fbpx

Megillah, Daf Bet, Part 1

 

Introduction

The first mishnah of Megillah teaches that the Megillah might be read on different days, depending on the locality. Depending on which day of the week Purim falls on, the Megillah might be read on the eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth or fifteenth.  The central idea behind the mishnah is that small villages would not read alone in their own village, but rather would move up, if necessary, the day of the reading so that it would fall on the same day as “the day of gathering,” the market and court day in the larger towns. As we shall see, this can lead to their reading the Megillah on the eleventh, twelfth or thirteenth.  The fourteenth and fifteenth are the days when the Megillah is normally read, depending on whether the city is a walled city.

 

 

/משנה/.

1)      מגילה נקראת באחד עשר, בשנים עשר, בשלשה עשר, בארבעה עשר, בחמשה עשר, לא פחות ולא יותר.

2)      כרכין המוקפין חומה מימות יהושע בן נון קורין בחמשה עשר, כפרים ועיירות גדולות קורין בארבעה עשר,

3)      אלא שהכפרים מקדימין ליום הכניסה.

4)      כיצד? חל להיות ארבעה עשר בשני – כפרים ועיירות גדולות קורין בו ביום, ומוקפות חומה למחר.

5)      חל להיות בשלישי או ברביעי – כפרים מקדימין ליום הכניסה, ועיירות גדולות קורין בו ביום, ומוקפות חומה למחר.

6)      חל להיות בחמישי – כפרים ועיירות גדולות קורין בו ביום. ומוקפות חומה למחר.

7)      חל להיות ערב שבת – כפרים מקדימין ליום הכניסה, ועיירות גדולות ומוקפות חומה קורין בו ביום.

8)      חל להיות בשבת – כפרים ועיירות גדולות מקדימין וקורין ליום הכניסה, ומוקפות חומה למחר.

9)      חל להיות אחר השבת – כפרים מקדימין ליום הכניסה, ועיירות גדולות קורין בו ביום, ומוקפות חומה למחר.

 

Mishnah One

1)      The Megillah is read on the eleventh, the twelfth, the thirteenth, the fourteenth, and the fifteenth [of Adar], never earlier and never later.  

2)      Cities which have been walled since the days of Joshua ben Nun read on the fifteenth; villages and large towns read on the fourteenth,

3)      Except that villages move the reading up to the day of gathering.

4)      How so? If the fourteenth [of Adar] falls on Monday, the villages and large towns read on that day and the walled places on the next day.

5)      If it falls on Tuesday or on Wednesday, the villages move the reading up to the day of gathering, the large towns read on that day, and the walled places on the next day.

6)      If it falls on Thursday, the villages and large towns read on that day and the walled places on the next day.

7)      If it falls on Friday, the villages move the reading up to the day of gathering and the large towns and walled places read on that day.   

8)      If it falls on Shabbat, the villages and large towns move the reading up to the day of gathering, and the walled places read on the next day.   

9)      If it falls on Sunday, the villages move the reading up to the day of gathering, the large towns read on that day, and the walled cities on the day following.

 

Explanation

Section one:  This section provides all of the possible dates in Adar on which the Megillah might be read. 

Section two: Esther 9:19 reads, “That is why village Jews, who live in unwalled towns, observe the fourteenth day of the month of Adar and make it a day of merrymaking and feasting, and as a holiday and an occasion for sending gifts to one another.”  If Jews in unwalled towns celebrate Purim on the fourteenth, it implies that Jews in walled cities celebrate on another day.  This day must be the fifteenth, since in verse 18 the Jews in Shushan rest from their fighting on the fifteenth. 

The mishnah determines what is a walled city by reference to Joshua, even though Joshua lived hundreds of years before the events of Purim.  The mishnah refers back to Joshua because the land of Israel was desolate in the time of Achashverosh and none of its cities were walled.  In order to honor Israel, we therefore refer back to the original conquering.

Section three:  Small villages move the reading up to the Monday or Thursday prior to the fourteenth of Adar.  These were the market days, the days on which the court would convene and the days on which the Torah was read.  The idea was that on these days the Jews would gather in the larger cities and it would be more possible to have a large celebration than if each individual village had celebrated separately on the fourteenth.      

Section four:  This is the simplest situation.  Purim (the fourteenth of Adar) falls on the fourteenth, so everyone can read on that day except for those in walled cities who read on the fifteenth.

Section five:  If it falls on Tuesday, the people of the villages read on Monday (the 13th), the day of the gathering, and if it falls on Wednesday then they also move it up to the 12th, which is Monday.  Again, the people of the large towns read on the fourteenth and the people of the walled cities on the fifteenth.

Section six: If it falls on Thursday, again, everyone can read on that day except for those in walled cities who read on the fifteenth, on Friday.

Section seven: If it falls on Friday, the villagers read on the Thursday the thirteenth, those from the large towns and even those from walled cities read on Friday, because the Megillah is not read on Shabbat.  The reason that the Megillah is not read on Shabbat is that it is possible to move it up to Friday, so there is no reason to disturb Shabbat.  The Talmud also explains that if they were allowed to read on Friday, they might end up carrying the Megillah through the public domain in order to get to synagogue. 

Section eight:  If it falls on Shabbat, everyone moves the reading up to Thursday.  Since it can’t be read on Shabbat and it will therefore have to be moved up in any case, they move it up for the large towns all the way to Thursday so that they end up reading it on the same day as the villagers.

Section nine:  Finally, if it falls on Sunday, the villagers move the reading up to Thursday, the 11th of Adar, the people from the large towns read on Sunday and those from walled towns read on Tuesday, the 15th