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Purim Katan ("little Purim") occurs on the 14th and 15th of Adar I, which is only during leap years, such as the current year.

Mishnah Megillah 1:4 says:

קראו את המגילה באדר הראשון ונתעברה השנה, קורין אותה באדר השני. אין בין אדר הראשון לאדר השני אלא קריאת המגילה ומתנות לאביונים .

If the Megillah was read in first of Adar, and the year was [subsequently] intercalated, we read it in second of Adar. There is no difference between the first Adar and the second Adar except the reading of the Megillah and alms to the poor.

The Mishnah does not mention anything about mshlo'ach manot - the exchanging of food gifts even though it, as well as making a festive meal are mentioned in Esther 9:19:

עַל־כֵּ֞ן הַיְּהוּדִ֣ים הפרוזים [הַפְּרָזִ֗ים] הַיֹּשְׁבִים֮ בְּעָרֵ֣י הַפְּרָזוֹת֒ עֹשִׂ֗ים אֵ֠ת י֣וֹם אַרְבָּעָ֤ה עָשָׂר֙ לְחֹ֣דֶשׁ אֲדָ֔ר שִׂמְחָ֥ה וּמִשְׁתֶּ֖ה וְי֣וֹם ט֑וֹב וּמִשְׁל֥וֹחַ מָנ֖וֹת אִ֥ישׁ לְרֵעֵֽהוּ׃

Therefore do the Jews of the villages, that dwell in the unwalled towns, make the fourteenth day of the month Adar a day of gladness and feasting, and a good day, and of sending portions one to another.

(Shulchan Aruch O.C. 697 mentions that one should make a feast on Purim Katan similar to Purim, but common custom is not to do so.)

Why aren't gifts exchanged during Purim Katan, considering that the Mishnah states that there is no difference between the 1st and 2nd Adar other than the 2 specific items that were mentioned?

  • yeshiva.org.il/wiki/… – Yishai Feb 8 '16 at 17:55
  • @Yishai I don't have access to every web site, that one being one of them. If possible, please comment, briefly on what is discussed there. I'll try to view it later. Perhaps, there is something in there that you can extract to compose an answer? – DanF Feb 8 '16 at 18:02
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    It basically says that we don't learn from general statements in the Mishna even when they already list exceptions - there can be additional exceptions. – Yishai Feb 8 '16 at 18:13
  • If there is no other difference, shouldn't the Purim Torah tag be open in Adar I? – rosends Feb 28 '16 at 17:24
  • @Danno No. There's only so much narishkeit that I can handle at once >:-[ – DanF Feb 29 '16 at 2:18
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The Ran on Megillah 3b says that even though one should feast on Adar 1, there's no need for Mishloach Manot because it is similar to Matanot La'Evyonim, which is done only in Adar 2:

וקרוב הדבר גם כן שראוי להרבות בסעודה בי"ד שבראשון אבל לענין לשלוח מנות כיון דדמו למתנות לאביונים דליתנהו אלא בשני משמע נמי דאף משלוח מנות אינו אלא בשני

However the Ketav Sofer on the Torah mentions this Ran and humbly disagrees. In short, he says that if you decide to be machmir and have a feast, then do Mishloach Manot as well, because they are both based on the principle of enjoying and rejoicing with your fellow man. Here's an excerpt:

וצ"ע בשלוח מנות מה דינו... ומצאתי ראיתי בר"ן והביאו ב"י שהרגיש בזה שכתב דבמשלוח מנות אין מחוייב דבכלל מתנות לאביונים הוא... אבל לולי הר"ן היה נראה לי לומר ע"פ שמסבירים דמשלוח מנות שייך לסעודה כרעים האהובים בעת שמחתם יושבים ואוכלים משלחים זה לזה מתוך הסעודה כן הדבר הזה... ולפי"ז מי שמחמיר להרבות בשמחה יתנהג ג"כ לשלח מנות ולא יאחז החבל בשני ראשון להתענג נפשו ולא יתהנה אחרים ומי שלבו רע להנות אחרים לא ירבה במשתה לעצמו ג"כ...‏

  • You know, based on Ketav Hasofer's opinion, a person can get Mishlo'ach Manot in Adar I and recycle it for Mishloach Manot in Adar II. – DanF Feb 8 '16 at 18:17

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