Shushan Purim & Keeping a second day in a questionable city

* This article is an excerpt from the above Sefer

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Shushan Purim:

Increasing in festivities in un-walled cities:[1] One is obligated to slightly[2] increase in joy and festivities on Shushan Purim [during the day[3]], and so is the custom.[4] [However, on the night of the 15th, there is no need, for those who celebrated Purim on the 14th, to increase in festivities.[5] Nevertheless, many have the custom to do so.[6] Many scrupulous Jews increase in festivities and festive meals on the day of Shushan Purim even more than on Purim itself.[7] In years that Purim falls on Friday, one is to increase in delicacies and festivities by the Shabbos meal in honor of Shushan Purim.]

Tachanun:[8] Tachanun is omitted on the 15th in all cities. [Thus, when the 15th falls on Shabbos [i.e. Purim Meshulash for Jerusalem residents] one omits Av Harachamim from the Shabbos Musaf prayer and omits Tzidkasecha from the Shabbos Mincha prayer.] Some are accustomed to omit Tachanun from the 11th until the 17th of Adar.[9] Some also omit Tachanun from the 23rd of Adar until the end of the month.[10] This is not the Chabad custom.]

Keil Erech Apayim:[11] The prayer of Keil Erech Apayim is omitted on Shushan Purim.


Keeping a second day of Purim in a questionable city:[12]

A city in which there is doubt as to whether it contained walls at the time of Yehoshua [and hence there is question as to which day they should celebrate Purim] the inhabitants are to celebrate Purim on both the 14th and 15th.[13]

Megillah reading: They are to read the Megillah on both the night and day of the 14th and 15th [for a total of four readings].[14] However a blessing is only recited over the reading of the Megillah on the 14th and not over the reading on the 15th.[15]

Purim Seudah, Matanos Laevyonim, Mishloach Manos, Al Hanissim: They are to rejoice [in having a meal[16]], give presents to the poor[17], [send Mishloach Manos[18], and say Al Hanissim[19]] on both days.[20] This applies equally to both men and woman.[21] [In Tzefas, the custom is not to say Al Hnaissim.]

Davening and Kerias Hatorah: The Davening on the 14th follows the order of Purim Davening. However, on the 15th one is to follow the weekday order and hence is not to recite Ata Kadosh in Maariv, and by Shacharis one does not remove a Torah scroll for the Amalek reading.[22] Nevertheless some communities have the custom to read from the Torah scroll without a blessing on the 15th.[23]

Cities that are distanced from Eretz Yisrael: All walled cities that are of great distance from Eretz Yisrael are to celebrate Purim only on the 14th, as it is certain that they were not yet inhabited by the time of Yehoshua.[24] Nevertheless in a case of true historical doubt, they are to celebrate on both days, following the laws of a questionable city.[25]


List of cities which keep two days due to doubt:[26]

  • Akko
  • Gaza
  • Bagdad[27]
  • Beiriy[28]
  • Beis Shean
  • [29]
  • Gush Chalav
  • Haifa[30]
  • Hebron[31]
  • Eiyn Zeiton[32]
  • Lod[33]
  • Prague: Some[34] rule it is not a walled city and hence the inhabitants are to celebrate only on the 14th. Others[35] rule this matter is questionable and they are hence to celebrate on both days.
  • Ramlei
  • Shechem
  • Tiveria[36]
  • Tzefas[37]
  • Yaffo
  • Yericho




Are the inhabitants of cities which keep Purim on both the 14th and 15th due to doubt to refrain from Melacha on both days?[38]

Yes. All the cities that are stringent to celebrate and fulfill the Mitzvos of Purim also on the 15th are to refrain from work on both days, the 14th and 15th.


[1] Rama 695:2

[2] So writes Rama ibid. However, see Minchas Elazar brought in the footnotes below that one is to increase in festive meals on the 15th just like as on the 14th and even more so.

[3] Shaar Hatziyon 695:4; The Nimukei Orach Chaim 696:1 explains one does not fulfill the law written in the Rama ibid on the night of the 15th, as one who does the meal at night does not fulfill his obligation. See also Poskim in coming footnotes

[4] The reason: As the verse states “on these two days”, hence one must rejoice on both the 14th and 15th. [Darkei Moshe 695:4]

[5] Shaar Hatziyon 695:4; See Nimukei Orach Chaim ibid

[6] Levush 695 brought in Kaf Hachaim 695:28; Minchas Elazar 2:5; Nimukeiy Orach Chaim 696:1; Mishmeres Shalom 50:5

The Mishmeres Shalom ibid writes that the Tzaddikim would have a second meal on Motzei Purim [night of the 15th] and that such a meal has great mystical meaning. The Nimukei Orach Chaim ibid however explains that this meal does not fulfill the law written in the Rama ibid to increase in festivities on the 15th, as one who does the meal at night does not fulfill his obligation. [695:1]

[7] Minchas Elazar ibid; See Shulchan Menachem 3:329 that one must especially increase in joy when Shushan Purim falls on Shabbos; see Otzer Minhagei Chabad 229 that the Rebbe stated on certain occasions that the Mitzvah of Ad Delo Yada applies likewise on Shushan Purim, and one can do a Hashlama for it on the Shabbos after Purim.


The Minchas Elazar explains that in the source of the Rama’s ruling in the Sefer “Minhagim” it states that one is obligated in festivities on both the 14th and 15th, and does not make a differentiation between the 14th and 15th. Hence, the obligation of Simcha and festive meals applies equally to both the 14th and 15th. He brings many proofs for this matter [and hence negates the Rama’s opinion of only increasing “slightly”]. Now, since on the 14th, people are very busy with the other Mitzvos of Purim there is not much time for them to properly fulfill the Mitzvah of Simcha and Mishteh. This is hence mainly fulfilled on the 15th, when there are no other extra Mitzvos that one must perform. See Shulchan Menachem ibid that the Rebbe states that this is the opinion of the Sheilasos and Bahag that one must rejoice on both days, although it is not brought down in Shulchan Aruch.

[8] Siddur; See also 696:3 that fasting and eulogies are forbidden on both days.

[9] See Piskeiy Teshuvos 688:19; Darkei chaim Veshalom 191; Shulchan Hatahos Komrana 131:28; Mishmeres Shalom end of Sefer; Taamei Haminhagim 878; Kochav Meyaakov Yerushalmi Megillah 1:4

[10] Darkei Chaim Veshalom 191

[11] Siddur Admur; Levush 697; P”M 697 A”A 1; M”B 697:2

[12] Michaber 688:4; See Beis Yosef 688

[13] This applies even if the city does not currently have a wall but there is doubt whether it was walled in the times of Yehoshua. However the Peri Chadash rules that in such a case they are to celebrate on the 14th and a doubt only applies to a city that is currently walled. Practically the ruling of the Shulchan Aruch is like the former opinion. [Kaf Hachaim 688:20]

The reason we do not say Safek Brachos Lihakel: See Beis Yosef 688 in name of Ran

[14] Michaber ibid

[15] Michaber ibid

Why is a blessing said on the first day if it is a doubt? As the first day is the main day of Purim for such a city being that on this day majority of the world celebrates Purim. [Michaber ibid] Meaning that since according to the Yerushalmi even a Ben Kerach Bedieved fulfills his obligation of Megillah on the 14th therefore there is no doubt, and a blessing may be recited. [M”B 688:11; Kaf Hachaim 688:26 in name of Gr”a] However on the second day a blessing may not be said as the blessings are only Rabbinical and it is hence a Rabbinical doubt in which we rule leniently. [M”B ibid] The Bach however asks why the 15th is any different than the second day of Yom Tov in the Diaspora which is also questionable and nevertheless the blessings are said on that day. Thus, one should say a blessing prior to Megillah reading on both days. The M”A 688:6 answers that only by those Mitzvos which the Sages instituted a blessing even in a case of doubt, such as by the second day of Yom Tov in the Diaspora, may a blessing be recited. However, without a specific Rabbinical institution a blessing may not be said even by Biblical doubts. [Kaf Hachaim 688:24]

[16] Nimukeiy Orach Chaim 695:7; as if one is to send Mishloach Manos and Matanos Laevyonim on both days certainly one must fulfill the Seuda which is the purpose of these Mitzvos. [ibid]

[17] M”A 688:5 brought in M”B 688:10; Ben Ish Chaiy Tetzaveh 17

[18] Peri Megadim M”Z 695:5; Ben Ish Chaiy Tetzaveh 17; Kaf Hachaim 695:23 and 54 that so was custom of Arizal [Shaar Hakavanos Purim 1]; See Nimukeiy Orach Chaim 695:7 that one may be lenient on the 15th to give Mishloach Manos without a Shliach. Likewise, one can fulfill this at a meal by simply giving another person a glass of wine and some food. [ibid]

Other opinions: The Peri Chadash rules they only need to send Mishloach Manos on the 14th. The Biur Halacha [695 “Oa Shel”] brings both opinions. Practically the custom is to send on both days. [Ben Ish Chaiy Tetzaveh ibid; Kaf Hachaim ibid.]

[19] Peri Megadim 693 M”Z 3; M”B 693:6; Har Tzevi 2:128; and so concludes Piskeiy Teshuvos 688:6; See Minchas Yitzchak 8:54

Other Opinions: Some Poskim rule that one does not say Al Hanissim on the 15th, and that so was the custom of the Arizal, due to worry of it being an interval in prayer and Birchas Hamazon. [Kaf Hachaim 688:23; 693:16; Ben Ish Chaiy Tetzaveh 14; Sefer Eretz Yisrael of Rav Tukichinsky; Arizal in Shaar Hakavanos Purim 1] However see Nimukeiy Orach Chaim 693:1 that explains it was only during Chazaras Hashatz that the Arizal did not want to say Al Hanissim, however by the private Shemoneh Esrei one can assume that he said it. At the very least one cannot say he did not say it being that certainly the Arizal did not pray the private Shemoneh Esrei aloud. [ibid]

[20] M”A 688:5; M”B 688:10; Kaf Hachaim 688:22

[21] Piskeiy Teshuvos 688:6

[22] Kaf Hachaim 688:25 in name of Kesones Yosef 31; Ikarei Daat 36:29; Peas Hashulchan 3:15

[23] Ben Ish Chaiy Tetzaveh 14

[24] M”A 688:4 in name of Levush; M”B 688:9; Kaf Hachaim 688:21

[25] There are some cities outside of Eretz Yisrael which are questionable if they contained walls at the times of Yehoshua. [Shlah brought in M”A 688:4] The M”B ibid that even by such cities one may be lenient to only celebrate on the 14th. [Shaar Hatziyon 688:9] However the Ben Ish Chaiy Tetzaveh 14 rules that in Bagdad they celebrate both days due to doubt, and so was accustomed Rav Chaim Vital in Bagdad. Hence, we see that we do not automatically rule leniently in a city outside of Eretz Yisrael. See also Shearim Hametzuyanim Behalacha 141:22 and Piskeiy Teshuvos 688:8. 

[26] See Peas Hashulchan 3:15; Eretz Yisrael of Rav Tukitchinsky; Piskeiy Teshuvos 688:7

Other Opinions: Some Poskim write that all the cities in Eretz Yisrael celebrate on the 14th and 15th due to doubt, with exception to Yerushalayim which celebrates only on the 15th. [Divrei Yosef 2 brought in Kaf Hachaim 688:17]

[27] Ben Ish Chaiy Tetzaveh 14

[28] Kaf Hachaim 688:19

[29] Shaar Hakavanos Purim 1 brought in Kaf Hachaim 688:23

[30] Shaareiy Halacha Uminhag 5:96; Luach Eretz Yisrael; See Shay Kohen 2:489; See Gemara Megillah 5b; M”B 699:9 that it is questionable whether the sea is considered a wall for the city.

[31] Birkeiy Yosef 688:4; Chaim Shaul 2:94; Tevuos Haaretz; Kaf Hachaim 688:17

Other Opinions: The Radbaz 681 rules that Hebron was not walled in the times of Yehoshua Ben Nun and they are hence to only read on the 14th.

[32] Kaf Hachaim 688:19

[33] Minchas Yitzchak 8:61; Yabia Omer 7:60 based on Gemara that states Lud was a walled city in times of Yehoshua.

[34] Teshuvah Meahava 210

[35] Chayeh Adam 155:8

[36] Gemara Megillah 5b; M”A 688:4; M”B 688:9. The Gemara ibid questions whether a sea is considered like a wall.

[37] Kaf Hachaim 688:19

[38] Beis Oved 696:6; Yad Efraim brought in Kaf Hachaim 696:15; Piskeiy Teshuvos 696:3

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