Monday, March 21, 2011

Shushan Purim

Today is the 15th day of Adar II, 5771

In Jerusalem Purim is celebrated today, the 15th of Adar. In the times of Esther and Mordekhai, the Jews of Shushan asked the King for an additional day to fight against their enemies, those who were hiding behind the walls of the fortified capital of the Persian Empire. The King granted their petition so they fought their enemies on the 13th of Adar and on the 14th of Adar, and celebrated their deliverance on the 15th of Adar.

The Meguilah distinguishes between Shushan and all other places: "all the Jews in the provinces, who live in unwalled cities should celebrate the 14th of Adar". While those who live in walled cities, like Shushan, celebrate Purim on the 15th of Adar.

This however, created a problem. The Holy Land lay in ruins at the time, and Jerusalem was still unwalled. Jerusalem --the eternal capital of the Jewish people-- would have had a status inferior to the other walled cities in the world. Therefore, in honor of Jerusalem and specifically to include Jerusalem, the rabbis established that "cities walled since the days of Jehousha bin Nun would be given automatically the status of walled cities". (Me'am Lo'ez)

Since then, Jerusalem and its surroundings --every village from where one can see Jerusalem-- observe Purim on the 15th of Adar. According to some opinions the city of Tiberias, in the north of Israel, is also considered a walled city. The question is, if the Kineret lake --a natural fortification to the city-- should be considered as one of the walls.

Take the shot, a Purim inspirational from Aish

Rabbi Yosef Bitton. YMJC | 130 Steamboat Rd. | Great Neck | NY | 11024

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