Love of the Land - Remembering the Land
Selections from classical Torah sources
which express the special relationship between
the People of Israel and Eretz Yisrael
REMEMBERING THE LAND
Purim is not celebrated on the same day everywhere. In walled cities, we are told in Megillat Esther, the celebration is on the 15th day of Adar, while in cities without walls it is on the 14th.
The reason for this is that in the unwalled cities, the Jews overcame their enemies on the 13th of Adar and celebrated on the 14th, while in the walled capital of Shushan the battle still raged on the 14th and the Jews there could not celebrate their victory until the 15th. Therefore, all walled cities celebrate Purim on the 15th because of their similarity to Shushan.
The designation "walled city" does not depend on a city's present situation, but rather on whether it had a wall at the time Joshua led the Jewish nation in the conquest of Eretz Yisrael. But why is Joshua's time the criterion for the designation "walled city?" Wouldn't it have been more logical to make this determination based on the time of the Purim miracle?
The answer is found in the Jerusalem Talmud where Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi declares that this was done in order to accord honor to Eretz Yisrael which lay desolate at the time the Persian miracle.
Rabbi Nissan ben Reuven (Ran) explains this as follows: At the time of the Purim miracle there were hardly any cities in Eretz Yisrael with their walls still intact. Had the determination of "walled city" been made according to the situation at that time, almost all cities in Eretz Yisrael would have the status of unwalled cities. To avoid this disgrace, it was decided to base the status "walled city" on the situation of the city at the time of Joshua. This made many more cities in Eretz Yisrael eligible for this distinction.
Rabbi Yosef Karo (Beis Yosef)
has a different approach. Our Sages wanted some memory of Eretz
Yisrael in the celebration of this miracle which took place in
a foreign land. In the spirit of "zecher lemikdash"
- those laws and customs we follow to recall the Beis Hamikdash
- the Sages linked the determination of "walled city"
to Eretz Yisrael so that the Jews living abroad would not forget
their holy land.
Written by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach, Dean, Ohr Somayach Institutions
General Editor: Rabbi Moshe Newman
HTML Production: Eli Ballon
HTML Design: Michael Treblow
© 1998 Ohr Somayach International - All rights reserved. This publication may be distributed to another person intact without prior permission. We also encourage you to include this material in other publications, such as synagogue newsletters. However, we ask that you contact us beforehand for permission, and then send us a sample issue.
This publication is available via E-Mail
Ohr Somayach Institutions is an international network of Yeshivot and outreach centers, with branches in North America, Europe, South Africa and South America. The Central Campus in Jerusalem provides a full range of educational services for over 685 full-time students.
The Jewish Learning Exchange (JLE) of Ohr Somayach offers summer and winter programs in Israel that attract hundreds of university students from around the world for 3 to 8 weeks of study and touring.
Ohr Somayach's Web site is hosted by TeamGenesis
Copyright © 1998 Ohr Somayach International. Send us Feedback.
Dedication opportunities are available for Torah Weekly. Please contact us for details.