Mishnah Megillah 1:4 states:

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 above Mishnah confuses me, somewhat. The beginning says If you read it in Adar 1 and an extra Adar occurred, you have to read it again. The end of it says, "There is no difference between the 1st and 2nd Adar except for Megillah reading." That implies that we aren't supposed to read in one of the Adars. How can you undo what you already read in the 1st Adar if you thought that it would not be a leap year? (It says that afterwards they added an extra month.) So, if you read the Megilla already, and the Mishna tells you that you have to do it again, why does it say there's no "difference ... except for Megilla reading"?

  • It simply means that one didn't "יצא ידי חובה" in the first reading, and must attend the reading in Adar 2 (his second reading, but the first didn't count). Then they generalize the differences between the Adars.
    – Cauthon
    Feb 10, 2016 at 20:50
  • @Cauthon Yes, I got that idea. But, what's puzzling is that it implies that every leap year this happened, because they would never know when a leap year would occur until later. So why say "if". It HAS to be that way!
    – DanF
    Feb 10, 2016 at 20:58
  • Yes, the translation is confusing, I would say it's closter to "when this happens". The "if" relates to the second part, the intercalation: "If (the Megillah was read in first of Adar,) and the year was (then) intercalated..."
    – Cauthon
    Feb 10, 2016 at 21:10
  • See Beraytah in Gemarah 6A דתניא קראו את המגילה באדר הראשון ונתעברה השנה קורין אותה באדר השני שכל מצות שנוהגות בשני נוהגות בראשון חוץ ממקרא מגילה ר''א ברבי יוסי אומר אין קורין אותה באדר השני שכל מצות שנוהגות בשני נוהגות בראשון רשב''ג אומר משום רבי יוסי אף קורין אותה באדר השני שכל מצות שנוהגות בשני אין נוהגות בראשון It seems as Cauthon says, 1- if מקרא מגילה לא נוהגת בראשון 2- retroactively לא יצא ידי חובה וצריך לקרוא בשני The cause is Lo noheget, the consequence is Koreim basheni Retroactively, the unique Adar is recalled Adar Rishon
    – kouty
    Feb 10, 2016 at 23:36

1 Answer 1


Note that the word אם (if) is not in the mishna. I would read it as "they read". You can have the case in which it was announced before Adar that there would be an Adar Sheni and people may or may not read in Adar Rishon as well as the case in which it is not announced until after Purim. This teaches that even though you might think that a late announcement would not cancel the earlier reading, it actually does do so.

  • I think you need to further support the notion stated at the start of your 2nd sentence, i.e. that the Mishna here refers to situations where the leap year was announced before 14th of Adar I. I'm unaware of when or why that was done. I thought Sanhedrin waits close to the end of Adar to announce.
    – DanF
    Feb 10, 2016 at 21:17
  • I said that the mishnah could be referring to both situations. I have not seen explicit mention of exactly when they would announce the leap year. Feb 10, 2016 at 21:24
  • It's possible, but it's still vague. If people knew in advance before 14 Adar, that there would be a leap year, why would they intentionally read it in Adar 1? If they didn't know, then, the "except Megilla reading" in the 2nd part of the statement is false, b/c they did it twice. Unless as you stated, it means "the fulfillment of the mitzvah" is only in 2nd Adar.
    – DanF
    Feb 10, 2016 at 21:32

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