Thursday, February 17, 2011

Purim Katan

The Mishna (Meg 6b) writes that the only difference between Adar I and Adar II is that the reading of the megillah and matanos la'evyonim must be done in Adar II. The implication is that the day of 14 Adar I still counts as a holiday and should be celebrated as such, e.g. have a seudah. Tosfos, however, rejects this idea. The gemara writes that the two 14 Adar dates are identical with respect to hesped and ta'anis, meaning you cannot fast or deliver a eulogy on either one. Sounds like only with respect to the issur of hesped and ta'anis are the two dates identical, but not that one is required to have a full celebration on 14 Adar I just like 14 Adar II.

Tosfos seems to be splitting hairs a little too finely. How do we know that one cannot deliver a hesped or have a ta'anis on Purim? Because, as the gemara darshens (5b), the day is described as one of "mishteh v'simcha," partying and celebration. How can one say that a full holiday celebration is not required, i.e. 14 Adar I is not a day of "mishteh v'simcha," but at the same time say ta'anis or hesped are not permitted? Either it is a day of mishteh v'simcha or it's not, but you can't straddle the fence. Something to look into over Shabbos.


  1. See the פרי צדיק under the heading of לי"ד אדר ראשון wherein asks this same question as part of a longer discussion attempting to explain the Rema's final comment in Shulchan Aruch on the subject of Purim Katan. His conclusion is a very nice thought about the nature of the day.

  2. Yup, saw it. Shem m'Shmuel discusses the same question. I just haven't had the time or to write up either one. (Any takers who want to post it?)