Halacha for Sunday 14 Adar II 5771 March 20 2011              

Halacha Date: 14 Adar II 5771 March 20 2011

Category: Purim


Question: Is it correct that all the festivals besides for Purim will be discontinued? Isn’t the Torah eternal and unchanging?

Answer: It is written in the Talmud Yerushalmi that all of the books of the prophets and the scriptures will be discontinued in the future and only the five books of the Torah will remain in addition to Megillat Esther which will also remain, as the verse in the Torah states, “A great and endless voice”, and in the Megillah it is written, “And their commemoration shall not cease from their offspring”. The Midrash Mishlei says that all the festivals will be discontinued in the future besides for Purim which will never be discontinued.
 
The Rambam writes at the end of Hilchot Megillah that all of the books of the prophets etc. shall be discontinued in the days of the Mashiach besides Megillat Esther which will exist forever like the five books of the Torah and the laws of the Oral Torah. Although all the memories of suffering and pain will disappear in the future, the days of Purim (which came about through suffering) shall not, as the verse states, “And these days of Purim shall not elapse from among the Jewish nation and their commemoration shall not cease from their offspring.”
 
The Ra’avad disagrees with the Rambam and writes that this does not mean that the books of the prophets will be discontinued for they are also part of the Torah and there cannot be a book that is left unlearned, rather what the Midrash means to say is that even if the enactment to read from the various Megillot and books of the prophets in public will be abolished, nevertheless, the obligation to read Megillat Esther in public shall never be abolished. Some have actually explained that it is possible to understand the words of the Rambam in this way as well, that even if all of the establishments to read the books of the prophets and scriptures in public will be eliminated, the obligation of reading Megillat Esther in public will exist forever.
 
The Rashba writes in a response (Chapter 93) that the meaning of this Midrash is that although the other festivals may, G-d forbid, be completely forgotten from the Jewish nation as a result of their sins for there is no guarantee that the Jewish nation will observe the festivals together, nevertheless, regarding Purim there is a special promise from Hashem that it will never be completely forgotten from the Jewish nation in any given generation. When the verse says that the days of Purim “shall not elapse from the Jewish nation and their commemoration shall not cease from their offspring”, this refers to the special promise that the Jewish nation will celebrate the holiday of Purim forever.

< <Previous Halacha Next Halacha> >

Ask the Rabbi