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As this year is a Judaic leap year, we shall be observing Purim Kattan ("little" Purim) on the 14 and 15 of Adar I (Feb. 24 and 25 on the Gregorian calendar.) (This holiday occurs every Judaic leap year, not just this one, of course.)

I vaguely recall a discussion in Talmud Megilla that explained that the reason the "real" Purim is moved to the 2nd Adar rather than the 1st is to make the miracle of Purim occur as close as possible to the miracle of Passover.

From further recollection, Shulchan Aruch states that on Purim Kattan, we do not recite Tachanun in the prayers, and there is a "suggestion" to make some type of small festive meal. (I don't know how many people actually make such a meal.)

I'm unaware of the Talmud or any other source mentioning giving any importance to Purim Kattan, and the Shulchan Aruch also doesn't seem to give a reason or source for it other than stating what to do on that day.

Why is it given any importance, and what is the earliest known source that mentions it?

  • What's wrong with Megilla Mishna 4: פרק א - משנה ד: אֵין בֵּין אֲדָר הָרִאשׁוֹן לַאֲדָר הַשֵּׁנִי אֶלָּא קְרִיאַת הַמְּגִלָּה וּמַתָּנוֹת לָאֶבְיוֹנִים - or are you asking something else? – Danny Schoemann Feb 1 '16 at 15:36
  • @DannySchoemann Yes, that is the Mishnah I am thinking of. But, all that does is point to the fact that Megillah and presents to the poor are done in Adar 2. It doesn't indicate giving any importance to making any type of holiday on Adar 1. – DanF Feb 1 '16 at 15:39
  • Also see here for more sources and discussions, especially the Chatam Sofer towards the end who says that hesped and ta'anit are forbidden from de'orayta in Adar 2. – Cauthon Feb 1 '16 at 15:51
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    @DanF On the contrary, that Mishnah says that Adar 1 is equal to Adar 2 with the exception of those two examples. The default is that everything is the same between the two months, and the only thing missing from the first month see the examples mentioned in the Mishnah. – Salmononius2 Feb 1 '16 at 15:51
  • I meant of course Adar 1. – Cauthon Feb 1 '16 at 17:46
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The Mishnah Megilla has a series of Mishnayot of the format "there is no difference between A and B except...". where A and B are two different but similar things.

Some similarities are often listed.

One of these examples (the relevant one that leads to the others) is a statement that there is no difference between the 14th Adar I and 14th Adar II except some aspects (the main mitzvot of the day) that are done only in the 2nd month.

That means that other aspects, like not fasting on that day, are observed in both months.

  • A few people have mentioned this Mishnah in comments. This would imply that one should make a festive meal (which the SA mentions) and dress in costumes on Purim Katan. AFAIK, the festive meal on the order of what is done on the Adar 2 Purim which includes getting drunk, is not done. And, I've never seen people dress in costumes on Purim Kattan, either. So, there must be some specific items that are implied in the "there is no difference" part that are vague, which is the motive of my question. – DanF Feb 2 '16 at 17:54
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    @DanF "which is the motive of my question": you don't mention that motivation in your question. Had you done so, you'd not have gotten this answer. – msh210 Feb 2 '16 at 18:00
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    @DanF Dressing in costumes is not included in that Mishna because it's not a Halakha, and has no rules... – Double AA Feb 2 '16 at 18:06
  • Are those אין בין's complete? As @DanF mentions, the implications of the Mishnah are a Chiyuv to be בסומי בפוריא עד דלא ידע, as well as Mishloch Manot. Are there any sources that deal with these implications, one way or another? – Chaim Feb 8 '16 at 18:53
  • @Chaim see related question judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/68101/… – DanF Feb 8 '16 at 20:33

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