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Beit Midrash Bet Midrash Halachot of Purim and Adar

What Happens When Purim Coincides With Shabbos?

Halachot of Purim Meshulash

How does one keep Purim when it falls on Shabbos? When do we observe the mitzvos and halachos of Purim?
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A Quick Quiz
Under what circumstances would one distribute shalach manos and matanos la’evyonim on different days?

When do we read Megillas Esther after a tefillah in which we did not recite al hanissim?

When do we read the daytime Megillas Esther without first reading the Torah?

How can one bench on the Purim Seudah without reciting Al Hanissim?

The answer to all these questions is: When the fourteenth of Adar falls on Friday, and the fifteenth is on Shabbos. When this occurs, Jews living in Yerushalayim and other "walled cities" observe the mitzvos and halachos of Purim on three different days, some on Friday, some on Shabbos, and some on Sunday. Therefore, this phenomenon is called "Purim HaMeshulash," "The Tripled Purim." (Although grammatically it is Purim hameshulash, people usually call it "Purim Meshulash.")

WALLED VS. UNWALLED
Mordechai and Esther decreed that cities, towns and villages that have no surrounding wall should observe Purim on the fourteenth of Adar, whereas walled cities observe Purim on the fifteenth. According to the Gemara, the walled cities of their decree referred to cities that had a wall at the time that Yehoshua and the Bnei Yisroel entered Eretz Canaan, plus the city of Shushan itself (even though it had no wall at that time). Because we are uncertain which cities were indeed walled that far back, only Yerushalayim and Shushan observe Purim completely on the fifteenth of Adar, although several other places observe both days because of doubt.

Thus, in ordinary years, as Purim ends in other parts of Eretz Yisroel and the rest of the world, it is just beginning in Yerushalayim.

WHY IS THIS YEAR DIFFERENT FROM ALL OTHER YEARS?
Because the fifteenth falls on Shabbos this year, we cannot fulfill many of the Purim mitzvos on Shabbos. Exactly which mitzvos cannot be fulfilled on Shabbos, and whether they are performed before or after Shabbos as a result, is sometimes disputed with interesting halachic and historical results.

The Mishnah (Megillah 2a) instructs that when the fifteenth of Adar falls on Shabbos, the walled cities read Megillah on Friday, the fourteenth, the same day that the non-walled cities observe Purim.

WHY DO WE NOT READ THE MEGILLAH ON SHABBOS?
We do not blow the shofar on Shabbos of Rosh HaShanah nor do we fulfill the mitzvah of lulav and esrog when the first day of Sukkos is on Shabbos. In both instances, we are concerned that someone might violate the Torah prohibition of carrying a shofar or a lulav on Shabbos in a public domain. Similarly Chazal prohibited reading Megillah on Shabbos out of concern that someone might thereby forget and carry it (Gemara Megillah 4b). It is worth noting that according to many poskim a Megillah scroll is muktzah on this Shabbos since Chazal prohibited reading it (Pri Chodosh). Others contend that it is not muktzah since the prohibition was only to not read the Megillah to fulfill the mitzvah, but one may study from it on Shabbos (Mishnah Berurah 308:22).

WHY READ THE MEGILLAH ON FRIDAY RATHER THAN SUNDAY?
Question: If we cannot read the Megillah on Shabbos, why don’t we read it on Sunday rather than Friday. After all, when Tisha B’Av and Shiva Assar Bi’Tammuz fall on Shabbos, they are postponed to Sunday and not moved forward to Friday. So why is Megillah reading moved to Friday?

Answer: The Megillah states that the days of Purim "should not pass by." The Gemara explains that therefore one cannot postpone reading the Megillah past the fifteenth. Therefore when residents of Yerushalayim cannot read the Megillah on Shabbos, they read it on Friday.

DOES THAT MEAN THAT PURIM IN YERUSHALAYIM IS ON FRIDAY? WHEN DO YERUSHALMIM RECITE AL HANISSIM?
Although Chazal ruled that Yerushalayim residents read the Megillah on Friday, Purim in Yerushalayim is still on Shabbos, the fifteenth. Therefore, Yerushalmim recite al hanissim in davening and benching only on Shabbos, but not on Friday (Shu"t Maharalnach #32). Someone who mistakenly recited al hanissim in davening or benching on Friday in Yerushalayim does not repeat them (Birkei Yosef 688:14; Mishnah Berurah 688:17).

Similarly, the Purim reading of the Torah, VaYovo Amalek, that recounts Amalek’s malicious attack on the Jews in the Desert (Shemos 17:8-16), is read on Shabbos in Yerushalayim and not on Friday (Shu"t Maharalnach #32). It functions as the maftir on Shabbos. The haftarah recited afterwards describes Shaul’s defeat of Amalek (Shmuel I, Chapter 15) and is also read on Parshas Zachor, the previous Shabbos (Shu"t Maharalnach #32; Magen Avraham 688:8).

There is no reading of the Torah in Yerushalayim on Friday -- thus, the Megillah is read without first reading the Torah, a unique phenomenon. Although Friday is not Purim, one should wear Shabbos clothes in honor of the Megillah reading and greet people the way one would on Purim rather than as one would on a weekday (Seder Purim HaMeshulash of Rav Yosef Chayim Zonnenfeld, hereafter called simply "Rav Yosef Chayim Zonnenfeld").

IS THERE ANY SUBSTITUTE FOR THE MEGILLAH ON SHABBOS?
Although in Yerushalayim we do not read the Megillah on Shabbos, Chazal instituted a replacement to remind people that Shabbos is Purim. It is a mitzvah to hold shiurim on Shabbos that discuss the midrashim of the Purim story (Gemara Megillah 4a; see Rashi and Ran; Magen Avraham 688:9).

So far we have explained some of the observances of Friday and Shabbos of "Purim Meshulash." How did Sunday become part of the Purim observances?

The answer to this question is halachically and historically intriguing.

WHEN DO YERUSHALMIM EAT THE PURIM SEUDAH?
The Talmud Yerushalmi derives from various verses that the eating of the Purim seudah cannot be on Shabbos, but is postponed until after Shabbos. Although the reading of the Megillah cannot take place after the fifteenth, the festive meal may (Megillah 1:4, quoted by the Rif 3a). Thus, according to most opinions, Yerushalmim celebrate the Purim seudah on Sunday (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 688:6).

Why is Sunday a more appropriate day to celebrate the seudah than Friday? Since Friday is not Purim in a walled city, Chazal postponed the main celebration of Purim to Sunday rather than hold it on Friday which makes it harder to prepare for Shabbos (Rav Yosef Chayim Zonnenfeld).

According to one opinion, the Yerushalmi means that one should eat the Purim seudah on Motzei Shabbos (Meshech Chachmah to Megillas Esther). To the best of my knowledge, no one follows this approach.

A BOLD RAV AND A CONTROVERSY
In the sixteenth century, the Rav of Yerushalayim, the Maharalnach (Rav Levi ibn Chaviv), ruled that when the fifteenth of Adar falls on Shabbos, one should eat the Purim seudah, including the special merriment and drinking, on Shabbos, not on Sunday. Although he agreed that according to the Talmud Yerushalmi the Purim seudah and celebration should take place on Sunday, he contended that the Talmud Bavli disagrees, and that the halacha follows the Bavli. Maharalnach rallied support from several Rishonim that one should celebrate the Purim seudah on Shabbos, and not on Sunday which is after Purim.

Although some poskim rule like Maharalnach (Taz 688:8), the consensus of poskim is to follow the Yerushalmi and celebrate the Purim meal on Sunday (Magen Avraham 688:10; Mishnah Berurah 688:18; Chazon Ish 155:1). However, the custom is to serve an extra course on Shabbos in honor of the Maharalnach’s ruling (Rav Yosef Chayim Zonnenfeld).

In addition to the above opinions, some poskim contend that Yerushalmim should eat the Purim Seudah on Friday, the same day that they read the Megillah (Meiri to Megillah 5a). It is curious to note that all opinions except that of Maharalnach agree that Yerushalmim should eat the Purim seudah on a day when they do not recite al hanissim. Thus, one benches on Shabbos with al hanissim, but without fulfilling the mitzvah of seudas Purim, and one fulfills the mitzvah of seudas Purim on a day that is not Purim without reciting al hanissim. Some add al hanissim to the end of benching as part of the "Harachaman’s" (Kaf HaChayim 688:48). Since Yerushalmim celebrate Purim on Sunday, they should wear Shabbos clothes and wish people Purim greetings on that day also (Rav Yosef Chayim Zonnenfeld).

It is also interesting to note that according to Maharalnach there is no such thing as "Purim Meshulash," since all the observances of Purim are either on Friday or on Shabbos. This results in another dispute. Although the davening of the Sunday after Purim is that of an ordinary weekday, since it is the day that Yerushalmim celebrate Purim, they omit tachanun and lamneitzach (Rav Chayim Zonnenfeld). However, according to Maharalnach, they should recite tachanun and lamneitzach.

WHEN DO YERUSHALMIM DISTRIBUTE MATANOS LA’EVYONIM AND SHALACH MANOS?
All opinions agree that Yerushalmim distribute matanos la’evyonim on Friday - the day they read the Megillah (Shu"t Maharalnach #32). This is because of the Gemara’s statement that one should give matanos la’evyonim on the day that one reads the Megillah because the poor expect to receive their matanos on the day they hear the Megillah (Gemara Megillah 2b). A Yerushalmi who forgot to give matanos la’evyonim on Friday should give them on Sunday (Rav Yosef Chayim Zonnenfeld).

The poskim dispute when Yerushalmim distribute shalach manos in a year of Purim Meshulash. According to the Maharalnach quoted above, just as they celebrate the seudah on Shabbos, so too they distribute shalach manos on Shabbos, obviously without violating carrying on Shabbos (Taz 688:8).

Many poskim object to this ruling, contending that Chazal would never have instituted shalach manos in a way that could easily lead to chillul Shabbos, chas v’shalom (Chazon Ish 155:1).

If one does not distribute shalach manos on Shabbos, are they given on Friday or on Sunday? Some poskim contend that Yerushalmim should distribute shalach manos on Friday when they distribute matanos la’evyonim (Chazon Ish 155:1). Most poskim rule that one should give shalach manos on Sunday since this is the day of the Purim meal and the main day of festivities (Shu"t Radbaz #508; Mishnah Berurah 688:18). This is based on the Rambam, who implies that the observance of shalach manos and of the seudah are interrelated (Hilchos Megillah 2:15).

Later poskim recommend distributing a minimal amount of shalach manos on both Friday and Shabbos to fulfill the minority opinions (of course, exercising care on Shabbos not to violate carrying), and to give most of one’s shalach manos on Sunday (Rav Yosef Chayim Zonnenfeld).

ON WHICH DAY DOES ONE WEAR COSTUMES?
Even this question is discussed by poskim. The conclusion is that one should wear them on the day that is celebrated with wine and a festive meal - which is Sunday (Piskei Tshuvos 696:14).

SHEHECHIYANU
On a typical Purim, when hearing Shehechiyanu on the Megillah one should have in mind to include the other mitzvos of the day - shalach manos, matanos la’evyonim and the seudah (Magen Avraham 692:1). However on Purim Meshulash, Yerushalmim will not fulfill shalach manos (according to most opinions) and the seudah on the day they hear the Shehechiyanu. What should they do?

Some poskim recommend eating a new fruit or wearing a new garment on Sunday in order to recite a Shehechiyanu and to have in mind the mitzvos of the day at the same time (Purim HaMeshulash of Rav Seraya Dovlitzki 8:9). (According to Maharalnach, one would do this on Shabbos.)

AN INTERESTING SHAYLAH
Someone planning ahead for Purim asked me the following shaylah:

The Friedmans, who live in Yerushalayim, want to spend Shabbos with relatives in Bnei Brak. Is there any reason why they shouldn’t? After all, they will hear Megillah in Yerushalayim anyway on Friday, and they will be back in Yerushalayim on Sunday to distribute shalach manos and to eat the Purim seudah.

According to many poskim, the mitzvos of the Purim seudah and shalach manos on Sunday apply only to people who were in Yerushalayim on the fifteenth. By spending Shabbos outside Yerushalayim, the Friedmans would lose the opportunity to fulfill these mitzvos (Piskei Teshuvos 688:12). Therefore, if they leave Yerushalayim for Shabbos, they should spend the fourteenth in Bnei Brak and fulfill all the mitzvos on Friday.

SOME OTHER MAJOR RAMIFICATIONS-
READING WITHOUT A MINYAN
Because Yerushalmim read the Megillah on a day that is not Purim for them, two other interesting halachos apply. Firstly, a Yerushalmi should be extra careful to hear Megillah with a minyan this year. This is because it is questionable if one fulfills the mitzvah without a minyan since the fourteenth is not Purim in Yerushalayim (see Ran, Megillah 5a).

The background to this issue follows: To fulfill the mitzvah of Megillah one must read it in a way that accomplishes pirsumei nisa, publicizing the miracle. One can accomplish this in one of two ways--either by reading the Megillah on Purim or by reading it in the presence of a minyan (Gemara Megillah 5a). However, a Yerushalmi reading Megillah on the fourteenth without a minyan lacks both types of pirsumei nisa, since it is not Purim in Yerushalayim. According to the Mishnah Berurah (690:61), a Yerushalmi who cannot assemble a minyan for Megillah should not recite a bracha on the reading. (Rav Yosef Chayim Zonnenfeld disagrees, reporting that the minhag in Yerushalayim is to recite a bracha.)

A SECOND RAMIFICATION- READING FOR A NON-YERUSHALMI
According to many poskim, a non-Yerushalmi is not yotzei the mitzvah of Megillah on the fourteenth if he heard it read by a Yerushalmi. Two introductions are needed to explain this ruling.

First, for one person to be motzi another in a mitzvah, they must both be obligated to an equal degree. However, a person who is obligated to perform a mitzvah only midirabbanan cannot be motzi someone who has an obligation min haTorah. Thus, a child cannot make kiddush to be motzi an adult since the child is not obligated min haTorah to fulfill the mitzvah whereas the adult is.

Second, although both Yerushalmim and non-Yerushalmim read the Megillah this year on the fourteenth, the non-Yerushalmim read it because it is their Purim and it fulfills the mitzvah of Megillah as established by Mordechai and Esther. However, according to many poskim, the Yerushalmim read Megillah on the fourteenth because of a takanas chachomim of a later date that prevents them from reading Megillah on their Purim (Turei Even, Megillah 5a). This takanas chachomim may not fulfill the mitzvah to the same extent as the original mitzvah created by Mordechai and Esther (Mikra’ei Kodesh).

As a result of this, a Yerushalmi reading Megillah for a non-Yerushalmi on the fourteenth may be similar to a child reading Megillah for an adult, which is invalid.

The following case will crystallize this shaylah for us. Yankel begins Purim in Beit Shemesh and then decides to leave for Yerushalayim on the morning of the fourteenth, assuming he will hear the Megillah in Yerushalayim. Besides the fact that there is no keriyas haTorah in Yerushalayim on Friday, it is also questionable whether he fulfills the mitzvah of Megillah when he hears it read by a Yerushalmi.

The pasuk tells us that the events of Purim resulted in "Vi’nahafoch hu," "It turned around" - the Jews turned the tables on their enemies on the day declared for our extinction. A different type of vi’nahafoch hu occurs on Purim Meshulash in that many observances of Purim become turned upside down. We recite al hanissim on a day that we do not observe the Purim seudah and we celebrate the Purim seudah without reciting al hanissim. We read Megillah on a day that we do not read the Torah because we do not consider it Purim. Yerushalmim do not distribute matanos la’evyonim and shalach manos on the same day. All these "turned around" observances create a very different Purim experience.

LeShanah HaBaah Bi’Yerushalayim!

This article was originally published in the American edition of Yated Neeman

This Shiur is published also at Rabbi Kaganof's site
Rabbi Yirmiyohu Kaganoff
Was the Rabbi of the Young Israel of Greater Buffalo, the Congregation Darchei Tzedek and also served as a dayan on the Beis Din of Baltimore. Now is a Rabbi in Neve Yaakov, Jerusalem. His Shiurim and Q&A can be found on his site: www.rabbikaganoff.com
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