Rabbi Etan Schnall – Wexner Kollel Elyon
The holiday of Purim is unique inasmuch as halacha mandates that the date of its observance varies amongst different Jewish communities. The vast majority of Jews celebrate Purim on the 14th of Adar, while Jews living in cities surrounded by walls at the time of Yehoshua bin Nun observe the 15th of Adar, known as Shushan Purim. The Talmud establishes guidelines for determining when cities receive the latter designation.
In modern times, expansions of city limits have compelled Jewish legal authorities to formulate current applications of these guidelines in contemporary municipal settings. The present essay will attempt to outline the issues relevant to defining the boundaries of a walled city. The most prominent contemporary example of a region in question is modern-day Yerushalayim and its environs, as Chazal indicate that the city was surrounded by walls at the time of Yehoshua bin Nun. We will conclude by presenting Yerushalayim as a case study in understanding some of the practical applications of our discussion.