Three Days of Purim?

This week in Jerusalem we will be celebrating three days of Purim (Mishulash) from Thursday evening to Sunday evening while most other cities in the world will only be celebrating Thursday evening and Friday.

How did we earn all of these extra days of celebration?

Usually, Jerusalem (a walled city since the days of Yehoshua Bin Nun) as well as Shushan (the walled city where the Purim story took place) celebrate on Shushan Purim, the fifteenth of Adar rather than the fourteenth since it took the residents of Shushan an extra day to finish the battle.

This year, Shushan Purim comes out on Shabbat. The Rabbi’s forbade the carrying of the Megillah (Scroll of Ester) on Shabbat, therefore the Megillah is read on Thursday night and Friday morning (regular Purim) along with the rest of the world. The reason why we do not postpone the Megillah reading until after Shabbat is because it says in the Megillah 9:27 “The Jews confirmed and undertook upon themselves and their posterity  and upon all who might join them, to observe these two days , without fail, in the manner prescribed and at the proper time each year”.

Aside from the Megillah reading, Matanot Lavyonim, gifts to the poor will also be given of the 14th of Adar (Friday) since the poor are used to receiving their gifts on the same day as the Megillah is read and this way they can already enjoy their gifts.

On Shabbat itself (Shushan Purim) in Jerusalem, we add the Al HaNisim Prayer. The Torah reading includes the Purim reading about Amalek.

On Sunday, we distribute Mishloach Manot in Jerusalem as well as celebrate with the festive meal. Although we have a festive meal each Shabbat, we do not want to mix two happy occasions (and miss out on more good food) so we have two festive meals, one on Shabbat and one on Sunday.

So while the rest of the world is trying to cram all of the festivities into one day, here in Jerusalem we will be celebrating at a more relaxed pace and we will finally get a Sunday off from work!