Parsha Encounters



Parshas Tetzaveh - Zachor :

Pre-Purim Thoughts

Microsoft word version available here

Rabbi Mendel Safrin

[Don't forget to see the Halacha Encounters below!]

The Arizal says that Purim is even greater than Yom Kippur. What we are able to accomplish on Yom Kippur through fasting and affliction, can be reached on Purim through simcha and mishteh. This, of course, requires preparation.

Purim itself is quite a hectic day and most years the day before Purim while fasting, we find ourselves busy making Shalach Manos getting costumes ready and preparing for the Purim Seudah. This obviously does not leave much time to contemplate the importance of Purim.

This year, however, the day before Purim is Shabbos, a day dedicated to the service of Hashem in a more relaxed atmosphere. Maybe we can seize the opportunity to better prepare ourselves for this most important day of the year.

Horav Nosson Wachtfogel, zt"l says that the areas of Avodas Hashem to concentrate on during Purim are Ahavas Yisroel and our commitment to Torah.

One of Haman's complaints about the Jews was that we are "a nation dispersed and divided among the nations." The remedy for this was Esther's instructions to "gather all the Jews" - to promote unity and Ahavas Yisrael. After the neis of Purim, Chazal instituted mishloach manos and matanos le'evyonim. These mitzvos apply to all Jews for all generations, to signify the importance of caring for our fellow Jew and creating everlasting bonds among us.

The Gemora (Shabbos 88a) tells us that there was a renewed Kabollas Hatorah in the days of Achashveirosh. Rashi attributes this to the love for Hashem that was fostered through the neis of Purim. Although we may not find much time to actually learn on Purim, with a little thought and preparation we can renew our dedication to Torah, which can last a lifetime.

We should be zocheh to utilize this Purim (and the Shabbos preceding it) to its utmost, and may Hashem bring the Geulah Shleimah Bimheiroh.


Rabbi Safrin is a full time member of the Kollel.

Halacha Encounters

Post-Shabbos Preparation

Rabbi Avi Weinrib

Post-Shabbos Preparation

With Purim falling out this year on Motzei Shabbos, there are some halachic issues which, although pertinent every Shabbos of the year, must be brought into sharper focus. One issue that is particularly important to focus on is the prohibition of hachana - preparing on Shabbos for after Shabbos. This week's Halacha Encounters will discuss this halacha and its application to Purim on Motzei Shabbos.

The Halachic Background

The Mishna in Shabbos states that one may make a bed on Shabbos for use on Shabbos but one may not make a bed on Shabbos to be used only after Shabbos. We learn from here that any act of preparation for after Shabbos is forbidden to be done on Shabbos, even if that act does not involve significant effort or difficulty. 1 The mere act of preparing itself is not permitted. Likewise, this is prohibited even if one does not explicitly state that he is doing this act in preparation for after Shabbos. Additionally, even if the preparations are being done for a mitzvah-related need - like getting a Megillah ready or dressing the children in costumes - they are still prohibited. 2

If the "Preparation" Also Has an Immediate Need

An exception to the general rule prohibiting any preparation is if there is some immediate need to perform this "preparatory" action while it is still Shabbos. For example, if one would like to make his bed because it looks messy on Shabbos, even though this will also save him from having to do so on Motzei Shabbos, it is permissible. 3 Similarly, if it is disturbing to have the table remain messy following Shalosh Seudos, one may clean the table on Shabbos even though it is saving him from having to do so after Shabbos. Another application of this would be as follows. If one usually changes his children into their pajamas only right before going to bed, one would not be allowed to change them while it was still Shabbos if they were not going to be put to bed until after Havdallah. If, however, the children usually remain in their pajamas for some time before bed and the changing is part of their bedtime routine, it would be permissible to begin the routine on Shabbos even though they will not actually be put to bed until after Havdallah. 4 Likewise, if one knows the tefillah of Maariv by heart and only wants a siddur for the tefillos following Maariv on Motzei Shabbos ( V'yihi Noam, Vayitein Licha or Kiddush Levana ), one may not take a siddur from home - or even from the book shelf in shul - while it is still Shabbos. If, however, he uses the siddur to daven or learn from while it is still Shabbos, then it is permissible for him to take it. 5

Something Done as a Matter of Course

HaGaon Rav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach zt"l proposed that any act normally done as a matter of course without one's really thinking about or considering its later purpose is permissible on Shabbos even if it is in truth an act that is only preparatory for after Shabbos. 6 For example, if someone leaving his home to daven Ma'ariv as Shabbos is coming to a close were to take his keys with him, even though technically speaking he is only taking the keys in order to be able to use them when he returns home after Shabbos has ended, since taking one's keys upon leaving his home is a normal act done as a matter of course without consideration being given to why in fact the keys are being taken, it is permissible to do so. Similarly, if one eats a Shabbos day seuda at a friend's home, he may take his tallis with him when he leaves. 7 Even though he has no more use for the tallis on Shabbos and technically he is taking it now in order for it to be available to him after Shabbos, since that type of act is done without a focus on the outcome, it is permissible. For this reason some poskim permit one to rinse off dishes and load the dishwasher following a Shabbos meal. If this is the normal course of action one would take on any night when cleaning up from a meal, it may be done on Shabbos as well. 8 As this ruling of Rav Shlomo Zalman zt"l is not accepted by all poskim, one should consult his or her Rav for a final ruling regarding this p'sak.

Purim on Motzei Shabbos

Based on the above, most Purim preparations would not be permissible to be done at all on Shabbos. Changing the children into costumes or getting a Megillah ready (and certainly taking it to shul) is not permissible even according to Rav Shlomo Zalman zt"l , as they have no Shabbos need and are not done normally. As above, even taking a Chumash off the shelf while it is still Shabbos in order to have it available for Megillah reading is not allowed. If one were to take his Megillah to shul or take a Chumash off the shelf and learn from it while it was still Shabbos, it would be permissible for him to do so.

A freilichen Purim!


1 See Mishna Berura 302:19 and Shmiras Shabbos K'Hilchaso 28:70

2 SSK 28:69

3 M.B. ibid.

4 Nishmas Shabbos vol. I 398.2

5 SSK 28:74

6 See SS"K 25:81 and accompanying footnotes.

7 SS"K ibid. Obviously, this may only be done if there is an operational eruv.

8 Indeed, if a woman is meticulous about her kitchen and washes all the dishes used immediately following a meal, some poskim maintain that according to Rav Shlomo Zalman zt"l she may do so following Shabbos meals as well even if she will not be needing those dishes at all for the rest of Shabbos.

Rabbi Rosenstein is a full time member of the Kollel and a frequent contributor to Halacha Encounters.

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