Photo Credit: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90
Chief Rabbi Rishon LeZion Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef.

Chief Sephardi Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef on Sunday issued a ruling concerning the time IDF soldiers in Gaza should celebrate the Purim holiday, including the mitzvah of reading the Megillah and having the Purim meal.

In Israel, there are different days to celebrate Purim in modern cities and in cities that were surrounded by a wall during Joshua’s conquests. The former will keep the day on the 14th of Adar II, Saturday night March 23, and Sunday, March 24. The latter will celebrate on Sunday night, and on Monday.


In a lengthy ruling that reviews the halachic status of Gaza in the books of the judges, Rabbi Yosef states that soldiers serving in the Gaza Strip will read the Megillah on the 14th of Adar II only (Shabbat night and Sunday). They are not obligated to read the Megillah on the 15th of Adar II, even without a blessing.

Essentially, Rabbi Yosef ruled that Gaza is just another gentile city in our time – as-in they are currently without any permanent Jewish communities, so the soldiers will celebrate the holiday as if they were in an unwalled city. The ruling was based on a Talmud Yerushalmi.

Hopefully next year, there will be Jewish communities once again in Gaza and they’ll read on the 15th.

According to there are 16 cities in Israel that (also) read on the 15th (most without a blessing).

In addition to Jerusalem, the other cities are Hebron, Tiberias, Acco, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Beersheva, Beit She’an, Beit Shemesh, Gaza, Gush Halav, Haifa, Jaffa, Lod, Ramlah and Shechem. According to, some say that Jewish communities in Baghdad, Damascus and Prague also used to hold an additional megillah reading on the 15th with no blessings. And obviously in Shushan, they would read on the 15th.

It has been quite a while since Jews required halachic rulings regarding their stay in Gaza. May we rejoice in many more such rulings as the people of Israel are returning to every part of their promised land, and then celebrating on the proper day – with a bracha.


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