מְגִלָּה נִקְרֵאת בְּאַחַד עָשָׂר, בִּשְׁנֵים עָשָׂר, בִּשְׁלֹשָׁה עָשָׂר, בְּאַרְבָּעָה עָשָׂר, בַּחֲמִשָּׁה עָשָׂר, לֹא פָחוֹת וְלֹא יוֹתֵר. כְּרַכִּין הַמֻּקָּפִין חוֹמָה מִימוֹת יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בִּן נוּן, קוֹרִין בַּחֲמִשָּׁה עָשָׂר. כְּפָרִים וַעֲיָרוֹת גְּדוֹלוֹת, קוֹרִין בְּאַרְבָּעָה עָשָׂר, אֶלָּא שֶׁהַכְּפָרִים מַקְדִּימִין לְיוֹם הַכְּנִיסָה:
The Megilla is read on the eleventh, on the twelfth, on the thirteenth, on the fourteenth, or on the fifteenth of the month of Adar, not earlier and not later. The mishna explains the circumstances when the Megilla is read on each of these days. Cities [kerakin] that have been surrounded by a wall since the days of Joshua, son of Nun, read the Megilla on the fifteenth of Adar, whereas villages and large towns that have not been walled since the days of Joshua, son of Nun, read it on the fourteenth. However, the Sages instituted that the villages may advance their reading to the day of assembly, i.e., Monday or Thursday, when the rabbinical courts are in session and the Torah is read publicly, and the villagers therefore come to the larger towns.
כֵּיצַד. חָל לִהְיוֹת יוֹם אַרְבָּעָה עָשָׂר בַּשֵּׁנִי, כְּפָרִים וַעֲיָרוֹת גְּדוֹלוֹת קוֹרִין בּוֹ בַיּוֹם, וּמֻקָּפוֹת חוֹמָה לְמָחָר. חָל לִהְיוֹת בַּשְּׁלִישִׁי אוֹ בָּרְבִיעִי, כְּפָרִים מַקְדִּימִין לְיוֹם הַכְּנִיסָה וַעֲיָרוֹת גְּדוֹלוֹת קוֹרִין בּוֹ בַיּוֹם, וּמֻקָּפוֹת חוֹמָה לְמָחָר. חָל לִהְיוֹת בָּחֲמִישִׁי, כְּפָרִים וַעֲיָרוֹת גְּדוֹלוֹת קוֹרִין בּוֹ בַיּוֹם, וּמֻקָּפוֹת חוֹמָה לְמָחָר. חָל לִהְיוֹת עֶרֶב שַׁבָּת, כְּפָרִים מַקְדִּימִין לְיוֹם הַכְּנִיסָה, וַעֲיָרוֹת גְּדוֹלוֹת וּמֻקָּפוֹת חוֹמָה קוֹרִין בּוֹ בַיּוֹם. חָל לִהְיוֹת בְּשַׁבָּת, כְּפָרִים וַעֲיָרוֹת גְּדוֹלוֹת מַקְדִּימִין וְקוֹרִין לְיוֹם הַכְּנִיסָה, וּמֻקָּפוֹת חוֹמָה לְמָחָר. חָל לִהְיוֹת אַחַר הַשַּׁבָּת, כְּפָרִים מַקְדִּימִין לְיוֹם הַכְּנִיסָה, וַעֲיָרוֹת גְּדוֹלוֹת קוֹרִין בּוֹ בַיּוֹם, וּמֻקָּפוֹת חוֹמָה לְמָחָר:
How so? If the fourteenth of Adar occurs on Monday, the villages and large towns read it on that day, and the walled cities read it on the next day, the fifteenth. If the fourteenth occurs on Tuesday or Wednesday, the villages advance their reading to the day of assembly, i.e., Monday, the twelfth or thirteenth of Adar; the large towns read it on that day, i.e., the fourteenth of Adar, and the walled cities read it on the next day, the fifteenth. If the fourteenth occurs on Thursday, the villages and large towns read it on that day, the fourteenth, and the walled cities read it on the next day, the fifteenth. If the fourteenth occurs on Shabbat eve, the villages advance their reading to the day of assembly, i.e., Thursday, the thirteenth of Adar; and the large towns and the walled cities read it on that day, i.e., the fourteenth of Adar. Even the walled cities read the Megilla on the fourteenth rather than on the fifteenth, as they do not read it on Shabbat. If the fourteenth occurs on Shabbat, both the villages and large towns advance their reading to the day of assembly, i.e., Thursday, the twelfth of Adar; and the walled cities read it on the day after Purim, the fifteenth. If the fourteenth occurs on Sunday, the villages advance their reading to the day of assembly, i.e., Thursday, the eleventh of Adar; and the large towns read it on that day, i.e., the fourteenth of Adar; and the walled cities read it on the next day, the fifteenth.
אֵיזוֹ הִיא עִיר גְּדוֹלָה, כֹּל שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהּ עֲשָׂרָה בַטְלָנִים. פָּחוֹת מִכָּאן, הֲרֵי זֶה כְפָר. בָּאֵלּוּ אָמְרוּ מַקְדִּימִין וְלֹא מְאַחֲרִין. אֲבָל זְמַן עֲצֵי כֹהֲנִים וְתִשְׁעָה בְאָב, חֲגִיגָה וְהַקְהֵל, מְאַחֲרִין וְלֹא מַקְדִּימִין. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאָמְרוּ מַקְדִּימִין וְלֹא מְאַחֲרִין, מֻתָּרִין בְּהֶסְפֵּד וּבְתַעֲנִיּוֹת וּמַתָּנוֹת לָאֶבְיוֹנִים. אָמַר רַבִּי יְהוּדָה, אֵימָתַי, מְקוֹם שֶׁנִּכְנָסִין בְּשֵׁנִי וּבַחֲמִישִׁי. אֲבָל מְקוֹם שֶׁאֵין נִכְנָסִין לֹא בְּשֵׁנִי וְלֹא בַחֲמִישִׁי, אֵין קוֹרִין אוֹתָהּ אֶלָּא בִזְמַנָּהּ:
What is considered a large city, where the Megilla is read on the fourteenth of Adar? Any city in which there are ten idlers. However, if there are fewer than that, it is considered a village, even if it has many inhabitants. It was with regard to these times for reading the Megilla that the Sages said that one advances the reading of the Megilla before the fourteenth of Adar and one does not postpone the reading to after its proper time. However, with regard to the time when families of priests donate wood for the fire on the altar, which were times those families would treat as Festivals; as well as the fast of the Ninth of Av; the Festival peace-offering that was brought on the Festivals; and the commandment of assembly [hakhel] of the entire Jewish people in the Temple courtyard on Sukkot in the year following the Sabbatical year to hear the king read the book of Deuteronomy; one postpones their observance until after Shabbat and does not advance their observance to before Shabbat. The mishna continues: Even though the Sages said that one advances the time for reading the Megilla and one does not postpone the reading, one is permitted to eulogize and fast on these days, as they are not actually Purim; nevertheless, gifts for the poor are distributed on this day. Rabbi Yehuda said: When is the Megilla read on the day of assembly, before the fourteenth of Adar? In a place where the villagers generally enter town on Monday and Thursday. However, in a place where they do not generally enter town on Monday and Thursday, one may read the Megilla only in its designated time, the fourteenth of Adar.
קָרְאוּ אֶת הַמְּגִלָּה בַּאֲדָר הָרִאשׁוֹן וְנִתְעַבְּרָה הַשָּׁנָה, קוֹרִין אוֹתָהּ בַּאֲדָר הַשֵּׁנִי, אֵין בֵּין אֲדָר הָרִאשׁוֹן לַאֲדָר הַשֵּׁנִי אֶלָּא קְרִיאַת הַמְּגִלָּה וּמַתָּנוֹת לָאֶבְיוֹנִים:
If the people read the Megilla during the first Adar and subsequently the year was then intercalated by the court and now the following month will be the second Adar, one reads the Megilla again during the second Adar. The Sages formulated a principle: The difference between the first Adar and the second Adar with regard to the mitzvot that are performed during those months is only that the reading of the Megilla and distributing gifts to the poor are performed in the second Adar and not in the first Adar.
אֵין בֵּין יוֹם טוֹב לְשַׁבָּת אֶלָּא אֹכֶל נֶפֶשׁ בִּלְבָד. אֵין בֵּין שַׁבָּת לְיוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים אֶלָּא שֶׁזֶּה זְדוֹנוֹ בִּידֵי אָדָם וְזֶה זְדוֹנוֹ בְּכָרֵת:
The previous mishna concluded with the formula: The difference between…is only, thereby distinguishing between the halakhot in two different cases. The following mishnayot employ the same formula and distinguish between the halakhot in cases unrelated to Purim and the Megilla. The first is: The difference between Festivals and Shabbat with regard to the labor prohibited on those days is only in preparing food alone. It is permitted to cook and bake in order to prepare food on Festivals; however, on Shabbat it is prohibited. The difference between Shabbat and Yom Kippur with regard to the labor prohibited on those days is only that in this case, i.e., Shabbat, its intentional desecration is punishable at the hand of Man, as he is stoned by a court based on the testimony of witnesses who forewarned the transgressor; and in that case, i.e., Yom Kippur, its intentional desecration is punishable at the hand of God, with karet.
אֵין בֵּין הַמֻּדָּר הֲנָאָה מֵחֲבֵרוֹ לַמֻּדָּר מִמֶּנּוּ מַאֲכָל אֶלָּא דְּרִיסַת הָרֶגֶל וְכֵלִים שֶׁאֵין עוֹשִׂין בָּהֶן אֹכֶל נֶפֶשׁ. אֵין בֵּין נְדָרִים לִנְדָבוֹת אֶלָּא שֶׁהַנְּדָרִים חַיָּב בְּאַחֲרָיוּתָן, וּנְדָבוֹת אֵינוֹ חַיָּב בְּאַחֲרָיוּתָן:
The difference between one for whom benefit from another is forbidden by vow and one for whom benefit from another’s food is forbidden by vow is only with regard to stepping foot on his property, and with regard to borrowing utensils from him that one does not use in the preparation of food, but for other purposes; as those two benefits are prohibited to the former, but permitted to the latter. The difference between animals consecrated to the Temple as vow offerings and animals consecrated as gift offerings is only that in the case of vow offerings, if they died or were lost before being sacrificed on the altar, one is obligated in the responsibility to replace them, and in the case of gift offerings, if they died or were lost, one is not obligated in the responsibility to replace them.
אֵין בֵּין זָב הָרוֹאֶה שְׁתֵּי רְאִיּוֹת לְרוֹאֶה שָׁלֹשׁ אֶלָּא קָרְבָּן. אֵין בֵּין מְצֹרָע מֻסְגָּר לִמְצֹרָע מֻחְלָט אֶלָּא פְרִיעָה וּפְרִימָה. אֵין בֵּין טָהוֹר מִתּוֹךְ הֶסְגֵּר לְטָהוֹר מִתּוֹךְ הֶחְלֵט אֶלָּא תִגְלַחַת וְצִפֳּרִים:
The difference between a zav who experiences two emissions of a pus-like discharge from his penis and one who experiences three emissions is only that the zav who experienced three emissions is obligated to bring an offering after he recovers, in order to complete his purification process. The difference between a quarantined leper, i.e., one examined by a priest who found his symptoms to be inconclusive, and who must therefore remain in isolation for a period of up to two weeks waiting to see if conclusive symptoms develop; and a confirmed leper, i.e., one whose symptoms were conclusive and the priest declared him an absolute leper, is only with regard to letting the hair on one’s head grow wild and rending one’s garments. A confirmed leper is obligated to let the hair on his head grow wild and rend his garments; a quarantined leper is not. The difference between a leper purified from quarantine, whose symptoms never became conclusive, and a leper purified from a state of confirmed leprosy is only with regard to shaving the hair on all his body and bringing birds as a purification offering, which are obligations incumbent only upon the confirmed leper.
אֵין בֵּין סְפָרִים לִתְפִלִּין וּמְזוּזוֹת אֶלָּא שֶׁהַסְּפָרִים נִכְתָּבִין בְּכָל לָשׁוֹן, וּתְפִלִּין וּמְזוּזוֹת אֵינָן נִכְתָּבוֹת אֶלָּא אַשּׁוּרִית. רַבָּן שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן גַּמְלִיאֵל אוֹמֵר, אַף בַּסְּפָרִים לֹא הִתִּירוּ שֶׁיִּכָּתְבוּ אֶלָּא יְוָנִית:
The difference between Torah scrolls, and phylacteries and mezuzot, in terms of the manner in which they are written, is only that Torah scrolls are written in any language, whereas phylacteries and mezuzot are written only in Ashurit, i.e., in Hebrew and using the Hebrew script. Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel says: Even with regard to Torah scrolls, the Sages permitted them to be written only in Greek. Torah scrolls written in any other language do not have the sanctity of a Torah scroll.
אֵין בֵּין כֹּהֵן מָשׁוּחַ בְּשֶׁמֶן הַמִּשְׁחָה לִמְרֻבֶּה בְגָדִים אֶלָּא פַּר הַבָּא עַל כָּל הַמִּצְוֹת. אֵין בֵּין כֹּהֵן מְשַׁמֵּשׁ לְכֹהֵן שֶׁעָבַר אֶלָּא פַּר יוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים וַעֲשִׂירִית הָאֵיפָה:
The difference between a High Priest anointed with the oil of anointing, which was the method through which High Priests were consecrated until the oil was sequestered toward the end of the First Temple period, and one consecrated by donning multiple garments unique to the High Priest, which was the practice during the Second Temple period, is only that the latter does not bring the bull that comes for transgression of any of the mitzvot. An anointed High Priest who unwittingly issued an erroneous halakhic ruling and acted upon that ruling, and transgressed a mitzva whose unwitting violation renders one liable to bring a sin-offering, is obligated to bring a sin-offering unique to one in his position. The difference between a High Priest currently serving in that capacity and a former High Priest, who temporarily filled that position when the High Priest was unfit for service, is only with regard to the bull brought by the High Priest on Yom Kippur, and the tenth of an ephah meal-offering brought daily by the High Priest. Each of these offerings is brought only by the current High Priest, and not by a former High Priest.
אֵין בֵּין בָּמָה גְדוֹלָה לְבָמָה קְטַנָּה אֶלָּא פְסָחִים. זֶה הַכְּלָל, כָּל שֶׁהוּא נִדָּר וְנִדָּב, קָרֵב בַּבָּמָה. וְכֹל שֶׁאֵינוֹ לֹא נִדָּר וְלֹא נִדָּב, אֵינוֹ קָרֵב בַּבָּמָה:
The difference between a great, public altar, such as the altars established at Nob and Gibeon, which served as religious centers following the destruction of the Tabernacle in Shiloh, and a small, personal altar on which individuals would sacrifice their offerings, is only with regard to Paschal lambs, which may not be sacrificed on a small altar. This is the principle: Any offering that is vowed or contributed voluntarily is sacrificed on a small altar, and any offering that is neither vowed nor contributed voluntarily, but rather is compulsory, e.g., a sin-offering, is not sacrificed on a small altar.
אֵין בֵּין שִׁילֹה לִירוּשָׁלַיִם אֶלָּא שֶׁבְּשִׁילֹה אוֹכְלִים קָדָשִׁים קַלִּים וּמַעֲשֵׂר שֵׁנִי בְּכָל הָרוֹאֶה, וּבִירוּשָׁלַיִם לִפְנִים מִן הַחוֹמָה. וְכָאן וְכָאן קָדְשֵׁי קָדָשִׁים נֶאֱכָלִים לִפְנִים מִן הַקְּלָעִים. קְדֻשַּׁת שִׁילֹה יֵשׁ אַחֲרֶיהָ הֶתֵּר, וּקְדֻשַּׁת יְרוּשָׁלַיִם אֵין אַחֲרֶיהָ הֶתֵּר:
The difference between the Tabernacle in Shilo and the Temple in Jerusalem is only that in Shiloh one eats offerings of lesser sanctity, e.g., individual peace-offerings, thanks-offerings, and the Paschal lamb, and also the second tithe, in any place that overlooks Shiloh, as Shiloh was not a walled city and any place within its Shabbat boundary was regarded as part of the city. And in Jerusalem one eats those consecrated items only within the walls. And here, in Shiloh, and there, in Jerusalem, offerings of the most sacred order are eaten only within the hangings. The Tabernacle courtyard in Shiloh was surrounded by hangings and the Temple courtyard in Jerusalem was surrounded by a wall. There is another difference: With regard to the sanctity of Shiloh, after the Tabernacle was destroyed, there is permission to sacrifice offerings on improvised altars. But with regard to the sanctity of Jerusalem, after the Temple was destroyed, there is no permission to sacrifice offerings on improvised altars, as the prohibition remains intact.