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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Purim Pleasures

This Purim definitely was a pleasure. I had the rare opportunity to attend shachrit for the megillah reading all by myself. To be able to hear birchat hacohanim and to be able to follow along so closely with the entire Megillah reading was quite enjoyable and I decided not to run home immediately and stay for the halacha shiur that follows shachrit.

Today's halacha shiur, predictably, was on the halachot of Chag Purim as brought down by Rav Ovadiah Yosef. I enjoyed the reading and shiur and figured that I would share my mental notes:
  • Sephardim do not say shechechinanu on the second reading of the Megillat Esther.
  • One is obligated to give two mishloach manot worth made up of two foods worth a minimal value (a pruta), but preferably the mishloach manot should be enough for a symbol meal. But, a married couple counts as two people and therefore two manot. Nevertheless, it is praiseworthy to go beyond the minimal requirement.
  • One is NOT obligated to wash for the Purim Seudah and eat bread. Nevertheless, it is praiseworthy to wash and eat bread. If one (who washed for the meal) forgets to say Al Ha'Nisim he does not need to repeat birchat hamazon as one is not actually obligated to wash on the Purim seudah.
  • One should try to have meat from a beheima for the seudah, rather than fowl or fish.
  • One should drink wine at the seudah beyond what one would normally drink, but should not become drunk as one needs to be able to fulfill their other halachic obligations, such as saying birchat hamazon if necessary.
  • Rather than become drunk to get to the point of ad deloh yada, one should take a nap after the seudah as that fulfills the requirement.
  • Rav Ovadiah holds that the mockery of talmidei hachamim on Purim is inappropriate and should not be done.
Besides a pleasant Shachrit and shiur, the mishloach manot were miraculously finished and we even mustered up enough energy to hand them out b'simcha. Our seudah was also enjoyable too and everyone enjoyed the food. The best part about the seudah for me was that I had prepared all of the food in advance and only need re-heating.

Here's hoping that everyone else had a wonderful Chag.


Anonymous said...

"Sephardim do not say shechechinanu on the second reading of the Megillat Esther."

Not entirely correct. Some Sepharadim do and some Ashkenazim (e.g. German Jews- 'Yekkes') do not. There is a lengthy discussion of this in Shorshei Minhag Ashkenaz, volume I.

SephardiLady said...

Anon--Thanks for the information. I'd love to know which Sephardim do say a second shechechinanu.

Charlie Hall said...

'the mockery of talmidei hachamim on Purim is inappropriate'

Mockery of talmidei chachamim is appropriate on days other than Purim?

SephardiLady said...

Of course it is inappropriate on other days too. Bad wording on my part. Rav Ovadiah is specifically referring to the mockery that is part of the day's activities on Purim.

Anonymous said...

According to Rav Hamburger's survey of the topic in Shorshei Minhag Ashkenaz, the old minhag Sefarad was to make shehechiyanu in the daytime too. He cites the sefer Hamanhig, Maggid Mishneh and Abudraham along those lines. What happened, was that the Rambam came along and paskened not to do so, and, gradually, that had the effect of changing the minhag of many Sefaradim (R. Yosef Karo in the Shulchan Aruch followed the Rambam in that, which also helped). Nevertheless, the old minhag Sefarad did not disappear entirely, reports Rav Hamburger, as various Sepharadic acharonim have written (see Kaf Hachaim 692:13). That practice was also reported in a Turkish kehilla in the time of Rav Chaim Palachi (sp.?), as well as being the the minhag of the Jews of Algiers.

It's not surprising that Rav Ovadya Yosef would report the halacha that way kidarko bakodesh, as he is a strong advocate of all Sefardim following the psak of the mechaber. However, not all always do.

SephardiLady said...

Thanks anon for the info. You are correct about the diversity and I'm glad you added your comments.