Purim Meshulash (continued)

  • Rav Yosef Zvi Rimon

(part 2 of 3)


Last week we discussed the nature of the megilla reading on the Friday of a Purim Meshulash as well as the need for a minyan for the megilla reading.

The Rest of the Laws Pertaining to the Friday of Purim Meshulash


Matanot le'evyonim are given on Friday, for as we have already seen, the law of matanot le'evyonim depends upon the reading of the megilla (the eyes of the poor wait for the megilla reading). This is the law codified by the Shulchan Arukh (688:6).

I. Should Al ha-Nisim Be Said?

The Beit Yosef (688) writes:

And I have found it written that it is the custom of Jerusalem to collect money for matanot le'evyonim and distribute it on that very day, and not to say Al ha-Nisim... and on Shabbat the fifteenth, which is Purim, they say Al ha-Nisim and take out two Torah scrolls, and from the second one they read "Vayavo Amalek" ("And Amalek came" (Shemot 14:8-16). And it is strange to me why they don't say Al ha-Nisim on Friday, the day on which they read the megilla.

The Beit Yosef writes that it is customary not to say Al ha-Nisim on Friday, even though he does not understand the custom. The Shulchan Arukh (688:6) rules that Al ha-Nisim is said on Shabbat and not on Friday (we do things even if we don't understand them). This custom seems to indicate that the main day of Purim is Shabbat, but the Rabbis enacted that the mitzvot of Purim should be observed on Friday and on Sunday. (It may still be maintained that this was all part of the original enactment regarding the mitzvot of the day, and that there is no "advancing" of the megilla reading, as was argued above.) See below regarding one who sets out on the fourteenth and goes to Jerusalem for Shabbat, that there are those who disagree with this assertion.

If a person made a mistake and said Al ha-Nisim on Sunday, he does not have to go back (like someone who inadvertently spoke during prayer – Mishna Berura 108, no. 38; Ir ha-Kodesh ve-ha-Mikdash 26:2). It is advisable to say Al ha-Nisim on Sunday among the Ha-Rachaman's following the Purim meal (see Responsa Halakhot Ketanot II, no. 136; Kaf ha-Chayyim 688, no. 48).

II. Working on Friday

According to the strict requirements of the law, work is permitted on the Friday of Purim Meshulash (Responsa Yabi'a Omer, VI, no. 47). Many, however, are accustomed not to perform work on that day, it being the day of megilla reading (see Purim Meshulash of Rav Sharya Devlitzki, chap. 2, 25)

III. The "Shehecheyanu" Blessing

When reciting the "Shehecheyanu" blessing over the megilla, it is customary to have in mind the other mitzvot of the day as well. There is, however, a problem on Purim Meshulash, for the Purim meal and mishlo'ach manot (sending of gifts) are observed only on Sunday! And since Shabbat is the fifteenth, perhaps the "Shehecheyanu" blessing should be recited on that day!

Owing to this problem, there were those who were accustomed to wear a new garment on the Shabbat of Purim Meshulash and recite the "Shehecheyanu" blessing. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach maintained, however, that this is unnecessary, and that when a person recites the "Shehecheyanu" blessing on Friday, he should have in mind all the other mitzvot which will be observed in the coming days. (Rav Auerbach's position is cited in Rav Karp's Dinei Purim ha-Meshulash, notes 18 and 15).

IV. Shabbat

On Shabbat, we read the Torah portion for Purim, "Vayavo Amalek," as we saw earlier in the words of the Beit Yosef (this ruling is also found in the Eshkol, II, Chanuka u-Furim, end of sec. 8).

Why is there no concern that perhaps a person will go to an expert to learn how to read this Torah section and come to carry, as we are concerned regarding the megilla? Actually, this question arises every Shabbat with respect to the Torah reading. The Tosafot Yom Tov (Megilla 1:2) ask:

And I have a difficulty: If so, why do we read from a Torah scroll on Shabbat?... And my difficulty is resolved with what the Tur writes in Orach Chayyim, beginning of sec. 139, that a Torah reader must first review [the reading] by himself two or three times. If so, all the readers are fluent [with the reading]...

The Tosafot Yom Tov's answer is that since a Torah reader must go over the passage several times before he reads it, there is no concern that he will go off to learn from an expert, for all Torah readers are experts. There is, however, a difficulty with this answer: There is no law requiring the Torah reader to prepare for the reading before Shabbat. It is, therefore, possible that he may intend to review it on Shabbat, and he may end up going to an expert for instruction.


Tosafot Chadashim on the Mishna (and so writes Rav Ya'akov Emden, in his Lechem Shamayim on the Mishna, ad loc.) explains that there is a difference between an obligation falling upon an individual and an obligation falling upon the community. Regarding an obligation falling upon the community, there is no room for a decree, because the members of the community will remind each other that it is Shabbat, and the like. (This is also the explanation of the Gaon of Vilna - see Ma'ase Rav 175, and Divrei Eliyahu, Rosh ha-Shana 29b. The Vilna Gaon adds that for this reason there was no concern about the scrolls of Rut, Shir ha-Shirim, and Kohelet, which according to him should be read in a quorum of ten with a blessing - since they are obligations falling upon the community).

An alternative solution may be suggested: We saw earlier that the Sages' concern was limited to things peculiar to the holiday, and that because of the nature of the holiday, a person might forget about the Shabbat prohibition and act in accordance with the rules of the holiday. Torah reading, however, occurs every Shabbat, and so there is no concern that a person will forget that it is Shabbat and come to carry a Torah scroll, just as there is no such concern on an ordinary Shabbat.

V. Purim Discourse

The Gemara in Megilla 4a states:

If Purim falls out on Shabbat, discussions and discourses are held on the subject on the day.

This ruling is brought in the Mishna Berura (688, no. 16), who adds that on an ordinary Purim there is no need for a special discourse, for the megilla reading suffices to publicize the miracle. In light of this, the discourse on the Shabbat of Purim Meshulash must deal primarily with matters related to Purim (see Responsa Minchat Yitzchak, VII, no. 50, who writes that one must see to it that such discourses take place in Jerusalem).

To summarize:

* On Shabbat, we say Al ha-Nisim.

* For maftir, we read "Vayavo Amalek," and for the haftara, we read the haftara of Zakhor.

* A discourse is delivered about Purim and the greatness of the miracle.

VI. The Purim Meal

It would seem that the Purim meal should be eaten on Shabbat, for there are no concerns about the Purim meal. The Yerushalmi (Megilla 1:1), however, writes that the Purim meal should not take place on Shabbat:[8]

The Purim meal is pushed off and not advanced... "To make them days of feasting and joy" ... that whose joy is dependent upon the court, to the exclusion of that whose joy is dependent upon Heaven.

This Yerushalmi is brought by the Rif (3a in Alfasi, last line).

According to the Yerushalmi, since the joy of Shabbat is determined on high, it is not the appropriate time for the joy of Purim, which should come on a day which is not already a day of joy determined in Heaven.

The Yerushalmi can be understood in two ways: 1) A diminishment of Purim: a Purim meal on Shabbat is not called a Purim meal. 2) A diminishment of Shabbat: A Purim meal on Shabbat "swallows up," as it were, and nullifies the Shabbat meal.

An objection may be raised against this Yerushalmi, for it is generally accepted that Shabbat (as opposed to the festivals) is not a day of joy. For this reason, the Tosafot write (Mo'ed Katan 23b, s.v., man de'amar) that the three major festivals interrupt mourning, but Shabbat does not interrupt mourning, and even counts towards the seven days of mourning. The Halakhot Gedolot issued a similar ruling (Hilkhot Evel), and so too the Geonim (Responsa Geonim, Sha'arei Teshuva, no. 30) write that on Shabbat there is oneg, "delight," but not "simcha," joy (see also Responsa Rabbi Akiva Eiger, addenda to no. 1).

This question may be answered in two ways:

  1. It may be that the Yerushalmi disagrees and maintains that there is indeed an obligation to rejoice on Shabbat. Proof for this may be brought from the text of the prayer: "They should be happy in your kingdom." (See Shibbolei ha-Leket, 82). Machzor Vitri writes (like the Mishna Berura) that there is a mitzva of joy on Shabbat, but it is not stated explicitly as in the case of the other holidays.
  2. It may be that there is no mitzva of joy (simcha) on Shabbat, but only one of delight (oneg). But nevertheless, since the day is marked by special meals, the Purim meal will not be manifest. Thus writes the Ritva (Megilla 5a) in explanation of the Yerushalmi (even though he argues with it): "So that the joy of Purim be manifest, and not mixed up with the Shabbat meal."

There were, however, Rishonim who disagreed with the Yerushalmi. The Ritva (Megilla 5a, s.v., od) writes that the verse reads "And it shall not pass" (Esther 9:27), which teaches that the meal may not be pushed off:

This Yerushalmi is not clear, for surely the verse which states: "And it shall not pass" refers even to [the mitzva of] joy.

The Ran (3b in Alfasi) rules in accordance with the Yerusahlami, and resolves the difficulty as follows:

That which the verse says, "And it shall not pass," refers to the reading [of the megilla], but the verse does not speak about joy whatsoever.

The Eshkol (II, p. 29) adds that even the Shabbat meal counts as a Purim meal. The meal eaten on Sunday is only a make-up meal, that is, it is an additional meal eaten so that the Purim meal should be clearly manifest. (There is no violation of "And it shall not pass," because the Shabbat meal already counted as the Purim meal.)

The Meiri (Megilla 5a) cites an opinion that the Purim meal should be eaten on Friday. Why wasn't this position accepted by the Yerushalmi, the Rishonim, and the Acharonim? It seems that it is preferable that the Purim meal should not be celebrated on Friday, because it is only on Purim that the obligation comes into being, and if for some reason the meal cannot be eaten on that day, it should be made up later. (It is for this reason that we always make things up afterwards, rather than in advance). While with respect to the megilla, there is a special law that allows the reading to be advanced, the Sages did not want to apply this to the other mitzvot (with the exception of matanot le'evyonim, which depends upon the megilla, as explained above).

Moreover, it is possible that the Shabbat meal counts as the Purim meal (at least minimally), and therefore the Sages preferred not to add another meal on Friday, which is generally inappropriate for meals of this type (even the residents of the unwalled cities eat their Purim meal early in the day when their Purim falls out on Friday).[9]

The Shulchan Arukh (688:6) rules that the Purim meal is eaten on Sunday:

When the fifteenth [of Adar] falls out on Shabbat, the megilla is not read on Shabbat. Rather, the reading is advanced to Friday. Money is collected for matanot le'evyonim and distributed on that very day. On Shabbat, two Torah scrolls are taken out, and from the second we read, "Vayavo Amalek." And we say Al ha-Nisim. And the Purim meal is not eaten until Sunday.

While the Mishna Berura brings the opinion of those who maintain that the Purim meal should be celebrated on Shabbat, he brings many Acharonim who follow the Shulchan Arukh that the Purim meal is eaten on Sunday. It would appear that this is the view of the Mishna Berura himself.

We, therefore, rule that the Purim meal should be eaten on Sunday. This is the ruling of the Chazon Ish (39, 1), Responsa Yechave Da'at (IV, no. 40), Responsa Minchat Yitzchak (I, no. 39, and elsewhere). There are those who were accustomed to eat a Purim meal on Shabbat as well - Peri Chadash, ad loc. It is possible, however, that stringency in this regard is not desirable, if the problem with the Purim meal on Shabbat is because of the diminishment of Shabbat. There are those who add a special dish to the Shabbat meal in honor of Purim; and there are those who add a special dish also on Friday; see Kaf ha-Chayyim (688, nos. 38 and 45), Calender for Eretz Israel of Rav Tykocinski, and Purim Meshulash of Rav Sharya Devlitzki.


Rav Shlomo Kluger in his Responsa Ha'alef Lekha Shelomo (Orach Chayyim, no. 385) adds an interesting argument:

And when I was by myself, I thought of another reason not to do it on Shabbat. Since at the Purim meal we require that a person drink to the point that he is unable to distinguish between cursed Haman and blessed Mordechai, and on Shabbat we require, "Remember the Shabbat day to make it holy," and that a person not forget it from his heart.

If a person drinks alcoholic beverages and becomes intoxicated, he cannot fulfill "Remember the Shabbat day to keep it holy." These words may very well embody a general principle, that Chazal did not want the holidays to "swallow up" Shabbat and especially not Purim, the whole day of which involves the special mitzvot of the day: megilla reading, the meal, and mishlo'ach manot. For this reason, they divided up the mitzvot between Friday and Sunday.

VII. Mishlo'ach Manot

The posekim disagree about the rationale for mishlo'ach manot:

1. The Terumat ha-Deshen (no. 131) explains that the reason is that people should be able to use the foodstuffs that they received for the Purim meal (so writes also the Kolbo, 45, and the Orchot Chayyim, Hilkhot Purim, no. 36):

Question: People who on Purim send their friends garments, sheets, or the like - do they fulfill [the mitzva of] mishlo'ach manot or not?

Answer: It appears that they do not fulfill [the mitzva], because the reason for mishlo'ach manot seems to be that everyone should have enough to properly observe the [Purim] meal...

2. The Sefer Manot ha-Levi [of Rav Alkabetz, chap. 9, sec. 19, cited in Responsa Chatam Sofer, Orach Chayyim, 196), Maharal (Or Chadash 9, 22), and the Bach (end of sec. 695): The reason for mishlo'ach manot is to increase love and friendship. The Bach formulates this idea as follows:

The reason for mishlo'ach manot is that a person should be happy and rejoice together with his friends and colleagues, and to cause love, fraternity, and friendship to dwell among them.

According to the first rationale, it is clear that the mitzva of mishlo'ach manot must be observed on Sunday, like the Purim meal. According to the second rationale, the matter remains open.

However, even according to the second reason, it is clear that mishlo'ach manot should not be sent on Shabbat, for this too should fall under the decree, "lest a person come to carry in the public domain" (so writes the Meiri in Megilla 5a). The Orchot Chayyim (Purim, 36) writes that since it is impossible to send mishlo'ach manot on Shabbat, therefore, we also do not celebrate the Purim meal on that day (that is to say, the Purim meal is pushed off on account of mishlo'ach manot).

The options that remain, therefore, are Friday and Sunday. We saw above that the Purim meal is pushed off to Sunday, and we explained that it stands to reason that prior to Shabbat there is no obligation, and therefore it cannot be celebrated on Friday. It seems that this should apply to mishlo'ach manot as well.

Nevertheless, the Chazon Ish (155) writes that it is proper to send mishlo'ach manot on Friday, because he maintains that mishlo'ach manot and matanot le'evyonim should be performed at the same time. Some of the posekim have questioned whether there is a source for such an assertion. The Peri Chadash writes that it is proper to send mishlo'ach manot both on Shabbat and on Sunday (this is also his position regarding the Purim meal, that it is proper to celebrate it on both days). The Birkei Y(688, no. 15) writes that mishlo'ach manot are sent on the day of the Purim meal. So too writes the Mishna Berura that mishlo'ach manot are sent on Sunday (the day of the Purim meal).

In practice: It is customary to send mishlo'ach manot on Sunday. There are those who give mishlo'ach manot also on Friday (and some are accustomed to give also on Shabbat) in order to fulfil the mitzva even according to those who are more stringent.

VII. A Resident of an Unwalled City Who Went to a Walled City and the Like


A resident of an unwalled city who fulfilled his obligation in the unwalled city on Friday, and went to Jerusalem for Shabbat:

The law applying in this case depends upon the following question: Does the obligation of Purim for Jerusalemites fall out on Friday or on Shabbat? If it falls out on Friday, then the person who came from outside of Jerusalem should be totally exempt from obligation in Jerusalem (for on Friday at dawn he was in an unwalled city).

If the obligation falls out on Shabbat, then it would seem that the visitor should become obligated once again in all the mitzvot of Purim (with the exception of megilla reading). Even according to this alternative, however, a distinction should be made between two types of people (this distinction is valid in an ordinary year as well): If the person is a resident of an unwalled city, he may not be required to celebrate Purim a second time in Jerusalem. If, however, he is a resident of Jerusalem, he should be required to celebrate a second Purim (according to Rav Frank, following the Yerushalmi, that a resident of an unwalled city is only obligated to celebrate Purim a second time if he "uproots" himself and settles in a walled city).

It would seem that the obligation falls out on Shabbat, for it is on Shabbat that Al ha-Nisim is recited and the Torah portion of "Vayavo Amelek" is read. Moreover, if the obligation were on Friday, it should have been necessary to celebrate the Purim meal and send mishlo'ach manot on Friday. It is, however, possible that the obligation comes into being on Friday, but for various reasons, the Sages decided to divide up the mitzvot of Purim in Jerusalem over three days.


Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (cited in Dinei Purim Meshulash, Hilkhot Chag be-Chag, notes 52 and 56) inclines towards leniency even for a native Jerusalemite (who fulfilled his obligation on Friday in an unwalled city, and then returned to Jerusalem for Shabbat). He maintains that the recitation of Al ha-Nisim and the reading of "Vayavo Amalek" are not part of the essential mitzvot of Purim.

In the case of a Jerusalemite who fulfilled his obligation as a resident of an unwalled city, it is proper to be stringent and observe a Purim meal and mishlo'ach manot also on Sunday (in addition to Friday). Such a person can, however, do so in minimal fashion (if he wishes to rely on Rav Auerbach and not celebrate Purim in Jerusalem in any way, he certainly has what to rely upon).[10]


A Jerusalemite who was in Jerusalem on Friday, read there the megilla and distributed matanot le'evyonim - may he spend Shabbat in Tel Aviv?

If the obligation of Purim for Jerusalemites comes into being on Shabbat, he may not be obligated at all to celebrate Purim (for at dawn of the fourteenth, he was in a walled city, and at dawn of the fifteenth, he was in an unwalled city). It stands to reason, however, that even according to this view, he becomes obligated in Purim, though, ideally speaking, he should certainly not put himself in such a situation. If the obligation comes into being on Friday, he becomes obligated as a Jerusalemite. Hence, if he goes away for Shabbat, he loses out on the Purim Torah reading. (On Shabbat he should recite Al ha-Nisim.[11] On Sunday he should have his Purim meal and send mishlo'ach manot, even if he is not in Jerusalem, though here too he may lose out on the fulfillment of a mitzva, because there are those who maintain that the recipient of mishlo'ach manot must be obligated in the mitzva).

VIII. The Purim Meal on Friday - for the Residents of Unwalled Cities

The Purim meal must be eaten on Friday morning (before noon) or before mincha ketana (see Mishna Berura 695, no. 10). There are individuals who are accustomed to celebrate the meal in the afternoon. According to them, when Shabbat arrives, they cover the bread and recite kiddush (without reciting another blessing on the wine). They then say Kabbalat Shabbat, after which they continue the meal, eating bread the size of an olive (Mishna Berura 271, no. 2), and preferably the size of an egg, in fulfillment of the Shabbat meal (Mishna Berura 291, no. 2). When they finish their meal, they recite Birkat ha-Mazon, and then Arvit. There is, however, a question regarding Al ha-Nisim in Birkat ha-Mazon, [12] and usually they end up forfeiting saying Arvit with a quorum of ten. The general custom, therefore, is to advance the meal to Friday morning.

IX. Tachanun on Sunday - For the Residents of Unwalled Cities

There is an additional ramification for the residents of unwalled cities. Should the residents of unwalled cities recite tachanun on Sunday, the sixteenth of Adar? Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach maintains (Halikhot Shelomo 11, 5, Ve'alehu Lo Yibol I, p. 349) that the custom is that even the residents of unwalled cities refrain from reciting tachanun on that day.

Appendix: The Blessing of "Harav Et Rivenu"

With Less Than Ten People[13]

The Mishna in Megilla 21a states:

In a place where it is customary to recite the blessing, one should recite the blessing, and [in a place where it is customary] not to recite the blessing, one should not recite the blessing.

The Gemara (21b) explains that the Mishna is referring to the blessing of "Harav et rivenu":

"In a place where it is customary to recite the blessing, one should recite the blessing." Abaye said: This applies only to [the blessing] after [the megilla reading], but before [the reading], there is a mitzva to recite a blessing.

Since the "Harav et rivenu" blessing is a custom, the Orchot Chayyim (Megilla, 7) writes in the name of the Yerushalmi that the blessing is only recited in the presence of a quorum of ten people. Rashi rules, however, that a quorum of ten is not required (Machzor Vitri, end of no. 245 in Rashi's name; Responsa Rashi, no. 129; Sefer ha-Ora, no. 67; Shibbolei ha-Leket, no. 195).

The disagreement may reflect different understandings of the nature of the blessing. The Ran (Megilla 21b) writes that this blessing is not connected to the megilla, but rather it is a blessing on the miracle. The Ritva expresses a similar opinion (Berakhot 21b). The Tur, however, understands that it is a blessing on the megilla (and therefore there may be a problem of interruption). If it is a blessing on the megilla, it would seem that it may be recited even by an individual. If it is a blessing on the miracle, the Sages may have enacted that it should be recited only in a place where there is pirsumei nisa, publicizing of the miracle, similar to the "Ha-Gomel" blessing and the blessing "She'asa li nes," which are only recited in the presence of ten.

The Shulchan Arukh and the Rema (692) rule that the blessing is only recited in the presence of ten. Some Acharonim disagree with this ruling, arguing that the blessing is recited even by an individual (Responsa Radbaz, II, no. 665; Eliyahu Rabba 692, no. 8; Ben Ish Chai, Tetzave no. 13). The Peri Megadim and the Be'ur Halakha (692), however, rule that the blessing should only be recited in the presence of ten. The same ruling is found in Responsa Yabi'a Omer (VIII, Orach Chayyim, no. 56; Yechave Da'at, I, no. 88).

When, however, there are ten women present, Rav Ovadya Yosef rules in the aforementioned Responsa Yabi'a Omer, that it is possible to join together the opinion that a quorum of ten is not necessary and the opinion that ten women are regarded as a congregation for the purpose of pirsumei nisa (see above, note 6), and recite the blessing (see also Responsa Tzitz Eli'ezer, XIII, no. 73). On the other hand, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Halikhot Shelomo 276) maintains that the "Harav et rivenu" blessing should not be recited even if there ten women present.

We will summarize our study of Purim Meshulash in our next installment.



[8] The Yerushalmi's ruling may be restricted to the case where the fourteenth of Adar falls out on Shabbat; but if the fifteenth falls out on Shabbat, the Purim meal should certainly be pushed up to Friday, because the fourteenth is Purim for everybody. This is also the opinion of Rav Elchanan Samet.

[9] For an additional reason, see below, section "Mishlo'ach Manot": since it is impossible to send mishlo'ach manot on Shabbat, lest a person carry in the public domain, the Purim meal is also not celebrated on Shabbat.

[10] He should recite Al ha-Nisim like Jerusalemites. Some maintain that he should say it only in "Elokai Netzor" and in "Ha-Rachaman" (Purim Meshulash, Rav Sharya Devlitzki).

[11] In "Elokai Netzor" and in "Ha-Rachaman."

[12] If he ate bread after nightfall, he should say RetzeMishna Berura, no. 15, according to the Meiri in Ketubot 7a). He should also say Al ha-Nisim, because a miracle occurred also on the fifteenth. (The general custom, as stated above, is to celebrate the Purim meal early in the day, and not to follow the path suggested here of a Purim meal going into Shabbat. The Kaf ha-Chayyim, 271, no. 22, writes that according to the Ari, kiddush should be recited after Arvit. The Meiri, however, writes in Ketubot 7a, that the custom is to continue the Purim meal into Shabbat.)

[13] This law applies in all years, and not only to Purim Meshulash.

(Translated by David Strauss)