- At DovBear, Rafi G. on the curse of Purim weather, and whether it exists. Is this for real?
Personally I have heard the curse as having been wrought by the Hazon Ish, the Steipler, Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld and the Brisker Rav. Maybe others have heard other names as the source of the curse.
- Lion of Zion on women reading parshat Zachor, and the mappik heh. Without looking into any of the sources, I wonder if enough people have the practice of not pronouncing mapik hehs that it has become a dialect, and would be no different from someone not pronouncing ayins, or a tet distinct from a tav, or even a tav distinct from a thav.
Rafi G. at Life In Israel notes something in honor of Purim, a notice that you should
make sure you do not listen to Parshas Zachor beinmg read by a yeshiva bachur/kollel guy who learns full time.The image of the notice is there.
Just like it says that a woman should not read Zachor but a man should because only a man is part of the commandment of goign to war and wiping out Amalek, so also with yeshuva boys who learn full time - they are exempt from participating in "milchemes mitzva".
- Hirhurim discusses the origin of Taanis Esther. His theory:
It seems to me that the source of our fast is that of Esther. Probably there were individuals who were following the minhag of fasting for 3 days in Adar and some of them ended up behind. They had fasted two days and they needed one more fast day before the next day of Purim. They knew that they could not fast and they asked a question of what to do on the 13th.
- Is an Orthodox woman going to be appointed a rabbi? Apparently not. But see Rabbi Joshua Maroof's comments there.
- Balashon has a nice post on the word birah. One important point that I've seen in the past, the ir of Shushan is different from Shushan haBirah, the citadel of Shushan. This makes major differences in peshat in the megillah.
The idea that bira meant some kind of fortress (either one building or a compound) seems to have been universally accepted by both commentaries and translations until relatively recently. For example, Ibn Ezra on Esther 1:2 distinguishes between the city of Shushan and the bira of Shushan (see here for an extensive discussion of the Ibn Ezra in English, along with diagrams). This distinction seems quite necessary, since we see twice (3:15, 8:14-15) that both the city and the bira are mentioned - indicating two separate entities. This article by Avraham Korman (based partially on Reuvein Margolies in HaMikrah v'Hamesorah, which is also quoted here) points out a number of difficulties that our distinction helps resolve...Read it all, but for the aforementioned Google book marked in red, go to the direct page, here.
- MOChassid on the unintended consequences of the ban on many shalach manos.