I would like to know what the halachic boundaries of Jerusalem are today in terms of where one would be obligated in the mitzvot of Shushan Purim.

  • Ir HaKodesh V’HaMikdash, pg. 421. See Shu”t Tshuvos V’Hanhagos, vol. 2, 347 and vol. 3, 233. Feb 19, 2020 at 16:36
  • 1
    It's the same as it's been for 3000 years. You can see parts of the original walls outside the modern "Old City"
    – Double AA
    Feb 19, 2020 at 16:56
  • books.google.com/…
    – Loewian
    Feb 19, 2020 at 17:04
  • jewishaction.com/jewish-world/israel/… See fn 36.
    – Loewian
    Feb 19, 2020 at 17:06
  • Actually, (IMSMC?) modern scholars maintain that ir david would have been the older city extant at the time of Joshua, which I would think should mean that, according to those who hold that the principles of samuch and nireh only apply when the original city is reading on the 15th, should mean that, if ir david doesn't encompass any active Jewish communities, should mean even the har habayis should read on the 14th(?)
    – Loewian
    Feb 19, 2020 at 20:36

1 Answer 1


The peninei halacha (zmanim 17:2) says:

אמרו חכמים (מגילה ג, ב): "כרך וכל הסמוך לו וכל הנראה עמו נידון ככרך". לפיכך, לא רק במקום ירושלים העתיקה עושים את הפורים בט"ו אלא אף בכל השכונות הסמוכות לירושלים העתיקה. ואף שהעיר התרחבה מאוד, כיוון ששכונה סמוכה לשכונה, כולן נגררות אחר ירושלים העתיקה, ובכולן קוראים בט"ו.

The chachamim say (megilla 3b) "a walled city, and anything next to or that can see a walled city, is considered walled". Therefore, not only in the old (walled) city of Jerusalem is Purim celebrated on the 15th, but even all neighborhoods that are near the old city. And even though the city has expanded greatly, since each neighborhood is near he next neighborhood, they all follow the old city, and read on the 15th.

If there's a neighborhood which is not near (within 141 1/3 Amos of) the next neighborhood, then there's a machlokes: some say it is not considered Jerusalem, anx should read on the 14th, while others say that as long as they are considered part of Jerusalem for tax purposes, and kal v'chomer if they have the same eiruv, they are considered part of Jerusalem and should read on the 15th. (This is how Rabbi Massass, and Rabbi Kulitz [the Sefardi and Ashkenazi chief Rabbis of Yerushalayim] paskened, so this is what most people do).

See the footnote in the peninei halacha for a full explanation, but basically: there's an argument in the rishonim whether 'near, but not visible' is a mil (2000 Amos), because then they are considered reliant on the city; or 'ibbur ha'ir' (70 2/3 Amos from each neighborhood, i.e. 141 1/3 Amos), because we don't want to differentiate in such a small area. There's a machlokes among the Achronim who the Shu"A paskened like. The Mishna Berura paskened like the first opinion, but the Yabia Omer said to be cstreful of the second one.

Another question raised is whether to measure 'seeing the city' from the walls of the city, or from the expansion of the city (which is apparently what most of the rishonim hold).

Therefore, many of the recent Achronim (RSZA, Rav Avraham Shapiro, Rav Massass, Rav Kulitz, Rav Mordechai Eliyahu, Rav Yisraeli) held that we go by the opinion that 'as long as you're reliant on the city, you're part of it', and if a neighborhood pays taxes to Jerusalem, its part of Jerusalem. Even if they don't pay taxes to Jerusalem, RSZA said that if they have the same eiruv it still counts. Another reason to Pasken this way is based on the rishonim who hold that 'near and visible' is from the outskirts of the city, in which case most neighborhoods around Jerusalem are considered 'visible'.

The opposing Achronim (rav ovadia, Chazon ish, rav tzvi Pesach frank, the Or l'Tzion) held that if there are 141 1/3 Amos of empty land from the outskirts of Jerusalem, the following neighborhood is no longer part of Jerusalem. However, even those holding of this opinion said that Giv'at Shaul (which is [was?] more than 141 1/3 Amos away from Jerusalem proper, but completely reliant on Jerusalem) should read on the the 15th.

The question of 'what happens if there are no Jews living in the true old city of Jerusalem?' (Loewian's point in the comments) is also addressed, and although it's a machlokes, the general consensus is that we read on the 15th anyway. (This was said even when the old city was in Jordanian hands, and there were definitely no Jews living there. Kal vechomer when there are Jews living in most of the area, but we're not sure exactly which part was the walled city).

One of the big Nafka Minos between the two opinions is the neighborhood of Mevaseret Yerushalayim, which is semi-reliant on Jerusalem, and further than 141 1/3 Amos away. There, as well as in a few other neighbourhoods, some read on the 14th, some read on both (while saying a bracha on one of the two days), and most read on the 15th, in accordance with the chief Rabbis of Jerusalem's ruling.

  • "the general consensus is that we read on the 15th anyway" This was the minhag in West Jerusalem during those years and with good reason, but now the "minhag" has shifted the other way because people are afraid of realizing that Gush Dan, Beit Shemesh, and more have since the 1930s doubtless become huge enough to clearly cover many many old walled cities.
    – Double AA
    Dec 29, 2023 at 13:17
  • @DoubleAA I'm just quoting the peninei halacha, I don't know how it's dealt with nowadays. If you have a source, I'll add it in
    – Lo ani
    Dec 29, 2023 at 13:23
  • It's not dealt with. People just ignore it pretending they have a minhag of less than a century about a rule that's supposed to change with the metzius. It's like claiming you can carry when the eruv is down because the minhag for a few years is to carry.
    – Double AA
    Dec 29, 2023 at 13:25
  • @DoubleAA so basically nowadays people go according to the opposing opinions?
    – Lo ani
    Dec 29, 2023 at 13:27
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    We're getting sidetracked here. Anyway I actually agree with what youve written here so better not add any misleading qualifications.
    – Double AA
    Dec 29, 2023 at 15:03

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