As if the coronavirus hasn’t already made this year crazy enough, this coming week in Jerusalem we will be celebrating Purim Mishulash, three days of Purim!
While most other cities in the world will only be observing Purim on Thursday evening and Friday, in Jerusalem we will be spreading out the mitzvot of Purim from Thursday evening to Sunday evening.
How did we earn all of these extra days of the holiday?
Usually, Jerusalem (a walled city since the days of Yehoshua Bin Nun) as well as Shushan (the walled city where the Purim story took place) perform the mitzvoth of the holiday on Shushan Purim, the fifteenth of Adar rather than the fourteenth since it took the residents of Shushan an extra day to finish the battle.
This year, however Shushan Purim comes out on Shabbat. The rabbi’s forbade the carrying of Megillat Ester on Shabbat, therefore the Megillah is read on Thursday night and Friday morning (regular Purim) along with the rest of the world. We do not postpone the Megillah reading until after Shabbat since it says (Ester 9:27) “The Jews confirmed and undertook upon themselves and their posterity and upon all who might join them, to observe these two days, without fail, in the manner prescribed and at the proper time each year”.
The mitzvah of Matanot Lavyonim, gifts to the poor will also be performed on the 14th of Adar (Friday) since the poor are used to receiving their gifts on the same day as the Megillah is read and this way they aren’t disappointed.
On Shabbat itself (Shushan Purim) in Jerusalem, we will add Al HaNisim (For the Miracles) into the Amidah and Musaf prayers as well as recite it in Birkat HaMazon (Grace After Meals). The Torah reading on Shabbat includes the Purim reading about Amalek.
On Sunday, we will distribute Mishloach Manot in Jerusalem as well as celebrate with a Seudah (joyful meal). Although we have a festive meal each Shabbat, we do not want to mix two happy occasions (and miss out on more good food) so we will have two separate Seudot, one on Shabbat and our Purim Seudah on Sunday.
While the rest of the world is trying to cram all of the festivities into a short Friday, here in Jerusalem we will be celebrating at a more relaxed pace and we will finally get a Sunday off from work. The only down side is that those living in Jerusalem will only be able to break their fast on Thursday evening after listening to the Megillah!