My Reform synagogue held a joke service (with familiar melodies, but silly or parodying lyrics) on the Shabbat following Purim. While a few Shabbat traditions were kept, most were parodied or skipped. Is there halachic precedence for this anywhere?

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    Prayer always requires a sense of dignity and seriousness, not comedy. This is true at all times of the year. Tunes, themselves, that defnitely would lead to comedic fun is probably not the best idea, as it detracts from the seriousness of prayer. With that said, it is not the tunes, itself, that may be the probelm, but the cong. and chazan's attitude as a result. If everyone can be serious despite the tune, perhaps, it' s not a problem, but, IMO, it may still not be in the best spirit regardless of when this is done. AFAIK, there is no commandment to do this. Ask the rav his source, please.
    – DanF
    Mar 27, 2016 at 2:45
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    By the way, we did not do the actual Bar'chu or Sh'ma/V'ahavta or any other actual Shabbat prayer.
    – AAM111
    Mar 27, 2016 at 3:07
  • @DanF, It's not the tunes that are humorous, it is the same tunes, but different, purim lyrics.
    – AAM111
    Mar 27, 2016 at 3:09
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    While I don't have the source offhand (somewhere near the end of Orach Chaim, by the Halachos of Purim) it warns against getting too carried away in "Purim Festivities" to the point where you won't be able to fulfill Mitzvot. There is no source that will tell you to make a farce of the services, and especially not 2 days after Purim. Mar 27, 2016 at 3:20
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    The only "change" to the service on the shabbat before Purim is to use some of the more lively tunes that fit without changing the actual service. What you describe would not be a service at all and would never be done on shabbat. If this was done it caused you to miss kabbalat shabbat and maariv. Whoever came up with that idea caused you to sin. Mar 28, 2016 at 2:25

2 Answers 2


It's hard to prove a negative, but I've never heard of what you describe, and I'm somewhat familiar with the Reform community. (I see you tagged your question .)

There is a tradition on the day of Purim to do some silly things, usually at the festive meal (held in the home), but also there are purimshpiels in synagogues sometimes -- dramatic, humorous presentations of the Purim story. These might be in addition to services, but they aren't services themselves.

Purim cannot fall on Shabbat in most places (it can in Jerusalem and in certain other old walled cities). By "Shabbat Purim" do you mean a Shabbat near Purim? I've heard of some (usually smaller) liberal congregations moving their Purim festivities to the nearest Shabbat for reasons of logistics (I guess they think they can't get a crowd both on Shabbat and on, say, a Wednesday night), but I've not heard of ones that change the Shabbat service in the ways you describe. I'm not aware of a source that sanctions, let alone encourages, making a farce out of the Amidah or other regular prayers, even on Purim. I suggest asking your rabbi what he bases his interpretation on -- and, if you get a source from him, I hope you'll come back and post an answer here.

  • @MonicaCellio My synagogue did a Star Wars-themed purim spiel on Wednesday Night in addition to this btw. I will ask my rabbi as you suggest, but thank you for your answer
    – AAM111
    Mar 27, 2016 at 3:34

Not on Shabbat. ON Purim, maybe, but even so, it should be after the service, not during.

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    Do you have any sources? Evidence? Rabbinic quotes?
    – AAM111
    Mar 26, 2016 at 18:35
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    Hello MMS, welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thanks for your first answer! If you haven’t done so already, you should take a look at the tour. MY places a lot of emphasis on sources (after all most of us don’t know you personally). Maybe you will be interested by something I wrote to help you understand the site "A beginner’s guide to MY - How is this site different from other Judaism sites” ? I hope you'll look around and find other Q&A of interest and stay learning with us.
    – mbloch
    Mar 26, 2016 at 20:02
  • I have heard of a custom however that on Purim the Hazan mixes up the tunes from the whole year, but the tefillah itself is regular.
    – Epicentre
    Mar 27, 2016 at 4:27
  • @Epicentre, I've heard of a minhag of Kaddish Shalem of Shacharit on Simchat Torah including all of the year's melodies, but never Purim. Mar 27, 2016 at 18:09

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