unwall

Hilchos Purim Part 2

(The following was compiled by Rabbi Da’vid Sperling.)

The Date of Purim

7. In places that were surrounded by a wall in the days of Yehoshua (“walled cities” - even if unwalled today), Purim is celebrated on the 15th of Adar. In other places (“unwalled cities”) Purim falls on the 14th of Adar (in 2015, sunset March 4 to sunset March 5). Today only Yerushalayim is definitely a “walled city,” and the other ancient cities in Israel (Yafo, Tzfat, Tiveria, Beit Lechem, Schem, Lod, Akron, Be’er Sheva, Gaza, Chevron, and others) customarily celebrate both days from doubt (see below).

8. Those places that are adjacent and within view of a “walled city” also have the law of a “walled city.” Therefore all the new city of Yerushalayim has the law of Purim on the 15th (there is some discussion of the distant suburbs such as Ramot - one should act in accordance with the local rabbi). Some people hold that this law of adjacency also applies to the doubtfully walled cities (for example, Tel Aviv, which is adjacent to Yafo). One should celebrate the 14th only, unless there is a local custom to celebrate both days from doubt.

9. Those who travel from place to place on the 14th and 15th are sometimes obligated on the 14th, sometimes on the 15th, and sometimes on both days, and sometimes on neither [but it is not correct (and according to some opinions impossible) to travel so as to miss Purim altogether]. The essence of the obligation depends on where one is at sunrise of the 14th and 15th. If at sunrise of the 14th one is in an “unwalled” city, one is obligated in Purim on the 14th even if one later travels to Yerushalayim. So too if at sunrise of the 15th one is in a “walled” city one is obligated in Purim on the 15th, even if one leaves the city later. From this we see that one can be obligated in two days (being in Tel Aviv at sunrise of the 14th, and Yerushalayim at sunrise of the 15th). There are many opinions in this matter, and one is advised to consult with a rabbi before traveling.

10. Places that are doubtfully “walled cities” (see 7 above) read the Megilla on both days, but only recite the bracha on the 14th. In connection with the other commandments and prayers of Purim, some say to perform them on both days, and some say only to perform them on the 14th. It is fitting to be strict and perform them on both days.

Prayer

11. Al HaNissim is added to all the prayer services (in the amidah), as well as to Birkas HaMazon. One who forgot to add it, and has already finished the amidah or Birkas HaMazon, does not need to repeat it. If one recalled that they had forgotten it before the end, one adds “Yehi Ratzon Milfanecha SheTa’aseh Lanu Nissim V’Niflaos KeShem SheAsisah LeAvoseinu B’Yamin HaHem B’zman HaZeh, B’Ymay Mordechai v’Ester” etc, before “Oseh Shalom” at the end of the Amidah, or one can add it near the end of Birkas HaMazon, in the form of “HaRachaman Hu Ya’aseh Lanu Nissim” etc. One does not recite Tachanun, neither on the afternoon preceding the 14th nor on the 14th or 15th, in both walled and unwalled cities. The other changes and additions to the services are printed in the siddur. Hallel and Yaaleh VeYavo are not recited.

(I plan to post a little more each day for the next several days. Stay tuned.)