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Hilchos Chodesh Adar & Purim (Parshas Shekalim and Zachor)

289. The 14th and 15th days of Adar Rishon (this year these days fall on Wed/Thurs Feb 20th and 21st) are called Purim Koton and Shushan Purim Koton, respectively. Although we do not read the Megillah, give out Mishloach Manos and Matonos L'eveyonim, or say Al Hanisim, these days still have holiness, and certain laws related to Purim are applicable.

Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Brurah 697:1 (Mes. Megillah 7b)


290. On these days we do not fast, c'v make hespedim, say Tach'nun, Kel Erech Apayim,  Lamenatzach at Ashrei-Uva L'tziyon, or Yehi Rotzon after reading the Torah.

Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Brurah 697:1


291. On the day before Purim Koton at Mincha (which is today - Tuesday Feb 19th) we do not say Tachnun, just as we wouldn't on the day preceding any Yom Tov.

Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Brurah 131:MB33


292. On Purim Koton (or, in Yerushalayim - on Shushan Purim Koton) one should make a small Seudah  to fulfill the opinions that hold one should have a Seudas Purim on Purim Koton. {Reason: according to the Gemara, Purim should in fact be celebrated in Adar Rishon. It is only pushed to Adar Sheni to be "Soimech Geulah L'Geulah", to put one redemption - Purim, next to another - Pesach.} Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Brurah & Sha'ar Hatziyon 697:1


293. A Chosson and Kallah who are getting married on the night following Purim Koton (ie. Wed night) do not fast on the day of the wedding (as is customary) because it is Purim Koton. Nit'ay Gavriel 16:4 citing Nimukei OC 697, and S'V Minchas Hakometz 33, also see S'V Arugas Habosem 182


294. If two boys were born in a year with two months of Adar, and one was born on the 29th of Adar I, and the other was born on the 1st of Adar II; if in the year of their Bar Mitzvah there is only one Adar, the younger child will be Bar Mitzvah four weeks before the older child.

Shulchan Aruch w/Mishna Brurah 55:10, S'V Chasan Sofer 99


295. "When Adar comes in, one increases his Simcha". Some opinions say that this is applicable even in Adar Rishon in a year with two Adars, (S'V Chasam Sofer 163, Kedushas Levi Parshas Ki Sisa, Sfas Emes), while others disagree (Levush 685:1, S'V Sh'eilas Ya'avatz 2:88). Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Brurah 686:3


296. If one has a court matter pending with a non-jew, one should make an effort to have the matter heard by the court during Adar because in Adar the mazal is Dagim - fish, which represents Yosef, upon whom Ayin Hor'ah - the evil eye is not effective. {based on Gemara Yerushalmi Mes. Megillah 4:1}. Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Brurah 686:3


297. If one has a custom to make a Seudah on a certain day in Adar to thank Hashem for a personal miracle that occurred on that day in a year when there was only one Adar; in a year that has two Adar's the Seudah should be made in Adar Rishon.

Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Brurah 697:1 (see also 686:MB8)


298. Any Seudah that one makes to thank Hashem for his miracles is considered a Seudas Mitzvah. Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Brurah 697:1


299. Beginning Rosh Chodesh Adar there is a custom to hang a sign in the home that says "Mishenichnas Adar Marbin B'simcha" -  "When Adar comes in, one increases his happiness". Some have the custom to place this sign to cover the "Zecher L'churban"  (in memory of the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash) unfinished wall area that many have the custom to retain in their home. Yalkut Avraham 686, Piskei Tshuvos 686:5


300. The reason for the minhag to get dressed up in costume on Purim is because chazal tell us that just as the Jews bowed down to Avodah Zorah (at the time of Nebuchadnezar) only "for show" for their oppressors, Hashem repaid this sin measure for measure by also only scaring them "for show" with the threat of annihilation at the hands of Haman.

Bnei Yisasschar cited by Ta'amei Haminhagim


301. On the Shabbos of Rosh Chodesh Adar (Sheni), which this year falls on Parshas Pikudei (March 8th), we take out three Sifrei Torah. The first for the Parsha of the week, the second for the seventh aliyah for the Rosh Chodesh reading, and the third for the Maftir reading of Parshas Shekalim. Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Brurah 685:1


302. Another reason for the minhag to get dressed up in costume on Purim is in order to allow the poor to collect money on Purim without embarrassment. Since everyone is in costume the poor do not stand out and can disguise themselves.

Kol Aryeh cited in Nit'ay Gavriel 84:6:9


303. The reading of Parshas Shekalim is to remember the Mitzvah of Machtzis Hashekel in the time of the Beis Hamikdash. Each Jew donated a half shekel coin which were collectively used to purchase the animals used for the daily Korbon Tamid (sacrifice). These coins were collected each year beginning from Rosh Chodesh Adar.

Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Brurah 685:1


304. Another reason for the minhag to get dressed up in costume on Purim is because it is a remez (hint) that the Jews did Tshuva out of love for Hashem, thereby completely changing themselves into new people. Midrash Rabbah Par. Emor 30:3, Yalkut Tehillim 102


305. Another reason for the reading of Parshas Shekalim on Shabbos Rosh Chodesh Adar (II) is because Hashem knew that Haman would one day show his generosity when attempting to bribe King Achashverosh with 10,000 silver coins for permission to murder the Jews. Therefore Hashem preceded our Mitzvah of Machtzis Hashekel to Haman's use of silver coins.

Yerushalmi Mes. Megillah 1:5


306. There is a minhag to bang and make noise each time Haman is mentioned during the reading of the Megillah. One reason given is that Haman is mentioned 54 times in the Megillah. The posuk in the Torah that mentions the mitzvah to destroy Amalek (the ancestor of Haman) says "Mo'cho Emche es Zecher Amalek" and the word Emche equals 54. Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Brurah 690:17, Sefer Mat'amim cited by Igeres Hapurim


307. Women are not obligated in the Mitzvah of the reading of Parshas Shekalim (inasmuch as it is a positive Mitzvah that is dependent on time).

Nit'ay Gavriel 18:4, S'V Divrei Chaim OC 2:14


308. Another reason for the minhag to bang and make noise each time Haman is mentioned during the reading of the Megillah is because Haman's desired annihilation of the Jews included children. Therefore it is a mitzvah to bring children to hear the Megillah. Chazal gave the mitzvah of banging and making noise to keep the children interested and alert to listen to the reading while they wait anxiously to hear the name Haman read.

Korbon Ha'ani L'Purim page 125


309. Some people have the custom to learn Mishnayos Meseches Shekalim on Shabbos Parshas Shekalim after Mincha. (And Mes. Megillah on Shabbos Parshas Zochor, and Mes. Parah on Shabbos Parsha Parah, and Mes. Pesachim on Shabbos Parshas Hachodesh).

Nit'ay Gavriel 17:11


310. The original minhag was to write the name Haman on two stones or on two pieces of wood, and bang the stones, or wood together to erase the name. The minhag then evolved to include banging with one's foot on the floor, using a "grogger" or any other noisemaking method. Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Brurah 690:17


311. On the Shabbos before Purim we read Parshas Zachor which is found at the end of Parshas Ki Sei'tzei. By doing so we fulfill the positive Mitzvah of "Remembering what Amalek did to you". The mitzvah includes remembering the terrible attack Amalek made against the Jews in the desert, to hate Amalek, and to blot out his name.

Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Brurah 685:2, Chinuch Mitzvah 603, Ramban Par. Ki Sei'tzei


312. The Chanukah draidel has the handle on the top, and the Purim grogger has the handle on the bottom. This is to signify that on Purim when Jews fasted and did Tshuva they had a hand in the salvation; so the power of the grogger comes from the lower sphere; (klal yisroel), however on Chanukah there wasn't a complete Tshuva, and the Jews were saved solely due to the mercy of Hashem in heaven, therefore the handle is on the top. Taamei Haminhagim and Avnei Nezer


313. Inasmuch as the reading of Parshas Zachor is Min Ha'Torah, we do not permit a Bar Mitzvah boy to read this portion of the Torah. {Generally we would insist on someone of at least eighteen years of age}. Pischei Tshuvah YD 281:7 citing Nodah Be'Yehudah, Shemen Hamoer OC 282:4


314. There is a minhag on Purim to write the name "Amalek" and "Haman", (not in connection with the reading of the Megillah) stamp upon the names with one's shoe, and then erase the names using beer or dirty water. Ben Ish Chai aka Ben Yehoyadah


315. Many opinions (incl. Minchas Chinuch, Chasam Sofer, Maharil Diskin, Minchas Elozor, and many others) hold that women are obligated in the reading of Parshas Zachor . While many others (incl. Chinuch, Avnei Nezer, Chazon Ish, The Griz M'Brisk, Divrei Chaim, Arugos Habosem) hold that women are not obligated. The general practice is for women to come to shul to listen to Parshas Zachor.

Orchos Rabbeinu - Steipler 3:33, S'V Minchas Yitzchok 9:68


316. There are three days during the year when we have a minhag to eat "Kreplach", a triangle shaped dough with meat inside. These days are Purim, Ho'shana Rabbah, and Erev Yom Kippur. The significance of these three days is that they are all Yomim Tovim on which, although it is a mitzvah to have a Seudah as on a Yom Tov, it is nevertheless permitted to work and conduct business, thereby making the Yom Tov hidden. Therefore the simcha of eating on Yom Tov which is fulfilled by eating meat, is done by eating a hidden meat.

Geulas Yisroel cited by Ta'amai Haminhagim


317. If one was unable to listen to Parshas Zachor, one may fulfill the mitzvah, Bi'dieved, by listening to the reading of "Vayovoi Amalek" which is read in shul on Purim day.

Shulchan Aruchh w/Mishnah Brurah 685:7


318. There is a  minhag to eat "Haman Tashen" (a three cornered dough with a filling) on Purim  because the Midrash says that when Haman saw the three Avos, Avraham, Yitzchok and Yaakov, he lost all his strength. Sefer Ha'matamim Os 3


319. The 13th of Adar is Ta'anis Esther, a fast day for men and women. The fast day is to remember that Hashem listens when one is in a time of danger and need, as he did at the time of Purim. The fast is also a segulah to prevent the Satan from prosecuting an inadvertent sin done on Purim. Finally, many Mikubalim write that the decree against us from Haman has a potential reoccurrence each year and the fast day is a defense against the decree. Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Brurah 686:1, Magid Maysharim par. Vayakhel, S'V Shevet Hakahasi 1:203


320. On Taanis Esther one is permitted to bathe, listen to music, and to wear new clothing. Taanis Esther is different than the other fast days because it is unrelated to the destruction of the Bais Hamikdash. S'V Siach Yitzchok 360, Piskei Tshuvos 686:2:6


321. There is a greater fulfillment of Pirsumei Nisa (publicity of the miracle) when the Megillah is read in a larger group (B'rov Am Hadras Melech). Therefore, if one davens in a home-based minyan established for the benefit of a single person (ie. a sick person), if the person is able to go to shul, the entire minyan should disband for krias Hamegillah and go to shul. Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Brurah 687:2 w/Sha'ar Hatziyun, 690:MB62, Tshuvos V'Hanhagos 2:350


322. Men and women, as well as boys and girls who have reached the age of chinuch (from the age of 6-10 yrs. - depending on the child) are obligated to hear the reading of the Megillah. Women and children are obligated because they were saved from Haman, just as the men were. Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Brurah 689:1, Magen Avraham 343:2


323. Children who are too small/young to understand that they can not disturb the adults during the reading of the Megillah should not be brought to shul.

Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Brurah 689:6


324. There is a minhag on Purim to appoint a Purim Rebbe or a Purim Rav. The reason for the minhag is because the Halacha does not permit a Rav to pasken a Shailah while intoxicated. Inasmuch as on Purim there is a mitzvah to drink wine and get intoxicated, a Purim Rebbe is appointed to sit next to the Rebbe or Rav to remind him not to pasken while intoxicated.

Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld cited in Igeres Hapurim


325. If the Ba'al Koreh or the listener misses/skips even one word of the Megillah one is not Yotze even Bi'dieved. Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Brurah 690:3 & 690:14


326. It is therefore advisable for one to use a Kosher Megillah, and say word by word quietly with the Ba'al Koreh to insure that he doesn't miss any words, {and to insure that even if his mind wanders and he loses concentration, he will still be Yotze L'chatchila}. Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Brurah 690:8, Piskei Tshuvos 690:4 citing the Tshuvos Ha'rash 4:19


327. Inasmuch as the Megillah is called an "Igeres" (a letter) we are not as strict with the restriction of bare hands touching it as we are with a Sefer Torah. Nevertheless, one should wash one's hands before touching the Megillah. Shulchan Aruch w/Shaarei Tshuva 691:2:ST3


328. Some have the minhag at the daytime reading of the Megillah to kiss the tefillin when reading/listening to the word "Viykar" ("Layehudim Hoy'sah Oyrah V'simcha V'sosson Viykar")  because of the drasha that "Viykar" refers to the tefillin.

Moed L'kol Chai 31:88, Kaf Hachaim 190 citing Ben Ish Chai


329. Before going to shul for Megillah at night one should get dressed in Shabbos clothing. Candles should be lit in the home (without a bracha) and the table should be set just as on Shabbos. Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Brurah 695:1


330. There is mitzvah to eat a Seudah on Purim night, and candles should be lit at all Purim Seudah's. The night Seudah need not be as elaborate as the daytime Seudah.

Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Brurah 695:1, see Shaarei Tshuvah


331. This year, because Purim (outside Yerushalayim) is on Erev Shabbos, one should begin the Seudah before Chatzos (1:03 pm NYC). Bi'dieved one may begin the Seudah anytime before the 10th hour of the day.

Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Brurah 695:2, Yad Efraim citing the Maharil, Piskei Tshuvos 695:6


332. One should not overindulge at the Purim Seudah, in order to be able to eat the Seudas Shabbos, Friday night, appropriately.

Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Brurah 695:2, Piskei Tshuvos 695:6


333. Women and children are not obligated at all in the mitzvah to become intoxicated on Purim to the point of being unable to differentiate between "Arrur Haman" & "Baruch Mordechai". Nit'ay Gavriel 73:4, Mishnas Yaakov 695


334. The Shulchan Aruch does not specify that the mitzvah to become intoxicated on Purim is only with wine. Nevertheless, the main drink should be wine because Rashi (Megillah 7a), The Rambam (Hilchos Megillah 2:15), The Rokeach (Siman 237), and The Radvaz (1:462) all specifically mention wine {because many miracles happened at The "Mishteh Haya'yin"}.

Rav Moshe Shternbuch in Moadim U'zmanim 2:190


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