We live in Jerusalem, and want to have a picnic outside the city for our Purim seuda. Once we have completed all the other Purim obligations, can we leave Jerusalem and feast outside the city? Rabbanit Surale Rosen
Adar 1 5782 | February 2022
We live in Jerusalem, and want to have a picnic outside the city for our Purim seuda. Once we have completed all the other Purim obligations, can we leave Jerusalem and feast outside the city?
The Mishna in Megilla 19a discusses the various Purim obligations in different cities: in walled cities, Purim is celebrated on the 15th of Adar, and in unwalled cities, Purim is celebrated on the 14th of Adar. The Gemara inquires whether a person who lives in a walled city, who celebrate Purim on the 15th, can read the Megilla for people in an unwalled city, who celebrate on the 14th, when they are not yet obligated in Purim themselves (and by implication, vice versa).
Since your question does not relate directly to the obligation of reading the Megilla, we will summarize briefly that this matter was debated broadly among Rishonim, with two opposing positions presented primarily by Rashi (and others) on one side and the Rosh (and others) on the other. Generally speaking, the obligation depends on where a person was at dawn of the 14th or 15th. One from a walled city who was in an unwalled city on the 14th would be obligated to observe Purim on the 14th, whereas one from an unwalled city tenant who was in a walled city on the 15th would observe Purim on the 15th.
The Mishna raises this issue regarding reading the Megilla; but does one’s geographical location have ramifications regarding the other Purim obligations, such as mishloach manot (the obligation to share food with others), matanot la-evyonim (giving gifts to the poor), and mishte ve-simcha (the obligation to have a feast and be joyful)?
One possible reason for this mitzvah is to increase love and comradery (Manot ha-Levy, cited in the Hatam Sofer 196). According to this reason, the focus of the obligation is on the giver, not the receiver; that is, the giver, who is obligated to increase love and comradery, should be sharing food on the day s/he is obligated to celebrate Purim. Therefore, residents of unwalled cities celebrating on the 14th may give mishloach manot to those from walled cities, who will celebrate the following day.
Conversely, if the reason for mishloach manot is to provide food for the purpose of the Purim seuda (Terumat ha-Deshen 111), the focus of the obligation is the receiver, who should be able to enjoy the food at the seuda. According to this, those from unwalled cities who celebrates Purim on the 14th cannot send mishloach manot to those in walled cities, since they will not eat the food at their Purim seuda on the same day.
According to this approach, if one from a walled city sends mishloach manot to one in an unwalled city, and the food arrives on Purim – since the food will have arrived on time for the Purim seuda, the sender has fulfilled his obligation (Eshel Avraham, R. Openheim, Orah Haim 694a; Resp. Yehuda Yaaleh, Orah Haim 204). Some poskim disagree, since in this case the mitzvah is not performed on Purim by the sender, who has therefore not fulfilled his obligation (Arukh ha-Shulhan, Orah Haim 696:17; Resp. Torah li-Shmah 188).
Out of concern for all the different positions, mishloach manot should be sent to receivers who celebrate Purim on the same date as the sender.
Matanot la-Evyonim (giving to poor people). R. Yosef (Megilla 4b) states that paupers are hopeful when the Megilla is read; in other words, the obligation to read and the obligation to give charity are interlinked, and charity should be distributed to paupers by those who come to hear the Megilla.
The Rambam (The Laws of Megilla and Hanukkah 2:16) writes:
One is obligated to distribute charity to the poor on the day of Purim. At the very least, to give each of two poor people one present, be it money, cooked dishes, or other foods, as implied (in the verse) “gifts to the poor” – i.e., two gifts to two poor people.
We should not be discriminating in selecting the recipients of these Purim gifts. Instead, one should give to whomever stretches out his hand. Money given to be distributed on Purim should not be used for other charitable purposes.
According to the Rambam, charity does not have to be given in the form of money – but can also be given in the form of food for the Purim seuda (Megilla 7b). This ruling will have ramifications on whether one from an unwalled city can give charity to the poor in a walled city: if one who celebrates on the 14th, chooses to fulfill the mitzvah of giving to the poor on Purim by giving food to a pauper who celebrates on the 15th, he would not have fulfilled his obligation, since the pauper is only celebrating the next day.
However, one celebrating on the 14th who wishes to fulfill the obligation of charity by giving money to a poor person celebrating on the 15th should presumably have fulfilled his obligation by doing so, since the money can be used and enjoyed the next day. However, presumably in this case the money should be given on the 15th to ensure it is used on that same day. The question of whether one can fulfill his obligation in this way is debated by Achronim: Resp. Divrei Moshe (38) cites the Minhat Yitzchak’s position that if the pauper celebrating on the 15th will use the money on his own Purim on the 15th, the giver has retroactively fulfilled his obligation on the 14th, by putting the money aside on the 14th, and seeing that the pauper only enjoyed it on his own Purim on the 15th.
Conversely, the Hazon Ish (Dinim ve-Hanhagot Hazon Ish) argues that the purpose of the mitzvah is to spread joy on Purim itself; therefore the giver and receiver both need to observe Purim on the same day for the mitzvah to be properly fulfilled.
Out of concern for all the different positions, matanot la-evyonim should be given to a pauper celebrating Purim on the same day as the giver – or put aside in advance to be distributed on Purim.
Purim Seuda. Based on all of the above, it seems the ramifications of celebrating Purim on different days concern various mitzvot involved in the observance of the chag, and that the mitzvot of Purim should be observed in a manner which takes one’s geographical location into consideration. But is this also true regarding the Purim seuda?
According to several Rishonim (Rashi and others on Megilla 19b), one from an unwalled city (who celebrates on the 14th) who finds himself in a walled city on the 14th but intends to return home that evening (the 15th) – is obligated to read the Megilla and celebrate Purim on the 14th, even though he is not in his own place of residence; since his intention was not to be in the walled city on the 15th, and those from walled cities are not yet obligated to read on the 14th, he is committed to observe Purim based on where he comes from.
According to this, even one who is geographically outside the location that obligates him to celebrate Purim on that day is obligated to celebrate Purim. In your case, since you live in a walled city (Jerusalem), and have already committed to celebrate Purim on the 15th, you can fulfill that commitment by having the seuda outside of Jerusalem; once you have determined the date to which you have committed by being there during the day, you may eat the seuda wherever you please.
Since you committed to celebrating Purim on the 15th by determining your geographical location on Purim in Jerusalem, you may partake in the Purim seuda outside of Jerusalem, and by doing so fulfill your obligation.
Wishing you a happy Purim!