I have posted the wonderful work of Joseph Mosseri before, and I was very pleased to received his newest research. He is a man of considerable facilities, who looks deeply into and studies carefully the traditions of Sephardic communities. He is a true scholar, as his work is always a work in process--as he is always revising and editing as he learns more about the subject in question.
As you can probably tell, I hold Joseph Mosseri in the highest esteem. There are few of his caliber in the world, in or out of the academic communities. He is an honest scholar--working for the love of Torah and of his love of Sephardi traditions.
Dear Rabbis, Professors, Relatives, and Friends,
This year Pourim day falls out on Friday March 21, 2008.
Pourim day has fallen out on Friday 13 times only from 1900--2005.
Pourim day will fall out on Friday only 11 times from 2008--2103.
This e-mail is concerning Se'oudat Pourim Be'Ereb Shabbat.
This is a rare occurrence that I first wrote about in 2001. I revised it in
2005 and now I have significantly revised and expanded it for 2008. A Friday
Pourim will not happen again until 2021.
I will attempt to answer the following questions: What is correct and why?
What is the halakhah based upon? What sources do we have to rely upon? What
should be done this year and how?
This essay will be broken down into 6 Sections.
1) Proper time for Se'oudat Pourim
2) Having a Se'oudah on 'Ereb Shabbat
3) Pores Mappah
4) Reason and benefits of having a late day Se'oudah
6) Suggested schedule
Section 1....Proper time for Se'oudat Pourim
Maran Ribbi Yosef Qaro in his Shoulhan 'Aroukh siman 695 discusses the laws
of Se'oudat Pourim. He himself mentions nothing about Pourim on 'Ereb
Shabbat, but Mouram Ribbi Mosheh Isserles says in Seif 2 that in such a case
the Se'oudah should be in the morning due to the honor of Shabbat. It seams
that his only source for this is Sefer HaMinhagim of Ribbi Yisshaq Tirna.
Shoulhan 'Aroukh first printed in 1564, Rabbi Yosef Qaro (1488-1575)
Hagah first printed in 1578, Rabbi Mosheh Isserles (1525-1572)
Sefer HaMinhagim first printed in 1566, Rabbi Yisshaq Tirna (c.1420)
Now comes along a great Hakham whom I will term "our Sefaradi Hagah", his
name is Ribbi Yaaqob Qastro, better known as Mahariqash. He lived from
1523-1610 but his book of hagahot, 'Erekh Lehem was not published until
In it he writes, that when Pourim fall out on 'Ereb Shabbat, you make
Se'oudat Pourim while it is still day and when night begins you make Qidoush
and continue to eat. Then he also mentions that there are those who make
their Se'oudah in the morning and everyone should follow their minhag.
The prolific writer and genius Ribbi Haim Yosef David Azoulai (1724-1806)
who wrote so much on every subject does not seem to have mentioned a word
about this situation. I have checked all his halakhah books and have come up
empty handed, maybe I've missed something, let me know.
Rabbi Haim Palacci (1787-1868) who was Chief Rabbi of Turkey wrote in his
Mo'ed Lekol Hai (1861) chapter 31 item 45 that on a Friday Pourim the most
correct time is to have the Se'oudah in the morning after Shahrit or at the
very least prior to Hassot (mid-day). He also is of the opinion that the
Se'oudah should always be in the morning no matter what day of the week it
Nehar Missrayim (1908) by Hakham Refael Aharon Ben Shimon (1847-1928) who
was chief rabbi of Egypt from 1891-1921 wrote regarding the time of Se'oudat
Pourim. There are those who make it early and those who do it late, but most
God fearing people make the Se'oudah after hassot closer to the evening.
That is the time that the poor stop making their rounds for charity and no
one makes the Se'oudah in the morning. He then goes on to quote HaRaMBaM
Hilkhot Megilah Pereq 2 Halakhah 17 who stresses the importance of spending
the earlier and better part of the day engaged in Matanot LaEbyonim and
Mishloah Manot. He then continues that when Pourim falls on 'Ereb Shabbat
the nice and pleasant minhag is to make the Se'oudah after Minhah when it is
almost night (before sunset). In the middle of the meal (once it becomes
Shabbat) you should spread a clean tablecloth say Qidoush and resume eating,
what is now your Se'oudat Shabbat. For this he quotes Mahariqash. Then once
the meal is complete you say Birkat Hamazon with 'Al HaNisim (and Resseh
VeHaHalissenou). Then you should pray 'Arbit of Shabbat. And this way is the
most correct and straightforward path! This is how we conduct ourselves and
such is the custom of many who awe God.
Now I recently found in a book I've had for a number of years, a teshoubah
on this exact subject. The book is entitled VaYa'an Shemouel and printed in
Jerusalem in 1959. The author is Rabbi Shemouel Marciano who was originally
from Dabdou, Morocco and in 1959 he was in Lod, Israel. There is a picture
of him in the book in which he looks very old and "holy". The Haskamot by
very prominent Rabbis of the day also refer to him as the great saintly and
old from a great line of rabbis etc.... In any case on page 18 siman 29 he
discusses the situation at hand and first he quotes the Baer Heteb (by Rabbi
Yehoudah Ashkenazi) siman 695 Seif qatan 6 "and I found written in the
Mordekhi, that he would eat Se'oudat Pourim on 'Ereb Shabbat , pray 'Arbit,
spread a tablecloth, make Qidoush, and say 'Al HaNisim in Birkat Hamazon."
He then continues and says that others wrote, that no he did not pray 'Arbit
at that point, for if he did, he would not be able to say 'Al HaNisim in
Birkat Hamazon. Maharil wrote therefore it seems to me that he should say
Birkat Hamazon first then pray 'Arbit in order that he shouldn't run into
any problems. Now Maran in siman 271 Seif 4 writes that it is forbidden to
even taste anything even water before Qidoush, if he began prior to Shabbat
he must stop, spread a tablecloth and say Qidoush. There the Baer Heteb in
Seif qatan 5 writes that obviously he need not pray 'Arbit yet since he is
spreading the cloth and saying Qidoush, because he has begun with something
permissible. Maran also writes in the same place that if they were drinking
wine before hand they must still make Qidoush but not Birkat hayayin (bore
feri hagefen) and then say Birkat hamossi. And see Baer Heteb Seif qatan 7
on that. From all he wrote in this teshoubah it would seem that he also
agrees with Nehar Missrayim and Mahariqash to make Se'oudat Pourim close to
Se'oudat Shabbat, saying Qidoush in the middle of the meal , saying Birkat
Hamazon with both 'Al HaNisim and Resseh, and praying 'Arbit after Birkat
Hamazon is over.
I've been looking high and low for any posqim who discuss this issue of
Se'oudat Pourim when Pourim falls out on 'Ereb Shabbat. Thank God I just
found two more sources and they both seem to concur with the idea as
originally laid down by Mahariqash (Hakham Yaaqob Qastro).
1) Hakham David Cohen Saqli (1862-1949) he was Ab Bet Din and Chief of all
Rabbis in Oran, Algeria for over 40 years. His She-elot ouTshoubot entitled
Qiryat Hannah David was published in 2 volumes in Jerusalem in 1935 & 1936.
It carries the Haskamot of the Rishon Lession Hakham Yaaqob Meir as well as
the leading rabbis of North Africa and that of the Chief Rabbi of Paris Dov
In Volume 2 siman 90 he writes about our case and says "sarikh" you have
to start the Se'oudah prior to Shabbat and when Shabbat arrives Pores Mappah
and make Qidoush, etc... Continue eating, say Birkat Hamazon with 'Al
HaNisim and Resseh then pray 'Arbit. He also mentions that since both
hagefen and hamossi were recited prior to Shabbat while it was only Pourim,
since it's all one big meal, to not say Birkat hagefen in Qidoush or to say
hamossi afterwards. Just make Qidoush and continue eating, etc.
2) Hakham Baroukh Abraham Toledano who was born in Meqnes, Morocco (1890)
and was Rosh Ab Bet Din there for well over 30 years, he passed in 1981. His
son Rabbi Pinhas Toledano who is a Dayan in London has begun publishing his
fathers works and in his responsa Sha-alou LeBaroukh (Jerusalem 1993) he
writes in siman 76 concerning the minhag when Pourim falls on Friday when is
the proper time to eat the Se'oudah. He says that the custom of "the
rishonim" was to start the meal prior to Shabbat and once Shabbat arrives to
spread a cloth, say Qidoush and continue with the meal. In Birkat Hamazon
say 'Al HaNisim and Resseh then pray 'Arbit. And this is what I saw my
fathers do and it seems to me to be the correct way to practice.
So far if we just say majority rules it would seem that the above mentioned
system is in the lead as stated by 'Erekh Lehem, Nehar Missrayim, VaYa'an
Shemouel, Qiryat Hannah David, and Sha-alou LeBaroukh.
Before I continue, please allow me to share a scenario with you.
This is very common if not the norm for most people that I know.
Here we are Friday morning of Pourim. You get up to join a minyan for
Shaharit, sefer torah, megilah, etc... You finally finish the prayers and
it's later than usual. You have to go running off to work. It's a Friday of
course so for many people it's a very busy day. As it is it's 'Ereb Shabbat
and that doesn't leave you much time to dilly dally, either to get to work
late or have a long lunch, or to leave earlier than you would normally have
to on a short Friday.
Some may suggest getting together with friends at a restaurant for a longer
than usual festive lunch, the only problem is, that better restaurants in
Brooklyn or Manhattan are closed on Friday.
If you plan on having the Se'oudah in the morning while drinking wine you
may be better off not getting on the road. Or for that matter for driving
all around town with Mishloah Manot.
If you have time to get together with your family for a late morning meal
or an early afternoon lunch then you're probably off from work and all of
this doesn't make much difference to you.
As a side note, when Pourim does not fall out on Friday, I do not work on
Pourim day and I do my best to convince others not to as well, it's not a
day for working. When it's Friday it's a whole different issue. I have no
choice but to work and so do many others who have deadlines to complete
projects before the weekend.
The only feasible plan would seem to be:
Get a minyan together at someone's home, pray Minhah about 1 hour before
sunset then begin Se'oudat Pourim (recall that on a "normal" year most of us
begin our Pourim Se'oudah about 1 hour before sunset), before sunset light
candles, at sunset "pores mappah" and make Qidoush, then continue the meal.
At the meals end say Birkat Hamazon with 'Al HaNisim and Resseh
VeHaHalissenou then pray 'Arbit shel Shabbat.
One small question here is:
When Qabalat Shabbat (which includes bameh madliqin) should be recited...
a) Before candle lighting?
b) Before Qidoush?
c) After Birkat Hamazon before 'Arbit?
Now, it should be remembered that the whole custom of Qabalat Shabbat
was begun by the AR"I HaQadosh, and only gradually spread out from Safed to
Thus, it is very possible that Mahariqash did not have this problem.
Incidentally, the custom of having a leisurely late-Friday-afternoon meal,
then "perisat mappah" followed by Qidoush etc. and only finally Shabbat
prayers -- seems to have been the normal custom every week in 15th century
Alexandria, as related by Rabenou Obadiah MeBertinoro in his accounts of
his travel to Eress Yisrael!
Finally I have just had the opportunity to do more research on this
subject and lo and behold look what turns up. Rabbi Obadiah Yosef in his
Yehaveh Da'at (1st edition, Jerusalem 1980) volume 3, siman 55, page 171 in
He cites Rabbenou HaMe-Iri, on Ketoubot 8a, who writes:
"It is our custom, and that of our fathers, that when Pourim falls on
Friday, we begin the Se'oudat Pourim in the late afternoon, and when the day
becomes sanctified [= i.e., Shabbat begins] we spread a mappah, and make
Qidoush, and complete our Se'oudah, and say Birkat ha-mazon and mention
therein "'Al ha-Nissim".
So, this custom known to Mahariqash is actually a custom of the Rishonim.
From the context, it seems that Rabbi Obadiah Yosef may agree with this,
although he is quoting it in the context of another issue under discussion.
For some reason though, Hakham Obadiah Yosef seems to favor following the
meqoubalim on the issue of Se'oudat Pourim. In fact he states in his Hazon
Obadiah on Pourim which was just released in 2003 on pages 179-180 that no
matter what day of the week, the Se'oudah should be held in the morning.
This is exactly the same as the opinion of Rabbi Haim Palacci which I
Section 2....................Having a Se'oudah on 'Ereb Shabbat (Friday)
The question now arises; can one have a meal on Friday?
1)Maran in his Shoulhan 'Aroukh, Orah Haim, 249:2 says: It is forbidden to
establish on Friday a festive meal that one is not accustomed to during the
week....BECAUSE OF THE HONOR OF SHABBAT, THAT ONE SHOULD ENTER THE SHABBAT
WITH A HEARTY APPETITE. This prohibition applies to the entire day.
2) At this point Mouram adds: And a meal, whose fixed time happens to fall
out on Friday such as a Berit milah or Pidyon Haben, is permitted. So it
seems to me and such is the custom.
3)Maran then continues and says: And to eat and to drink, without
establishing a meal, even a meal that one is accustomed to during the week,
is permissible the ENTIRE DAY according to the LAW. But it is meritorious to
desist from such a meal from the end of the ninth hour and on.
We see from this and from closely reading Shoulhan 'Aroukh, Orah Haim,
271:4, 5, 6. That having a Se'oudah that one is accustomed to or that falls
out on Friday is permissible any time on Friday even close to Shabbat.
The point that Mouram made in his glosses about a meal whose fixed time
falls out on Friday seems to have been accepted by Sepharadim as well as
brought down in the works of Sephardic Hakhamim. In fact Mahariqash in his
glosses on Shoulhan 'Aroukh says the following: When Se'oudat Pourim falls
on Friday even though this is not a Se'oudah that we are accustomed to we do
in fact permit it! And such is the law for any Se'oudah whose fixed time
falls out on Friday such as Berit Milah.
In 1991 a very important 3 volume work on Hilkhot Shabbat was issued by
Rabbi Moshe Levi of Bene Beraq (Bnai Brak).(It has since been reprinted at
least 4 times). In fact it was the only work written by a Sepharadi to ever
receive the Bnai Brak prize for Rabbinic Literature, and it carries the
approbations of Rabbi Obadiah Yosef, Rabbi Shemouel HaLevi Wozner, and Rabbi
In volume 1 page 26 he states: Se'oudat Missvah whose fixed time falls out
on Friday, such as: Berit Milah, Pidyon HaBen, and Se'oudat Pourim, it is
permitted to have this meal on Friday even after the 10th hour, even though
it is a large meal that one is not accustomed to during the week!!
Based upon all of the above it is clear that the law is not to have a large
meal on Friday in order that you should enter the Shabbat with a hearty
appetite and be able to partake of the Shabbat meal properly. Since in our
scenario your intention is to begin the meal prior to Shabbat and carry it
into Shabbat there is no problem at all.
Section 3..............Pores Mappah
What exactly is Perisat Mappah?
Three classical reasons are offered for covering the bread:
1) Reminiscent of the MANN, which was covered by dew.
2) "Not to embarrass the bread." i.e., according to the principles of
priority in berakhot, the bread is supposed to be partaken of first; having
wine before bread in the bread's presence would be slight to the bread's due
3) To emphasize that one may not eat or drink food on Shabbat without first
pronouncing its sanctity over wine.
Depending upon which reason we accept will determine how we practice "Pores
According to #1, only bread must be covered.
According to #2, all grain products must be covered since they all have
berakhah priority over wine.
According to #3, all food must be covered.
Each one of these opinions can be found in the posqim but what clearly
stands out as the underlying logic is that a distinction must be made
between the pre-Shabbat meals to that point when Qidoush is recited at the
arrival of Shabbat.
Section 4...........Reasoning and benefits for having the Se'oudah late in
As we stated far above HaRaMBaM says in Hilkhot Megilah 2:17: That it is
better for a person to spend the day giving money and gifts to the poor than
spending the day eating and giving food to your friends! In other words as
our custom is every year we spend the better part of the day giving charity
and only then do we take care of ourselves towards the end of the day.
That is when we always have Se'oudat Pourim and Friday is no different, in
fact it may be more important to give charity the earlier part of the day so
the poor will have what to eat for both Pourim as well as Shabbat!
Of course the basic "common-sense" reasons for making the Pourim Se'oudah
in the afternoon even when Pourim occurs on Friday have been alluded to
already. For many people, rushing around in the morning to deliver charity
and Mishloah Manot while also rushing to prepare and consume a large feast
and then rushing about in the afternoon to prepare for Shabbat and also to
prepare another large feast (for which one is unlikely to have any appetite
at all by the time it is served) are likely to detract from both Pourim and
Shabbat. On the other hand, spending Friday delivering Mishloah Manot and
charity, preparing for Shabbat more-or-less as usual, and then sitting down
to a single feast at approximately the regular hour, by which time one has
fulfilled all the other Pourim and Shabbat obligations and presumably has an
appetite, might make it possible to accomplish everything with less pressure
and to show more respect both to Pourim and to Shabbat--as well as
preventing "akhilah gassa".
Another reason could also be so people would not have to spend too much
money, which is another form of charity. After all, preparing one Se'oudah,
even if one makes it as festive and as elaborate as one can afford, is still
likely to be much less of a financial expense than making two. This should
enable every household that adopts this practice to increase its Matanot
It's very possible in fact probable that our great rabbis of old had these
very reasons in mind when they established the custom of having a late day
Se'oudah that would go right into Shabbat!!
Based upon all of the above which stems from the Gemara to the Rishonim and
the Aharonim, It would seem that having one meal late in the day, being
pores Mappah, etc... would be the most halakhicly sound.
Minhah is said before the meal. Se'oudat Pourim is begun early enough so
that a significant portion of it can be eaten before sunset. Once sunset
arrives, you stop eating and drinking. The two loaves to be used for Shabbat
should be brought out if they are not already on the table and be covered.
Qidoush should then be made over a full cup of wine. If wine was already
consumed earlier in the meal, Bore Feri HaGefen should not be said as part
of Qidoush. Assuming bread was eaten earlier; hands need not be washed
again. The bread should be uncovered and then distributed to those present
without saying Hamossi. People can then resume eating. At the conclusion of
the meal, Birkat HaMazon is recited with 'Al HaNisim and Resseh. 'Arbit then
Section 6..........Suggested Schedule
In my humble opinion it would be wonderful if this old tradition caught on
and was embraced not only by certain families but by entire congregations as
well. It would really help if minyanim for Minhah (pre-Se'oudah) and 'Arbit
Shel Shabbat (post-Se'oudah) could be arranged.
This suggested schedule is based upon the times for Brooklyn, New York
1) Pray Minhah anytime from 1:40PM on
2) Begin Se'oudat Pourim with Bread, Wine, Meat, etc... at 6:00PM
enjoy your soup, salads, appetizers, etc...
4)7:00PM...Qabalat Shabbat at the table
5)7:09PM...Pores Mappah then Qidoush without Birkat hagefen if you are
already drinking wine, which you should be doing because of Se'oudat Pourim.
6) Continue with the meal, eating, drinking, singing, etc...
7) Birkat Hamazon with both 'Al HaNisim and Resseh VeHaHalissenou
8) Pray 'Arbit Shel Shabbat at about 8:30PM or any other time that you have
arranged for a minyan. (I just wonder on a non Friday Pourim how many people
actually pray 'arbit with a minyan).
Have I missed anything??
I'd love your feedback, comments, etc...
I am not a Rabbi or a Poseq.
I am just interested in discussing Halakhot & Minhagim, laws and customs.
I invite your insights, comments, criticisms, etc...