rather than homemade delicacies.

Most importantly, we need to keep in mind that the best way to perform the mitzvot of Purim is with concern for our own health and safety, and the health and safety of others.

Praying for geula and good health, and a Happy Purim.

Rabbanit Rachel Weinstein

is a graduate of Hilkhata, Matan's Advanced Halakhic Institute and is a certified Meshivat Halakha. She studied in Migdal Oz, and Nishmat. Rachel teaches in her community and is a Yoetzet Halakha. She gives classes for women, teaches Kallot and runs the Matan Beit Shemesh Kallah teachers certification course. She lives in Tekoa and is the mother of 8 children.