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Eighteen Treatises from the Mishna, by D. A. Sola and M. J. Raphall, [1843], at


§ 1. The Meguillah 1 is read [sometimes] on the 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, or on the 15th [of the month Adar], neither earlier nor later. Cities which, from the time of Joshua, the son of Nun, were surrounded with walls, read it on the 15th. 2 Villages and large [open] towns 3 shall read it on the 14th, but inhabitants of villages may read it in advance on the day of assembly. 4

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§ 2. How is this [to be understood]? When the 14th happens on Monday, inhabitants of villages and of large [open] towns shall read it on that day, and those of walled cities on the day following. When it happens on Tuesday or Wednesday, the inhabitants of villages shall read it in advance on [the preceding Monday] the day of assembly, those of large [open] towns on that day [viz. on the 14th] and those of walled towns on the day following. 5 When it happens on Thursday, inhabitants of villages and of large [open] towns shall read it on that day, and those of walled towns on the day following. If it happen on Friday, the inhabitants of villages shall read it in advance on [the preceding day] the day of assembly, and those of large [open], and of walled towns, on that day [viz. on the 14th]. When it happens on the Sabbath, inhabitants of villages and of large [open] towns shall read it in advance on [the preceding Thursday,] the day of assembly, and those of walled towns on the day following [the Sabbath]. 6 When it happens on Sunday, inhabitants of villages shall read it on [the preceding Thursday] the day of assembly, and those of large [open] towns on that day [i.e. on the 14th], and those of walled cities on the day following.

§ 3. What must be considered as a large [open] town? Any town in which there are ten unemployed men. 7 Should there be less than that number, it is [legally] considered as a village. It was said with respect to these, that "it may be done sooner, but not later," but the time of the delivery of wood for the priests, 8 the fast on the 9th of Ab, the festive sacrifice, and the day of assembly [of the people], 9 are to be postponed to a later day, but must not be kept before [their proper time] and although it was said [in respect to the reading of the Meguillah] that it may be done earlier, but not later, it is yet permitted on these days to pronounce funeral orations, 10 and to fast on them; also to give the alms [obligatory to be given] to the poor

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[paragraph continues] [on Pureem]. R. Jehudah says, "When [is it allowed to read the Meguillah before its proper time]? In places where it is customary [for the country people] to assemble [in the towns] on Mondays and Thursdays; but where that does not take place, it [the Meguillah] may only be read on its proper day."

§ 4. If the Meguillah had been read in the 1st Adar, and the year declared [by the Sanhedrin] to be intercalary, it must be again read in the 2nd Adar. There is no difference between the ‏פורים‎ of the 1st Adar, and that in the 2nd, but the reading of the Meguillah and the gifts to the poor [which are obligatory on the 2nd].

§ 5. There is no difference between the Sabbath and festivals, except the preparation of food. 11 There is no difference between the Sabbath and the day of atonement, excepting that those who knowingly and wilfully profane the Sabbath are punished by man, whilst those who wilfully profane the day of atonement are punished [by God] by utter excision.

§ 6. There is no difference between one who by vow has interdicted himself from receiving any benefit from another, and one whose vow was limited to the interdiction of accepting any food from another, except that it is not lawful for the first to set his foot in the house [or property] of the other, and to borrow vessels [of the other] which are not used for the preparation of food. There is no difference between vows and freewill-offerings, except that in the case of the first mentioned, the person who thus vows is liable for the risk, 12 but he is not liable for the last mentioned.

§ 7. There is no difference between a person labouring under an [involuntary] emission [of semen] who has experienced it twice [on the same day, or on two following days], and one who has experienced it thrice [in the same time, or within three days], excepting that the last mentioned must bring a sacrifice. There is no difference between a leprous person who has only been shut up, 13 and one [whom the priest has] declared as leprous, excepting that the latter must go with rent clothes, and suffer the hair of his head to grow wild. 14 There is no difference between the leper declared clean after being shut up, and one who has been cured of that disease, excepting that the latter must be shaved, and bring offerings of birds.

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§ 8. There is no difference between the [Holy] books 15 and Tephilin [Phylacteries] and Mezuzzoth [scrolls placed on the door posts (Deut. vi. 8, 9)], except that the first mentioned may be written in any language, but the latter in Hebrew 16 only. Rabbon Simeon ben Gamaliel says, "The permission to write the [Holy] books [in another language] was limited to the Greek language only."

§ 9. There is no difference between a high priest anointed with the sacred oil, and one whose dignity was marked by additional [sacerdotal] vestments only, 17 except the bull which the first mentioned is to offer, in case he gave a wrong decision, which led to a transgression of a precept 18 [of the law]. There is no difference between an officiating high priest and his late substitute, 19 except the bull offered on the day of atonement, and the tenth of the ephah [of flour] [which the first mentioned, or real high priest, alone might offer].

§ 10. There is no difference between a large high place and a small one, 20 except the paschal offering. 21 This is the rule:—All offerings which are brought in consequence of vows, and all peace-offerings, may be offered on a small high place, but not sacrifices of any other kind.

§ 11. There was no difference between [the tabernacle at] Shiloh and [the temple at] Jerusalem, except that at the former place it was lawful to eat of sacrifices having a minor degree of holiness, and of

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the second tithe, in any place from whence [Shiloh] might be seen; but in Jerusalem it was lawful to eat these within the walls only. In both places, however, sacrifices which were most holy 22 might only be eaten within the hangings [of the court of the sanctuary]. The holiness of Shiloh had [subsequently] a period in which it became lawful [to offer sacrifices elsewhere]; but the holiness of Jerusalem has no such period.


180:1 We retain this Hebrew word [which has been already explained above] in order to avoid tedious circumlocutions.

180:2 This was thus ordered, to honour the Holy Land, that they should, even as in Shushan, read the Meguillah on the 15th of Adar.

180:3 Under this term, all open places larger than villages, and all towns not walled in, during the time of Joshua, are here to be understood.

180:4 Namely, on Mondays or on Thursdays, for on these days the country people came to town to attend the markets, or the synagogues in which the law is read on these days, or the tribunals of justice, if they had any lawsuit, as the Beth Din sate on these two days.

181:5 This, as well as the preceding part, refers to the time when messengers were sent out to announce the day of the new moon, on the evidence of witnesses who had seen it, as mentioned in Treatise Rosh Hashanah; but, according to our present calendar, the 14th of Adar [i.e. ‏פורים‎] can never now happen on Monday, Wednesday, or Saturday.

181:6 On Sunday.

181:7 Under this term are designated certain men hired by a Jewish congregation to abstain from work during the hours of prayer in the synagogues, and to attend there at these times, so that there may always be the legal number [minyan] present during the prayers.

181:8 See Treatise Taanith, chap. iv. § 5.

181:9 See Deuteronomy.

181:10 As mourning over, and in praise of, an eminent deceased person.

182:11 Which is allowed on the latter, but not on the Sabbath.

182:12 In case the animal he has vowed to offer should be stolen, have strayed, or otherwise been lost, he will be bound to replace it by another.

182:13 Levit. xiii. 4, &c.

182:14 Levit. xiii. 45.

183:15 Under this term are comprised all the books of the sacred Scriptures, the Pentateuch excepted.

183:16 This is rendered according to the commentary of Rashi. The expression in the original is ‏אשורית‎ [Assyrian], but Rashi derives it from the root ‏אשר‎, "happiness," and applies it as a title given to the Hebrew writing or character quasi a happy or beautiful style of writing.

183:17 This was the case during the latter part of the first, and the whole period of the existence of the second Temple, when high priests were no longer consecrated to their high ministration, by being anointed with the sacred oil.

183:18 See Leviticus iv. 3, and the Commentaries.

183:19 In the original ‏כהן משמש‎, and ‏כהן שעבר‎, by the first designation the actual high priest is understood, who, owing to circumstances which rendered it unlawful for him to minister, had returned to his ministration on the cessation of the impediment. The second expression is applied to the priest who, in the interim, had acted as his substitute.

183:20 High places are the altars on which they used to sacrifice before the erection of the Temple at Jerusalem: by large high places, the public altar; and by small high places, the altars of private persons are meant (See Judges and Samuel, passim).

183:21 And other offerings, for which a particular time is prescribed.

184:22 See Treatise Zebachim.

Next: Chapter II