Purim – Purim Meshulash

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This Dvar Halacha is adapted from a shiur I heard around 20 years ago from my rebbe, Rav Avrohom Kanarek zt”l, who recently passed away. May the learning of his Torah be a zechus to his neshama. Yehi Zichro Baruch!

That year, as it is this year, is what’s called Purim Meshulash. The mitzvos of Purim are split into 3 days for Shushan Purim, observed, only in Yerushalayim, since it falls out on Shabbos. The mitzvos are split into 3 equal parts. There are 6 mitzvos:

On the 14th of Adar (Friday) the megillah is read the night before and that day and matanos li’evyonim (gifts to the poor) are given out.
On the 15th of Adar (Shabbos) al hanissim is recited in shemoneh esray as well as in bentching, and the portion of Amalek is read in the Torah.
On the 16th of Adar the Purim seuda (Purim feast) is held and mishloach manos are given out.

There is a question raised, that in order for the Torah reading to be done at least most of the minyan must be obligated, does this apply to reading megillah as well? The answer is that since Rashi says we need at least a minyan for publicizing the miracle then even if there are ten people that already heard megillah one can still read for himself since he is still publicizing the miracle. And whereas for Kaddish and Kedusha ten have to be in the same room in order to recite them, for megillah, as long as ten can hear, wherever they are, the individual fulfills reading with a minyan.

Reading Megillah is not an ordinary Rabbinic decree, it is MiDivrei Kabbala, an ordinance from the prophets, which means it was Divinely inspired. However, this is only true for the daytime. The nighttime reading was declared later by the Rabbis and is considered a Rabbinic ordinance.  

The question is,for those who live in a walled city like Yerushalayim and its surroundings, where they normally read megillah on the 15th of Adar, but this year, Purim Meshulash, when megillah reading is pushed back a day for them, is the mitzvah of reading during the day still MiDivrei Kabbala or is it only Rabbinic?

The Turei Even answers that it is dependent on an argument in the gemara between Abaye and Rabba as to why we don’t read megillah on Shabbos. Rabba says it is a decree lest a novice prohibitively walk in the public domain on Shabbos to practice reading by an expert. Abaye says the megillah reading is where the poor collects tzedakah and they cannot do that on Shabbos.

This is why the megillah reading is pushed back a day. If you say like Rabba then this is a later decree, for the original obligation was to read on Shabbos. The Rabbis came later and made a decree which permitted going against the prophets because a fence can passively uproot a Divrei Kabbala. However, according to Abaye the Anshei Knesses HaGedola, the Great Assembly, that wrote over the megillah originally made the decree themselves, since it is dependent on when the mitzvah of matanos li’evyonim is given out. Therefore it would still be a mitzvah from the prophets for walled cities even though they are reading a day earlier.

The Anshei Knesses HaGedola wrote up the megillah after it was given to them by Mordechai and Esther, which is why it is considered a davar shebikedusha, a holy matter, since it was written with Ruach Hakodesh, Divine inspiration.

Rav Tzvi Pesach Frank
, quoting a Rasha”sh gives another reason as to why it is still considered MiDivrei Kabbala, though it is read a day earlier than originally decreed. It is that since the Anshei Knesses HaGedola gave hints in the megillah by referring plurally, “zemaneihem,” that means it can be read even before (or after) the proper date when the megillah is supposed to be read (see the first Mishna in maseches Megillah), so we see that even for walled cities, reading megillah on the 14th can still be a mitzvah from the prophets.

Rav Tzvi Pesach Frank extended and applied this rule that megillah reading was originally decreed that it can be done for a number of days, for a boy who does not live in a walled city, for example he lives in America, or  Bnei Brak, Israel, and should normally listen to megillah on the 14th of Adar, however since he turns bar mitzvah on the 15th of Adar he has an obligation to read the megillah to himself on the 15th of Adar.