A few months ago we discussed ideas for a Purim publication and followed that up with more discussion in a dedicated chat room (which anybody is welcome to join). There were two main proposals: a book like last year's haggadah, and a smaller publication, perhaps printed on large paper and folded, suitable for use in shlach manot baskets.

I like both of these ideas and they are not incompatible -- both could be worked on. We kind of bogged down on implementation details for the latter -- how to format it, how to get them printed, etc. So, while I still hope that somebody will carry that idea forward, for this post I'd like to talk about a book like the haggadah.

The plan

As we did last year, we (= some folks in chat) propose to collect suggestions for questions, enlist the community to edit selected questions into the book's format using a markdown template to be supplied, import the results into a nicely-formatted document, and produce a PDF for download. We have some volunteers and would love to have more. We expect this to be no bigger than last year's haggadah (quite possibly smaller), and based on feedback from last year, we'd like to be a little more selective about the questions.

The first step is to collect suggestions from the community for questions to include. Please link your favorite Purim-related questions in the answer to this question. Currently we envision three sections/types of questions (let us know what we missed):

  • questions about the Megillah

  • questions about Purim mitzvot and customs

  • Purim Torah

We'd like to get this started early so that if we need to winnow the list or go hunting for more questions in a neglected area, there's time for that to happen. Please use this post to brainstorm!

While you're looking at candidate questions, please improve them. We want the source question and its answers to be the best they can be. The only editing in the book should be book-specific considerations.

Once we've built up a list of suggestions we'll move on to the next step, book-specific editing.

Time to start editing!

We have several questions (in an answer below) that are ready for book editing, and more that are awaiting review (please help and update the answer with your assessment). It's time to start editing! Add your submissions to the following posts:

I've set an arbitrary deadline of Wednesday, February 26 for drafts, so we have time to edit into a book, proofread that, and have the results out in enough time for y'all to share the book with all your friends. Please let me know if you see problems with any of this.


For reference, last year's analogue of this question (and from there you can use the tag to see the other posts for that project).

If you're willing to help with editing (see last year's posts for an idea of what that entails; it doesn't have to be a lot of work per person), please leave a comment on this post saying so. Feel free to delete that comment after leaving it if you don't want to commit publicly; moderators can see deleted comments.

  • sorry i'm a bit confused i have some good questions but can't find where to put them??
    – rabbi
    Feb 11, 2014 at 21:51
  • If you mean you have questions about Purim that you want to ask, please ask them on the main site. If they get good answers in time they're candidates for the book. If you mean you know about good, answered questions that you think are publishable, please add them to this list. And either way, thanks for the help! Feb 11, 2014 at 21:59

4 Answers 4


Rough timeline for the rest of the project, from edited submissions on:

  • Due Wednesday, February 26: Submit edited content - Community
  • Due Wednesday, February 26: Write introduction and possibly chapter intros (especially for Purim Torah) - ???
  • Due Wednesday, February 26: Produce back matter (glossary, bibliography, etc., if applicable) on Meta. - ???
  • Due Sunday, March 2: Produce first draft of publishable book in MS Word - Isaac
  • Due Tuesday, March 4: Proofread first draft and produce list of errata - TRiG and SLM
  • Due Wednesday, March 5: Revise Word document to address proofreading results and produce PDF document final draft candidate - Isaac or ???
  • Due Thursday, March 6: Proofread final draft candidate - ???
  • Due Sunday, March 9: Make any final fixes, produce final document, and put it up on the Internet for distribution - Isaac or ???
  • Monday, March 10 - Friday, March 14: Promote, promote, promote - Community
  • 2
    March 2nd to the 4th, the 4th to the 5th, the 5th to the 6th, and the 6th to the 9th are all very short deadlines. We should try to finish step 1 well in advance of the 26th.
    – msh210 Mod
    Feb 11, 2014 at 18:32
  • I plan to proofread either or both drafts, but cannot 100% guarantee my availability within a short period of time.
    – msh210 Mod
    Feb 11, 2014 at 18:36
  • I am available for proofreading for either or both of those date ranges. (But I agree that we should try to finish step 1 early.) Feb 11, 2014 at 19:21
  • @msh210 and Monica, I think we should have at least three official proofreaders who are otherwise generally not involved with this content, so that they'll bring fresh eyes. It'll be good to have additional people, including the likes of us, copyediting as well.
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Feb 12, 2014 at 15:42

This answer contains the template for editing questions. It's the same as last year's, with some minor exceptions, such as URL formats.

Question title?

Ploni Asker asked: Question body goes here. Be sure to remove hyperlinks; you can turn them into footnotes or parenthetical comments, or remove them if they're not important enough for a print publication. Use the regular markdown formatting. (Hint: if you use the edit link on a question or answer you can cut/paste the original markdown. Don't save your edit, though -- cancel!)

For both questions and answers, feel free to edit for clarity, grammar, tangents, etc.

Reuven Answerer said: include the answer best (in your judgment) for this publication. Keep it focused; if there is tangential information that, while great online, seems like too much here, edit it down. Identify sources but don't include URLs (here).

If other answers cover the same territory but add something small, you can incorporate them with: Shimon Answerer added ... .

Yitzchak Answerer said: if there's a second answer that brings a different perspective, include it here. Try to keep it down to one or two answers; the result should not exceed a page in the PDF (in a reasonable font size). We want these to be short enough that people will use them, but long enough to be worth doing so.

Feel free to vary the verb -- "answered", "said", "offered an alternative", etc.


  • Citation that didn't work inline, e.g. a long URL
  • Another one
  • ...

Original question: Title (if significantly different from Question Title, above) and URL of source question, in the following form: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAA mi.yodeya.com/q/#####

Names and URLs of contributors, in the following form:

  • Ploni mi.yodeya.com/u/###

Use your judgment about what links should be called out. I would propose that well-known sources (e.g. Shulchan Aruch, Bavli, etc) can just be named "inline" in the answers; this is for things that don't fit that way.

Here's a cheat sheet to cut/paste from:

## Heading ##

__XXX asked:__ ... 


__XXX said:__ ...

__XXX said:__ ...





Original question: (AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA)  mi.yodeya.com/q/#####     

- AAAAA mi.yodeya.com/u/###    
- AAAAA mi.yodeya.com/u/###    

Example 1

Example 2

(Examples are from the haggadah.)

  • Why are we putting the title of the question both at the top and next to the "Original question" URL? It seems redundant. I recommend omitting the second. cc @IsaacMoses
    – msh210 Mod
    Feb 14, 2014 at 7:42
  • @msh210 It becomes relevant if we choose to use a different title in the book than we maintain on the site, or if we combine multiple questions on the site into one in the book (which happened at least once in the Hagada, IIRC). That said, in the majority of cases in which it's redundant, I agree that we might as well leave it out.
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Feb 14, 2014 at 15:10
  • In the choosing-a-different-title case, it still doesn't seem necessary. (What's the concern? That people will go to the page, see a differently-worded title, and say "oh, never mind. Wrong page. Bye"? It seems unlikely to me.) Even in the combining-questions case a title isn't really necessary (though it's more helpful there, so people can choose a URL to use).
    – msh210 Mod
    Feb 14, 2014 at 16:04
  • @msh210, good points. I'm cool with leaving the OQ titles out of the footnotes.
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Feb 16, 2014 at 6:01

Please link questions here:

Questions about the megillah:

Questions about mitzvot and customs:

Purim Torah:

  • For easy reference, links to tags: megillat-esther, purim, purim-torah-in-jest; also tractate-megillah, parshat-zachor, mishloach-manot
    – msh210 Mod
    Jan 22, 2014 at 5:04
  • @msh210 Additional small ponds to fish: amalek, esther-the-woman, four-parshiyot
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Jan 22, 2014 at 17:19
  • I guess it may be necessary to clarify that, due to how the production schedule matches up with p-t-i-j rules, only p-t-i-j posts from previous years can be included in this publication.
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Feb 11, 2014 at 22:23
  • @msh210, what are you checking for and updating in the process of deeming one of these suitable?
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Feb 14, 2014 at 17:20
  • 1
    @IsaacMoses, roughly that the question and answer are cohesive and simply make sense, that the answer suitably answers the question, and copyediting (grammar, spelling, jargon). Things I'm not checking for include sources (desirable but not strictly necessary) and interest (I'm assuming it was interesting enough for someone to add to this list, even if it's uninteresting to me). Do you think "suitable" should be a higher standard than that?
    – msh210 Mod
    Feb 14, 2014 at 18:13

Note that the site's license, cc by-sa 3.0, requires a link to the license itself. We should make sure to include its URL in the publication. (IANAL.)

That's http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/.

  • On the bottom of the Hagada's ToC page, we had "site design / logo © 2013 stack exchange inc; user contributions licensed under cc-wiki with attribution required creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ blog.stackoverflow.com/2009/06/attribution-required/" Unless someone suggests a change to that wording or placement, that's what'll be in this book as well.
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Feb 25, 2014 at 15:19
  • @IsaacMoses sounds good to me, fwiw.
    – msh210 Mod
    Feb 25, 2014 at 15:23

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