IS READ ON THE ELEVENTH, THE TWELFTH, THETHIRTEENTH, THE FOURTEENTH, AND THE FIFTEENTH [OF ADAR], NEVER EARLIERAND NEVER LATER.
WHICH HAVE BEEN WALLED SINCE THE DAYS OFJOSHUA SON OF NUN
READ ON THE FIFTEENTH; VILLAGES AND LARGE TOWNS
READ ON THE FOURTEENTH. THE VILLAGES, HOWEVER, MAY [SOMETIMES] PUSHTHE READING FORWARD TO THE COURT DAY.
HOW DOES THIS WORK OUT? IF [THEFOURTEENTH OF ADAR] FALLS ON MONDAY,
THE VILLAGES AND LARGE TOWNSREAD ON THAT DAY AND THE WALLED PLACES ON THE NEXT DAY: IF IT FALLS ONTUESDAY OR ON WEDNESDAY, THE VILLAGES PUSH THE READING FORWARD TOTHE COURT DAY,
THE LARGE TOWNS READ ON THE DAY ITSELF, AND THE WALLEDPLACES ON THE NEXT DAY. IF [THE FOURTEENTH FALLS] ON THURSDAY, THEVILLAGES AND LARGE TOWNS READ ON THAT DAY AND THE WALLED PLACES ONTHE NEXT DAY: IF IT FALLS ON FRIDAY, THE VILLAGES PUSH THE READINGFORWARD TO THE COURT DAY
AND THE LARGE TOWNS AND WALLED PLACESREAD ON THE DAY ITSELF.
IF IT FALLS ON SABBATH, THE VILLAGES AND LARGETOWNS PUSH THE READING FORWARD TO THE COURT DAY.
AND THE WALLEDPLACES READ ON THE NEXT DAY.
IF IT FALLS ON SUNDAY, THE VILLAGES PUSHTHE READING FORWARD TO THE COURT DAY,
THE LARGE TOWNS READ ON THESAME DAY, AND THE WALLED CITIES ON THE DAY FOLLOWING. GEMARA. THE MEGILLAH IS READ ON THE ELEVENTH. Whence is this derived? — [Howcan you ask,] ‘Whence is this derived’? Surely it is as we state further on,
‘The Sages made aconcession to the villages, allowing them to push the reading forward to the Court day, so that [theyshould have leisure to] supply food and water for their brethren in the large towns’? — What wemean [by our question] is this: Let us see now. All these dates were laid down by the Men of theGreat Assembly.
For if you should [deny this and affirm] that the Men of the Great Assembly laiddown only the fourteenth and fifteenth, [is it possible that] the [later] Rabbis should have come andannulled a regulation made by the Men of the Great Assembly, seeing that we have learnt, ‘One Bethdin cannot annul the ordinances of another unless it is superior to it in number
and in wisdom’?
Obviously, therefore, all these days must have been laid down by the Men of the Great Assembly,[and we ask therefore], where are they hinted [in the Scripture]? — R. Shaman b. Abba replied in thename of R. Johanan: Scripture says, To confirm these days of Purim in their times.
[whichindicates that] they laid down many ‘times’ for them. But this text is required for its literalmeaning?
— If that were all, Scripture could say simply ‘at the [appointed] time’. What then isimplied by ‘their times’? A large number of ‘times’! But still I may say that [the expression ‘their’times’] is required to indicate that the time of one is not the same as the time of the other?
— Inthat case, Scripture should say [simply], ‘their time’. Why does it say ‘their times’? So that you mayinfer from this all of them. But cannot I say that ‘their times’ means ‘numerous times’?
— Theexpression ‘their times’ is to be interpreted in the same way as we should interpret ‘their time’: justas ‘their time’ would indicate two [days], so ‘their times’ indicates two [in addition].
But why notmake these the twelfth and thirteenth? — For the reason given [elsewhere] by R. Samuel b. Isaac,that the thirteenth is a time of assembly for all,
and no special indication is required for it in thetext; so we may say here that the thirteenth day is a time of assembly and no special indication isrequired for it in the text. But why not say that the sixteenth and seventeenth are meant? — It iswritten, and it shall not pass.
R. Samuel b. Nahmani, however, explained thus. Scripture says. As the days wherein the Jews hadrest from their enemies.
[The expression] ‘the days’ [would have sufficed] and we have ‘as the