We’ve all heard of Purim and Shushan Purim, as well as Purim Katan, which takes place when there are two months of Adar. But how about the Purims celebrated in Tishrei, Kislev, and Sivan? The truth is that every month has a Purim celebration, if we take into account all the special Purims that were once celebrated by Jewish communities or individual families spared from death and destruction.
The source for the custom is found in Berachot 54a, where we are told that a person returning to a place where he was once saved from danger should recite a prayer of thanksgiving. When a miracle has been performed for many people, they should all say a blessing.
Over time the recital of a simple prayer was transformed into a “Purim Katan” or “Moed Katan” that was celebrated on the date of the miraculous event and included many of the rituals associated with the “big” Purim celebrated in Adar: reciting special prayers of thanksgiving, reading from a megillah that recorded the miraculous salvation, eating a seudah, and distributing charity to the poor. Sometimes, the special Purim was even preceded by a fast, similar to the Fast of Esther.
One of the earliest special Purims we have on record was celebrated by the Jews of Granada and Shmuel HaNagid, the eleventh-centuryrav, poet, soldier and statesman, and one of the most influential Jews in Muslim Spain. The occasion for this Purim, observed on the first of Elul, was a series of military victories won by the Jewish commander in 1038-39. Shmuel HaNagid attributed all his victories to Hashem and shared them with Granada’s Jews.
Military victories continued to be a theme of special Purims during the centuries that followed. Other reasons for celebration were salvations from a blood libel or an earthquake or fire. Many of these Purims stopped being observed after the kehillah was sent into exile, or they were simply forgotten with the passage of time. But dozens were recorded in books and synagogue records that still exist, making it possible to celebrate Purim every month of the year. Here’s a small sampling.
Read the rest of the article at The Jewish Press.