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Megillah, Daf Vav, Part 6

 

Introduction

Today’s section begins with a new mishnah. My commentary is taken from Mishnah Yomit. When Jews adjust the lunar calendar to keep it in sync with the solar calendar, they add a second month of Adar, the month during which Purim falls. The rabbis hold that Purim should be observed during the second Adar. Today because our calendar is fixed this is quite simple. Ahead of time we know which year will have a second Adar. In mishnaic and talmudic times this was more difficult because the calendar had not yet been fixed. Our mishnah addresses this problem.

 

משנה.

1)    קראו את המגילה באדר הראשון ונתעברה השנהקורין אותה באדר שני.

2)    אין בין אדר הראשון לאדר השני אלא קריאת המגילה, ומתנות לאביונים.

 

1)    If they read the Megillah during the first Adar and the year was intercalated (a month was added), it is read again in the second Adar.

2)    There is no difference between the first Adar and the second Adar except the reading of the Megillah and the giving of gifts to the poor.

 

Section one: If they read the Megillah during the first Adar and then the court decided to add a month to the year, they must read it again during the second Adar.

Section two: The only difference with regard to Purim between the first month of Adar and the second is that the Megillah is read and gifts are given to the poor during the second month and not during the first month. However, when it comes to the prohibition of fasting and mourning, it is forbidden to fast on the fourteenth and fifteenth of both months.

It is unclear from our mishnah whether the other two obligations for Purim, giving portions of food to friends and having a festive meal, are done both times or not. It seems to me that it would make little sense for these customs to be performed during the first Adar at a time when the Megillah is not being read.

 

גמרא. הא לענין סדר פרשיותזה וזה שוין. מני מתניתין? לא תנא קמא, ולא רבי אליעזר ברבי יוסי, ולא רבן שמעון בן גמליאל. דתניא: קראו את המגילה באדר הראשון ונתעברה השנהקורין אותה באדר השני, שכל מצות שנוהגות בשני נוהגות בראשון חוץ ממקרא מגילה. רבי אליעזר ברבי יוסי אומר: אין קורין אותה באדר השני, שכל מצות שנוהגות בשני נוהגות בראשון. רבן שמעון בן גמליאל אומר משום רבי יוסי: אף קורין אותה באדר השני, שכל מצות שנוהגות בשני אין נוהגות בראשון. ושוין בהספד ובתענית שאסורין בזה ובזה.

 

GEMARA. This [last statement] implies that with regard to the special portions they are the same.

Whom does the Mishnah follow? Neither the First Tanna nor R. Eliezer son of R. Yose nor R. Shimon b. Gamaliel, as it has been taught: If they read the Megillah in the first Adar and the year was then intercalated they read in the second Adar, since all the mitzvot which are to be performed in the second Adar are performed in the first, except the reading of the Megillah.

R. Eliezer son of R. Yose says that it is not to be read [again] in the second Adar, because all mitzvot that are to be performed in the second Adar may be performed in the first.

R. Shimon b. Gamaliel says in the name of R. Yose that it is to be read again in the second, because all mitzvot which are to be performed in the second Adar may not be performed in the first.

They all however agree in regard to mourning and fasting, that they are forbidden on [the fourteenth and fifteenth of] both.

 

The Mishnah had stated that when a second month of Adar is added to the year, all of the mitzvoth of Purim are observed in both months except for the reading of the Megillah and the giving of gifts to the poor. This would seem to imply that the special portions of the Torah that precede Purim (parshat shekalim, zakhor, parah, and hahodesh) can be read during Adar I.

The Talmud begins an extended discussion of which Tanna is the author of the Mishnah. The Talmud cites a baraita with three opinions. According to both the first opinion and R. Shimon b. Gamaliel if they read the Megillah in the first Adar and then an extra month is added, they must read the Megillah again. According to R. Eliezer son of R. Yose if they read it in the first month, they have performed the mitzvah and they need not go back and read again in the second month.

 

רבן שמעון בן גמליאל היינו תנא קמא! – אמר רב פפא: סדר פרשיות איכא בינייהו. דתנא קמא סבר: לכתחילה בשני, ואי עבוד בראשוןעבוד, בר ממקרא מגילה דאף על גב דקרו בראשון קרו בשני, ורבי אליעזר ברבי יוסי סבר: אפילו מקרא מגילה לכתחילה בראשון. ורבן שמעון בן גמליאל סבר: אפילו סדר פרשיות, אי קרו בראשוןקרו בשני.

 

Does not R. Shimon b. Gamaliel here say the same thing as the First Tanna?

R. Papa said: They differ on the question of the special portions: the First Tanna holds that these should ab initio be read in the second [Adar], but if they have been read in the first, it is sufficient, except for the reading of the Megillah, which even though it has been read in the first [Adar], must be read again in the second.

R. Eliezer son of R. Yose on the other hand held that even the Megillah may be read ab initio in the first [Adar];

And R. Shimon b. Gamaliel held that even the special portions, if they have been read in the first [Adar], must be read again in the second.

 

R. Papa now clarifies the specific points of dispute and outlines each tanna’s opinion:

1) First Tanna: All mitzvoth may be performed in Adar I except for the Megillah. The special Torah reading portions should be read in Adar II but if they were read in Adar I, he has fulfilled his obligation.

2) R. Eliezer son of R. Yose: All mitzvoth may be performed in Adar I.

3) R. Shimon b. Gamaliel held that all mitzvot, even the special portions, must be performed in Adar II.

 

מני? אי תנא קמאקשיא מתנות, אי רבי אליעזר ברבי יוסיקשיא נמי מקרא מגילה. אי רבן שמעון בן גמליאלקשיא סדר פרשיות! –

 

Which authority then [does our Mishnah follow]? If [you say] the First Tanna, there is the difficulty of gifts.

If [you say] R. Eliezer son of R. Yose, there is the difficulty of the reading of the Megillah also.

If [you say] R. Shimon b. Gamaliel, there is the difficulty of the series of special portions.

 

The Mishnah held that Adar I and Adar II were equivalent except for the Megillah and gifts to the poor. This does not accord with anyone in the baraita (or so it seems). The first opinion holds that only the Megillah needs to be done in Adar II, not the gifts to the poor. The second opinion holds that even the Megillah may be read in Adar I and need not be read again in Adar II.

Finally, R. Shimon b. Gamaliel holds that the special Torah portions must also be read in Adar II, whereas the Mishnah seemed to hold that they could be read in Adar I.

 

לעולם תנא קמא, ותנא מקרא מגילה והוא הדין מתנות לאביונים, דהא בהא תליא.

 

In fact it is the First Tanna: He mentioned the reading of the Megillah, but the same is true for the gifts of the poor, since one depends on the other.

 

The first resolution is that the Mishnah agrees with the First Tanna of the baraita. The First Tanna mentioned reading the Megillah but he also meant gifts for the poor must be performed in Adar II. He neglected to mention them because they go together the poor hear the Megillah and they then know that they will receive their gifts.

 

ואי בעית אימא: לעולם רבן שמעון בן גמליאל היא, ומתניתין חסורי מיחסרא, והכי קתני: אין בין ארבעה עשר שבאדר הראשון לארבעה עשר שבאדר השני אלא מקרא מגילה ומתנות, הא לענין הספד ותעניתזה וזה שוין. ואילו סדר פרשיות לא מיירי.

 

Or if you want, I can say that in fact it is R. Shimon b. Gamaliel, and there is an omission in our Mishnah and this is what it means: There is no difference between the fourteenth of the first Adar and the fourteenth of the second Adar except for reading the Megillah and gifts to the poor. From which we infer that in regard to mourning and fasting they are the same, but it doesn’t mention the special portions.

 

The second resolution is to emend the Mishnah itself such that it is dealing only with mitzvoth performed on Purim itself. The Mishnah does not express an opinion on when the special portions are read. Therefore, it could accord with R. Shimon b. Gamaliel who says that they are read on Adar II.

 

אמר רבי חייא בר אבין אמר רבי יוחנן: הלכתא כרבן שמעון בן גמליאל שאמר משום רבי יוסי.

 

R. Hiyya b. Abin said in the name of R. Yohanan: The halakhah follows R. Simon b. Gamaliel, who said it in the name of R. Yose.

 

The halakhah is that all of the mitzvoth, even the special portions, must be observed in Adar II.

 

אמר רבי יוחנן: ושניהם מקרא אחד דרשו: בכל שנה ושנה. רבי אליעזר ברבי יוסי סבר: בכל שנה ושנה, מה כל שנה ושנה אדר הסמוך לשבטאף כאן אדר הסמוך לשבט, ורבן שמעון בן גמליאל סבר: בכל שנה ושנה, מה כל שנה ושנה אדר הסמוך לניסןאף כאן אדר הסמוך לניסן.

 

R. Yohanan said: Both of them [R. Shimon and R. Eliezer son of R. Yose] based their opinions on the same text, "In every year." R. Eliezer son of Yose reasoned: "In every year"; just as in most years Adar is next to Shevat, so too here Adar is next to Shevat. R. Shimon b. Gamaliel reasoned: Just as in most years Adar is next to Nisan, so to here Adar is next to Nisan.

 

The question is which is the real Adar? R. Eliezer holds that the real Adar is the one that follows the month of Shevat, as it does in all years. Therefore, if one keeps the mitzvoth of Purim in Adar I, he has fulfilled his obligation. R. Shimon b. Gamaliel holds that the real Adar is the one that immediately precedes the month of Nisan. Therefore, we keep the mitzvoth of Purim in Adar II.

 

בשלמא רבי אליעזר ברבי יוסימסתבר טעמא, דאין מעבירין על המצות, אלא רבן שמעון בן גמליאל מאי טעמא?

אמר רבי טבי: טעמא דרבי שמעון בן גמליאל מסמך גאולה לגאולה עדיף.

 

Now we understand the reasoning of R. Eliezer son of R. Yose, for we do not postpone the performance of mitzvot.

But what is the reason of R. Shimon b. Gamaliel?

R. Tabi said: The reason of R. Shimon b. Gamaliel is that more weight is to be attached to bringing one period of redemption close to another.

 

R. Eliezer, who holds that Purim is observed in Adar I makes sense for there is a principle that one should never pass up an opportunity to perform a mitzvah. But why would R. Shimon b. Gamaliel hold that Purim is delayed until Adar II.

R. Tabi says that R. Shimon b. Gamaliel wanted the redemption of Purim to be close to the redemption of Pesah. Therefore, they should be observed in adjacent months.

 

רבי אלעזר אמר: טעמא דרבן שמעון בן גמליאל מהכא, דכתיב לקים את אגרת הפרים הזאת השנית. ואיצטריך למיכתב השנית, ואיצטריך למיכתב בכל שנה ושנה, דאי מבכל שנה ושנה, הוה אמינא כי קושין, קא משמע לן: השנית. ואי אשמועינן השנית, הוה אמינא בתחילה בראשון ובשני, קא משמע לן: בכל שנה ושנה.

 

R. Elazar said: The reason of R. Shimon b. Gamaliel is from what is written: "To confirm this letter of Purim, the second" (Esther 9:29).

And it was necessary to write "the second" and also to write "in every year."

For if I had to base the rule on "every year," I would have said the difficulty from above: therefore it is written "second."

And if I had been told only "second," I might say that the Megillah is properly to be read both in the first and in the second. Therefore it says, in every year.

 

R. Elazar derives R. Shimon b. Gamaliel’s rule from the word "the second." The simple reading of this word is that there was a second letter about Purim. But R. Elazar creates a midrash understanding it as referring to the "second month of Adar."

The Talmud then notes that we need both phrases, "In every year" and "second." If we only had "in every year" I would have known that Adar needs to be next to a month that it is next to every other year. But I would not have known if this month was Shevat or Nisan. And it had only written "second" I might have thought that it should be read in both months.

 

ורבי אליעזר ברבי יוסי, האי השנית מאי עביד ליה? – מיבעי ליה לכדרב שמואל בר יהודה, דאמר רב שמואל בר יהודה: בתחילה קבעוה בשושן, ולבסוף בכל העולם כולו.

 

And what does R. Eliezer son of R. Yose do with this "second"?

He requires it for the statement of R. Shmuel b. Judah. For R. Shmuel b. Judah said: At first they [Mordecai and Esther] decreed the observance of Purim only in Shushan, but afterwards throughout the world.

 

How does R. Eliezer son of R. Yose understand the word "second"? He understands it closer to its literal meaning. There were two letters. The first letter was addressed only to the people of Shushan, trying to convince them to observe Purim. The second letter was addressed to Jews elsewhere in the world. Next week’s daf will continue to deal with this second letter.