The Halacha is that those who live in a city that was walled in the times of Yehoshuah reads on a different day (Rambam Hilchos Megillah 1:4-5).

The question is why from Yehoshuah (Joshua) when the commentaries explain it they speak of the respect for Israel as the occasion occurred when the land of Israel lay in ruins hence we focus one aspect of the Megillah on Yehoshuah the question again is why not just say from the begining of the capturing of Israel why mention Yehoshuah ?


3 Answers 3


Bartenura (to Megillah 1:1) says that it is associated with Yehoshua because he was the first to wage war against Amalek. Indeed, G-d directs Moshe there to "write this as a memorial in the book and place it in the ears of Yehoshua" - the Gemara (Megillah 7a and 18a) explains that this phrase refers, among other things, to the Megillah.

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    While I like this idea, I find it to be of dubious veracity. After all, we also refer to walled cities in this way regarding the laws of batei arei chomah (Mishnah Arachin 9:6) and the Bartenura there gives no such explanation. I assume that the reference to walled cities is meant to be the same in both instances Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 21:53
  • In a recent Daily Halacha, Rabbi Eliyahu Mansour added that Yehoshua's being the first to battle 'Amaleq is significant, because Haman is an 'Amaleqite descendant. Also, had it been any walled city at the time of Purim, Eretz Yisra'el would be excluded, because it didn't have any walled cities at the time. To not disrespect Eretz Yisra'el, HaZa"L dialed backed the clock to its first conquest by Yehoshua'.
    – Lee
    Commented Mar 2, 2015 at 4:33

It seems to me that there are (at least possibly) a few elements.

  1. As Alex says, the times of Yehoshu'ah are regarded as the beginning of the war against Amalek, and the Purim story is regarded as part of the same war.
  2. The Yerushalmi says that the walls of Yerushalaim were standing at the times of Yehoshu'ah but not at the times of Mordechai and Esther; in order to class Yerushalaim as an important place, we choose that earlier moment for the rule about the date of Purim.
  3. There are other areas of halacha, such as redemption of homes and removal of the dead, in which "walled cities" are those with walls at the times of Yehoshu'ah. So perhaps there was an element of rabbinic law in parallel with scriptural law, an impulse occasionally at play.
  • #2 still begs the question of why Yehoshua and not some later generation which still had the walls of Yerushalayim. #3 begs the question of why Yehoshua for all those other halachos.
    – DonielF
    Commented Mar 14, 2019 at 3:41

There are some דאורייתות that are applicable only to walled cities from the time of יהושע: redemption of houses in a walled city, and - if my memory servers me correctly, but I may be wrong on this - the exclusion of מצורע from a walled city. It would therefore make sense to use the same formula for this new דין even though the הלכה of בתי ערע חומה was not in effect at the time of פורים as pointed out in the comments.

Interestingly, ירושלם itself is not subject to the laws of בתי ערי חומה, but that is for a technicality, i.e., it is not the exclusive portion of one tribe.

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    This is not entirely accurate. Batei Arei Chomah of Yehoshua for Geulah were Batel. See Erkhin 32b and Rambam Yovel 12:15
    – Double AA
    Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 19:18
  • @DoubleAA Just because it does not apply nowadays does not mean that it is not a valid basis of making a הלכה. Is there any reason to assume that it would not apply לעתיד לבא? Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 15:06
  • Did you read the Rambam I quoted?
    – Double AA
    Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 15:06
  • @DoubleAA I did now, but I maintain that my answer would still be a valid answer regarding why we chose Joshua. The sanctification of Ezra mentioned in the Rambam had not taken place yet, so they used the last effective one, from the days of Joshua. If they would have used walled cities of the present time, none would be included in the Land of Israel. Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 15:16
  • I'm not saying the laws of Batei Arei Chomah weren't in effect. I'm saying the Kedusha of Yehoshua was nullified and when we go back we'll instate a new Kedusha on new cities, not the ones from Yehoshua. Using Yehoshua as a metric is obsolete. It's not a useful metric anymore. After the first exile it didn't have any significance, so using it is arbitrary.
    – Double AA
    Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 15:19

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