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Ben Drusai was one of the most influential figures in the history of halacha. His minimal contributions to the talmud grew over the years to entire sections of hilchos shabbos and there are even piyyutim composed in his honor such as

בן דרוסאי רדפנו אחריך להשיב לנו גזליך
and
ואמרתם כה לחי אדונינו בן דרוסאי

That being said, why do we not celebrate the yahrtzeit of such an important figure? (Fragments of these piyyutim were recovered from the Yehupitz Geniza containing most of the verses. If anyone thinks the verses would help answer the question, please comment saying so).


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closed as off-topic by msh210 Mar 19 at 3:18

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8  
we don't have to celebrate fully. if we just celebrate between a quarter and a half as much, we will be yotzei –  Danno Mar 2 at 20:35
    
Please post the quarter-to-half day that we celebrate ben drusai's yahrtzeit as an answer –  Yitzchak Mar 2 at 20:41

4 Answers 4

up vote 9 down vote accepted

As the Levush writes (summarized here):

The Judgement of Gehinnom is twelve months; therefore immediately after the conclusion of this period, which, in a leap year would occur in the first Adar, we should observe the Yahrzeit to obtain elevation for the Neshama. Why should we prolong his Kapparah?

However, Ben Drusai has not yet finished roasting...

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There is no obligation to celebrate fully -- we only need to celebrate partially in order to be considered as if we celebrated fully. I believe this answer is listed somewhere in the last quarter of Maseches Shabbos, but I only learned a half of it and then held a siyum.

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2  
I was going to say "we celebrate just enough to make it minimally edible." –  Shalom Mar 4 at 9:28

The reason we do not celebrate his Yarzheit is due to the fact that he only died partially.

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First we have to point out that Ben Drusai wasn't a scrupulous Jew. The only other individual that falls into the same category would be "that person" who's crucifixion is celebrated with "Nittel". Second, there is a major Machlokes HaRishonim if we consider it K'machal ben Drusai or Machal K'ben Drusai. Rashi says in Parshas Vayeira that a Macheles (same Shoresh as Machal) is a knife. If we pasken that we need K'machal ben Drusai, that means there was never actually a slaughtering of Ben Drusai, it is only a Kuf haDimyon, then there is no real reason to celebrate his Yahrtzeit. However, if we call it Machal K'ben Drusai, then maybe Ben Drusai himself was only a Kof haDimyon... A Freilichen Purim!!!

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