Monday, November 05, 2007

When is Purim?

More on East Jerusalem:

Even though I can come up with rationalizations for why areas inside the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem are different from the West Bank, one thing that the tour showed very clearly is that the line in real life is much more fuzzy. There's not a visible difference between the areas just inside and just outside the municipal boundaries, among both Jewish and Palestinian communities. (The wall is, of course, pretty darn visible in some places, but doesn't correspond to the municipal boundaries.) One point that kept getting driven home was that we'd be driving around remote hilltops (which happened to be inside the municipal boundaries) and the tour guide would say ironically "Look around you. Here it is, the city of David, the unified undivided capital forever and ever", etc.

I mean really. When people think of "dividing Jerusalem", I think they're thinking of putting a border crossing on King George St., and haven't seen what passes for "Jerusalem" out there.

So I still have a question.

Purim is observed on the 14th of Adar in most of the Jewish world, and on the 15th of Adar in cities that were walled at the time of Yehoshua bin Nun (when the Israelites entered the land). This latter category includes Jerusalem. However, it includes more than just the original walled city of Jerusalem (i.e. part of the current Old City, plus other areas south of it). The Talmud (Megillah 2b) says that it includes anything connected to the walled city, and everything seen as part of it. As I've noted before, in practice this means lots of Jerusalem neighborhoods that are nowhere near the Old City. So what is today's boundary of "Jerusalem" in regard to the day on which Purim is observed? Is it the municipal boundary, or something else?

On what day do they observe Purim in Gilo? Pisgat Ze'ev? Ein Kerem? (Did the answer to that question change when Ein Kerem was incorporated into Jerusalem? Or did that happen at the same time that the first Jews moved in?) Giv'at Ze'ev? Mevaseret Zion? Ma'aleh Adumim? (And will the answer to that last question change if things go according to plan and it becomes part of the city that is walled in the time of Yoel bin Nun?)

(I already know the answers for Malcha and, tragically, Gush Etzion.)

This question, on the surface, is about a trivial ritual detail, but really it's about Jerusalem identity.


  1. If I remember correctly, many in those neighborhoods observe two days purim, as does a shul in zichron moshe on the way out of town.
    I think that the municipal boundaries are essentially binding on purim observance, though, not least because 15 Adar is vacation for people in Jerusalem and 14 Adar for those outside it.

  2. Also, how many days of yom tov do people in Eilat keep? (People who would keep 2 days outside of Israel, I mean.)

  3. not least because 15 Adar is vacation for people in Jerusalem and 14 Adar for those outside it.

    But lots of people commute across the municipal boundary.

  4. I know that in Ramot many people observe both days of Purim.

  5. Rav Auerbach said anyone who gets a water bill (or was it arnona?) from the City of Jerusalem observes Shushan Purim. I do, but I also live near the Old City.

    I know Maale Adumim doesn't, but sometimes they get confused :)