Friday, February 18, 2011

Purim Katan Observances

A Guest Post By E. Fink

On my Twitter stream, I see many people observing Purim Katan (today). The rituals range from imbibing, giving charity, having a special seuda and I have even heard of giving mishloach manos.

The Shulchan Aruch says that one should no say tachanun or "ya'ancha" on Purim Katan. There is a disagreement about whether hespedim are permitted and whether one may fast. Interesteringly, the Rama says that some say one is obligated to add a feast to the day but we do not have this custom. But as a hedge, he says to add a little bit to their meal on Purim Katan and anyway it's always good to have a nice meal.

It seems from the Aruch Hashulchan and the Shaarei Teshuva that the origins of expanding the Purim customs to Purim Katan came from the confusion about whether or not the month was going to be Adar 1 or Adar 2 in the times of the Temple. When that issue was obviated the reason to celebrate in Adar 1 was abated.

I think it's interesting that people are (at least claiming) to be adding more observances to Purim Katan than those prescribed in our sifrei halacha. I have a hunch it comes from chassidus, similar to the recent addition of Tu B'Shvat seders.

Worth noting, is the fact that Karaites celebrate Purim in Adar 1. Are these new observances the "revenge of the Karaites"...?

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