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Feb 23, 2021

Interesting Psak: Kever Rachel, Bethlehem, and Purim

Kol Hai News is reporting on an interesting psak issued by Rav Shmuel Rabinovitch, rav of the Kotel and other Holy Sites regarding Purim in Kever Rochel.

In the past, ages ago, Kever Rochel was within the city of Bethlehem and Purim in Kever Rochel was celebrated on the 14th of Adar, as it is in all cities outside of Jerusalem (and a few select others). In recent years, Kever Rochel was separated form Bethlehem by a security wall, and in more recent years it was connected to Jerusalem by a wall and even with an extension of the Jerusalem eiruv. Municipal services in Kever Rochel are provided by the City of Jerusalem - such as the water supply and electricity. Kever Rochel is now in all ways connected more to Jerusalem than to Bethlehem.

The question is that while nobody lives in Kever Rochel and the question of which day to celebrate in Kever Rochel is not relevant to any residents, there are police forces that stay there regularly and they need to know what the status of Kever Rochel is so that those who wish can celebrate properly on the right day. The commanders of the police force asked Rav Rabinovitch what to do about this.

Rav Rabinovitch paskened that Kever Rochel should now be treated like Jerusalem, with Megillat Esther to be read on the 15th of Adar. This year because of the 15th being on Shabbos, in Kever Rochel they should do as Jerusalem does with the Megilla being read on the 14th along with giving the Matanot Laevyonim, and the meal on the 16th with the delivery of Mishloach Manot, on Sunday.

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