Halacha for lundi 6 Adar 5780 2 March 2020

Arriving Late to or Skipping Some Portions of the Megillah Reading

Every member of the Jewish nation is obligated to read the Megillah on the day of Purim. One must read it during the night and once again the next day, as the verse states, “My G-d, I call out to you during the day and you do not answer; during the night I have no rest.” This verse is written in the chapter of Tehillim (Psalms) called “Lamnatze’ach al Ayelet Ha’Shachar” and the Gemara in Yoma (29a) refers to Queen Esther as the “Ayelet Ha’Shachar”. Therefore, we derive laws from this chapter regarding the Megillah which was co-authored by Mordechai and Queen Esther since they were the ones to institute the reading of the Megillah on the day of Purim.

Listening is Like Reading
However, since not everyone is an expert in Megillah reading along with the fact that not everyone owns a kosher Megillah written on parchment, we customarily fulfill our obligation of Megillah reading through the law of “one who hears is tantamount to one who recites.” This means that one who hears another person reading from a kosher Megillah fulfills one’s obligation and it is as though one has read the Megillah himself. Therefore, when the Chazzan reads from a kosher Megillah while having in mind to read on behalf of the congregation and the congregation has in mind to fulfill their own obligation as well by listening, it is considered as if they have actually read the Megillah on their own.

Speaking During Megillah Reading
During the time when the Megillah is being read, one may not interrupt by speaking at all until after the blessing at the conclusion of the Megillah reading has been recited. One who did indeed speak during Megillah reading while the Chazzan carries on with the reading of the Megillah does not fulfill his obligation and his status is like one who missed a portion of the Megillah reading, as will be explained later on.

One should listen carefully to the reading of the Megillah and one should exercise special care not to miss hearing even one word from the reading of the Megillah, for according to many Poskim (including the Rashba, Ran, and others), if one misses hearing even one word of the Megillah, one has not fulfilled one’s obligation.

One Who Misses a Portion of the Megillah Reading
However, if it happens that one missed hearing a few words of the Megillah because of noise and the like, one may read those words from within the Megillah one is holding, even if it is not a kosher Megillah; rather, even if it is a printed one, one should quickly read the words one missed until one reaches the place where the Chazzan is currently reading, at which point one should once again remain silent and listen to the Chazzan’s reading. (One will fulfill one’s obligation as long as one has heard most of the Megillah reading from the Chazzan and has only read a minority of it on his own from the printed Megillah in one’s hands).

One Who Arrives Late to the Synagogue
If one arrives late to the synagogue and realizes that the Chazzan has already recited the blessing preceding the reading of the Megillah, the great Rishon Le’Zion, Hagaon Rabbeinu Yitzchak Yosef Shlit”a, writes (in his Yalkut Yosef-Chapter 687) that it is preferable for one to go home and read the Megillah with its appropriate blessings as opposed to hearing the Megillah being read with the congregation but without its blessings. Certainly though, this ruling applies only when one is capable of reading the Megillah at home; however, if one cannot, one should merely hear the Megillah being read by the Chazzan. If the Chazzan is already several verses into the Megillah by the time one arrives at the synagogue, one should read these verses quickly to himself until one catches up to the place where the Chazzan is at which point, one should be silent and listen to the Chazzan. However, this is likewise contingent upon the fact that one hears most of the Megillah being read by the Chazzan, as we have explained above.

Firecrackers
Some customarily bang on tables and the like when the evil Haman’s name is mentioned during the reading of the Megillah as a form of obliterating the name of Amalek. In the past generation, this custom has been grossly exaggerated with all manners of loud noises, including setting off firecrackers and other things which can truly scare people. This causes several problems, including the fact that as a result, many people cannot listen to the Megillah reading properly. If the need arises, the Gabbai should announce that the congregation should only bang during the reading of the first and last “Haman,” at which point the Chazzan should pause for a few moments until the noise dies down and he should then proceed with the reading of the Megillah. Maran zt”l was very particular about this, even in his younger years, and there was banging in the synagogue only during the first and last “Haman” in order to prevent mass disturbance during the Megillah reading.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

The Customary Order of Rosh Hashanah

It is customary to eat certain symbolic foods during the two nights of Rosh Hashanah which signify good fortune for the entire upcoming year. It is therefore customary to eat black-eyed peas, pumpkin, leek, spinach, dates, pomegranates, apples dipped in honey, and meat of a sheep’s head on the......

Read Halacha

Some Details Regarding the Prayers of the Days of Awe

Anyone who appreciates the loftiness of the Days of Awe customarily tries to recite all prayers of these days with much precision and care. There are many Machzorim on the market containing several versions for various texts, some which can be relied upon and others which cannot be relied upon at al......

Read Halacha

Lighting Candles on Rosh Hashanah and the Issue this Year

The Laws of Candle-Lighting on Rosh Hashanah On the first day of Rosh Hashanah, we customarily light Yom Tov candles before the onset of Yom Tov similar to the way we light them on Erev Shabbat. If the candles were not lit before the onset of Yom Tov, a woman may even light the candles on Yom Tov i......

Read Halacha

Should One Cry on Rosh Hashanah?

Question: What is the proper way to behave during the prayers of Rosh Hashanah: Should one arouse himself to cry during the prayers in order for Hashem to pity us and grant us all of our requests or should one pray amid great joy? Answer: The Mitzvah to be Glad on Rosh Hashanah The Poskim deli......

Read Halacha


Repenting for Speaking Lashon Hara and Rendering a Mistaken Halachic Ruling

Question: If I have spoken Lashon Hara (evil slander) about my friend, must I confront him and tell him what I have done in order to request his forgiveness? Also, what is the law regarding a rabbi who has ruled stringently on a matter when, in fact, there is actually room for leniency, must he ask ......

Read Halacha

One Should Constantly View Himself as Half Innocent and Half Guilty

Our Sages (Kiddushin 40b) teach us that one should always view himself as half innocent and half guilty. If one performs one Mitzvah, one is praiseworthy, for one has tipped the scale to the innocent side. If one transgresses one prohibition, woe unto him, for he has tipped the scale to the guilty s......

Read Halacha

Preparing for the Day of Judgment

During the days preceding Rosh Hashanah, every single member of the Jewish nation must contemplate his/her actions and perform some sort of self-introspection in order to ascertain how one can improve one’s actions and Mitzvah observance so as to guarantee one’s self powerful defenders o......

Read Halacha

Atonement for Sin, Torah Study, and Sinners in Our Generation

In the previous Halacha we have discussed four varying levels of sin. We have also pointed out that there are some sins for which one cannot obtain atonement until suffering or death befalls him, as the verse states, “I shall remember their iniquities with a staff and with affliction their sin......

Read Halacha