Askmoses-A Jews Resource
What is gematriah and how does it work?
Browse our archives

The Scholar is ready to answer your question. Click the button below to chat now.


Scholar Online:

Type in your question here:

What is Shushan Purim?

  

Library » Holidays | Subscribe | What is RSS?


PRINT EMAIL COMMENT

David: What is Shushan Purim?

Rabbi Marcus: Shushan Purim refers to the day after Purim. It commemorates the day when the Jews of Shushan, the Persian capital, finally rested after defeating their enemies.

Rabbi Marcus: The Book of Esther1 records that in the rest of the kingdom, the Jews fought and beat their enemies on the thirteenth of Adar and rested on the fourteenth. That’s why Purim is celebrated on the fourteenth. But in Shushan, due to a special request by Queen Esther, the Jews received special dispensation from the king to continue fighting on the fourteenth—hence Shushan Purim, which is celebrated on the fifteenth of Adar.

David: I heard something about walled-cities and Shushan Purim?

Rabbi Marcus: Indeed. Shushan was a walled city. So in order to commemorate the celebration of the Jews of Shushan, other walled cities celebrate Purim on the fifteenth as well. Now, because Shushan was the capital city, it was considered prestigious to celebrate Purim on the same day as Shushan. The problem with that was that at the time that Purim was established, all the cities of the Land of Israel lay in ruins. So in order to grant some prestige to the Land of Israel, the sages said that inhabitants of any city that had a wall around it in the days of Joshua—even if now it lay crumbled—should celebrate Purim on the fifteenth like Shushan.2

Rabbi Marcus: In this way the Land of Israel was honored in the commemoration of Purim. If a city did not have a wall in the days of Joshua but had one in the days of Purim, its inhabitants would read on the fourteenth (except Shushan, which did not have a wall in the days of Joshua).

Rabbi Marcus: The Rishonim point out the connection between Joshua and Purim: Haman was a descendant of Amalek, the perpetual enemy of Israel. Joshua was the first to wage war against them (see Exodus 17:9). Thus the celebration of Purim is associated with Joshua.

Rabbi Marcus: Today, Jerusalem and Shushan are the only cities that are considered walled-cities as far as Shushan Purim is concerned. There are other cities in the land of Israel about which there is some doubt. The inhabitants of such cities, like Safed, observe the fifteenth as well “just in case.” (I.e., they read the Megillah but without saying the blessing.)

[Read the sequel to this chat: How do un-walled cities celebrate Shushan Purim? ]

All names, places, and identifying information have been changed or deleted in order to protect the privacy of the questioners. In order to preserve authenticity, the chat sessions have been posted with a minimum of editing. Please excuse typographical errors, missing punctuation, and/or grammatical mistakes which naturally occur in the course of informal chat sessions.

Footnotes

  • 1. Esther 9:16-18
  • 2. Talmud tractate Megillah 2a-b. Maimonidies laws of Megillah 1:4-5

ADD A COMMENT

Please email me when new comments are posted (you must be  logged in).

RELATED CATEGORIES

Holidays » Purim » About

Purim
A one-day holiday celebrated in late winter commemorating the miraculous deliverance of the Jewish people from a decree of annihilation issued by Persian King Ahasuerus in the year 356 BCE.
Megillah
A scroll. Usually a reference to the Book of Esther, one of the books of the "Written Torah", which is read--from a scroll--on the holiday of Purim.
Rishonim
"The First Ones." The Torah scholars who lived from about the eleventh through the fifteenth-sixteenth centuries.
Haman
Descendant of anti-Semitic tribe of Amalek and prime minister of the Persian Empire in the 5th century b.c.e. Schemed to annihilate all the Jews, and the holiday of Purim was established when the plot was foiled.
Joshua
1. Assumed the leadership of the Jewish people after Moses died in 1267 BCE. He split the Jordan River and led the Jewish people in their conquest of the Promised Land. 2. One of the 24 books of the Bible, which chronicles Joshua's leadership.
Amalek
Anti-Semitic tribe descendant from Esau; first to attack the Jews upon leaving Egypt. We are commanded to remember their vile deed and obliterate all memory of them.
Esther
1. Jewish wife of Persian King Ahasuerus in the 4th century BCE. Foiled the plot of Haman, the prime minister, to exterminate all the Jews. The holiday of Purim commemorates this miraculous salvation. 2. One of the 24 Books of the Bible, which chronicles the abovementioned story.
Adar
The twelfth month on the Jewish calendar. This month (which falls out approx. February-March), is the most joyous month on the calendar due to the holiday of Purim which is on the 14th and 15th of this month.
Jerusalem
Established by King David to be the eternal capital of Israel. Both Temples were built there, and the third Temple will be situated there when the Messiah comes.
David
King of Israel who succeeded Saul, becoming king of Israel in 876 BCE. Originally a shepherd, he became popular after he killed the Philistine strongman, Goliath. He is the progenitor of the Davidic royal dynasty -- which will return to the throne with the arrival of King Messiah.
Exodus
1. The miraculous departure of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage in 1312 BCE. 2. The second of the Five Books of Moses. This book describes the aforementioned Exodus, the giving of the Torah, and the erection of the Tabernacle.