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Megillah, Daf Daled, Part 2

 

Introduction

This section contains more statements by R. Joshua b. Levi.

 

ואמר רבי יהושע בן לוי: נשים חייבות במקרא מגילה, שאף הן היו באותו הנס.

 

R. Joshua b. Levi also said: Women are obligated to read the Megillah, since they were also part of the same miracle.

 

In traditional Jewish law, women are usually exempt from positive time-bound commandments. However, R. Joshua b. Levi says that they are obligated to read the Megillah because they "were part of the same miracle." There are two potential meanings to this statement. 1) It refers to Esther, a woman, who was instrumental in saving the Jews. "They were part of the miracle" means that through a woman the miracle took place. 2) Women were endangered just as much as men by Haman’s murderous plot. "They were part of the miracle" means that they were miraculously saved, as were the men.

R. Joshua b. Levi says the same thing that women are obligated–concerning two other commandments the four cups of wine on Pesah and the lighting of Hannukah candles. All are mitzvoth in which women are obligated.

ואמר רבי יהושע בן לוי: פורים שחל להיות בשבתשואלין ודורשין בענינו של יום.

מאי אריא פורים? אפילו יום טוב נמי, דתניא: משה תיקן להם לישראל שיהו שואלין ודורשין בענינו של יום: הלכות פסח בפסח, הלכות עצרת בעצרת והלכות חג בחג.

פורים איצטריכא ליה. מהו דתימא: נגזור משום דרבה, קא משמע לן.

 

R. Joshua b. Levi further said: If Purim falls on Shabbat, they ask questions and they offer derashot on the subject of the day.

Why specify Purim? The same rule applies to festivals also, as it has been taught: Moses established for all of Israel that they should ask questions and offer derashot on the subject of the day the laws of Pesah on Pesah, the laws of Shavuot on Shavuot, and the laws of Sukkot on Sukkot!

It was necessary to state the rule [separately] in the case of Purim. For you might suggest that we should forbid this because of the prohibition of Rabbah.

We are therefore told that this is not so.

 

R. Joshua b. Levi says that when Purim falls on Shabbat they should ask questions and offer derashot about Purim on that very day. This probably means that in the synagogue the rabbi or whoever is speaking should talk about Purim.

The Talmud asks why he needs to point this out about Purim. After all, the same is true for all festivals. There is a custom that questions should be asked and derashot offered on the actual day of all of the Festivals.

The answer seems to me obvious. When Purim falls on Shabbat we don’t read the Megillah on Shabbat itself. We will learn this later Rabbah said we don’t read the Megillah on Shabbat lest one carry it in the public domain. Therefore we might have thought that since we’re not reading the Megillah, we also do not talk about the day, ask questions or offer derashot. In other words, it’s not Purim! Therefore, R. Joshua b. Levi states that we do talk about Purim. We just don’t read the Megillah.

 

ואמר רבי יהושע בן לוי: חייב אדם לקרות את המגילה בלילה ולשנותה ביום, שנאמר +תהלים כ"ב+ אלהי אקרא יומם ולא תענה ולילה ולא דמיה לי. סבור מינה: למקרייה בליליא, ולמיתנא מתניתין דידה ביממא.

 

R. Joshua b. Levi further said: One must read the Megillah in the evening and repeat it in the day, as it is written, "O my God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not answer, and in the night and I have no rest" (Psalms 22:3). They thought this means that they should read the Megillah at night, and teach the Mishnah [about it] in the morning.

 

R. Joshua b. Levi rules that one must read the Megillah in the evening and then repeat it again the next morning. This is supported by a verse which specifically refers to crying out to God both during the day and at night.

The rabbis learning from him thought that what this meant was that at night they should read the Megillah and the next morning they should study the mishnayot of Tractate Megillah (actually sounds like a good plan to me). I should clarify why they thought this. The word that R. Joshua b. Levi uses to mean "repeat" is "ולשנותה" which can also mean to teach, as in the word Mishnah. Indeed, Mishnah is taught by repeating it over and over again. That is why these students thought that R. Joshua b. Levi was referring to repeating Mishnah the next day.

אמר להו רבי ירמיה: לדידי מיפרשא לי מיניה דרבי חייא בר אבא: כגון דאמרי אינשי: אעבור פרשתא דא ואתנייה.

איתמר נמי, אמר רבי חלבו אמר עולא ביראה: חייב אדם לקרות את המגילה בלילה ולשנותה ביום, שנאמר +תהלים ל‘+ למען יזמרך כבוד ולא ידם האלהי לעולם אודך.

 

R. Jeremiah said to them: It has been explained to me by R. Hiyya b. Abba [that the word "repeat" here has the same meaning] as when, for instance, people say, I will go through this section and repeat it.

It has also been stated: R. Helbo said in the name of Ulla of Biri: One must read the Megillah in the evening and repeat it in the day, as it says, "To the end that my glory may sing praise to you and not be silent. O Lord, my God, I will give thanks to thee forever" (Psalms 30:13).

 

R. Jeremiah clarifies the meaning of the word "ולשנותה" here. It does not mean to teach Mishnah. It means to repeat the same thing that was recited earlier. This is again restated and supported by another verse which implies that we praise God not only at night, but also during the day.