Bnei Brak / Book of Esther - Megillath Esther / Jerusalem / Purim / Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz

Purim, Shushan Purim and the obligation to hear the Megillah

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Photo: Miriam Woelke
Purim 2014 in Mea Shearim / Jerusalem
B”H
Last night I went to a Shiur given by Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz who spoke about an interesting and practical subject: “If someone is spending Purim in Bnei Brak and Shushan Purim in Jerusalem, where is he obligated to hear the Megillah (Megillath Esther – Book of Esther) ?
When it comes to Jewish holidays such as Pessach, Shavuot or Sukkot, it always depends on where the Jew lives. In terms of keeping a second, eighth or ninth day on these holidays, it always matters whether a Jew lives in Israel or in the Diaspora. If an Israeli Jew is visiting the States on Pessach, he is not obligated to keep the second and the eighth day. However, this only applies when the Israeli actually lives in Israel !
Rabbi Breitowitz mentioned that Sepharadim and Chabad follow different rulings !
When a Jew living in the Diaspora is visiting Israel on Pessach, he is obligated to keep the second as well as the eighth day of Pessach. The same applies on Shavuot (second day) and Sukkot (second and ninth day).
On Purim, however, it is different. Here it all depends on where you are located at that moment.
Lets say that a Jew from Jerusalem is traveling to Bnei Brak this Wednesday in order to celebrate Purim, is he obligated to listen to the Megillah in Bnei Brak ?
It all depends on when he is arriving in Bnei Brak and, especially when he is planning to return to Jerusalem. The crucial time is the crack of dawn. If a Jew from Jerusalem is arriving in Bnei Brak in the afternoon before Purim starts and he is planning to return to Jerusalem the same night (before the sun is coming out the next morning), he is not obligated to listen to the Megillah in Bnei Brak. In case he is planning to stay overnight and wants to return to Jerusalem the next morning at 8 am or later, he is obligated to listen to the Megillah in Bnei Brak. When he is back in Jerusalem for Shushan Purim, he has to go again and listen to the Megillah.
The same applies to a Jew from Bnei Brak who is coming to Jerusalem for Shushan Purim. Lets take an example from this week: If the Jew from Bnei Brak arrives in Jerusalem this Thursday afternoon and is planning to return to Bnei Brak the same evening, he is not obligated to listen to the Megillah. In case he is staying overnight in Jerusalem and returning to Bnei Brak later on the next day, he is obligated to listen to the Megillah on Thursday night and Friday morning.
As I said: It all depends on where you are and whether you return to your home on the same night or on the following day. This sounds very complicated but it is actually very easy.
There are a lot of Jews from Jerusalem, Bnei Brak and other places in Israel who are traveling back and forth on Purim. Once I went to Bnei Brak and saw a lot of Jerusalem beggars standing in Rabbi Akivah Street. The next day, on Shushan Purim, they were all back on their spot in Jerusalem. 🙂
Haredi buses such as the number 402 from Bnei Brak to Jerusalem will be packed !
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