Halacha for Wednesday 5 Adar 5781 February 17 2021

A Megillah Written by a Woman- The First Megillah in History

A Megillah used to read from to fulfill one’s obligation must be hand-written in Sefer Torah font and on parchment. It shares most of the same laws as writing a Sefer Torah. Although most members of the congregation do not have kosher Megillot, they nevertheless fulfill their obligation by listening to it being read from someone else from a kosher Megillah using the halachic mechanism of “one who listens is tantamount to having read.” This rule applies to hearing Sefer Torah, Megillah, and the like, as long as the reader has the congregation in mind and the congregation themselves have in mind to fulfill their obligation.

Regarding a Sefer Torah, the Gemara states (Gittin 45b) states that only a man may write a Sefer Torah, not a woman, for our Sages understood the juxtaposition of the verses “And you shall tie them as a sign onto your arm” and “You shall write them” to mean that only one who is obligated to don Tefillin on one’s arm may write a Sefer Torah. However, women, who are not obligated to do so, may not write a Sefer Torah.

With regards to Megillat Esther, however, we must analyze this dictum, for our Sages taught that women are obligated in the Mitzvah of Megillah reading (and all other Purim-related Mitzvot for that matter). Moreover, the entire Purim miracle was brought about through a woman, namely Queen Esther.

Maran Ha’Chida writes in his Sefer Birkei Yosef that a Megillah written by a woman is absolutely valid, for since they are obligated to read/listen to the Megillah, they may likewise write a Megillah. He supports this ruling from the fact that the Rambam omits the law that a Megillah written by a woman is invalid.

Likewise, Hagaon Rabbeinu Yonah Navon zt”l (rabbi of Maran Ha’Chida) writes in his Sefer Get Mekushar that a Megillah written by a woman is valid and he proceeds to support this with several proofs. Many great Acharonim rule likewise.

Hagaon Harav David Oppenheim brings a proof that a Megillah written by a woman is valid, for the verse in the Megillah states, “And Queen Esther wrote,” from which our Sages derived (Megillah 19a) that the Megillah must be written in a scroll with black ink. It would be counter-intuitive that the first Megillah in history which serves as a basis for the laws of writing a Megillah, was invalid.

Thus, halachically speaking, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l rules (in his Chazon Ovadia-Purim, page 235) that a Megillah written by a woman is absolutely kosher. Similarly, the great Rishon Le’Zion, Hagaon Rabbeinu Yitzchak Yosef Shlit”a rules likewise in his Yalkut Yosef-Purim (page 515) for many different reasons.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

The Mitzvah of Counting the Omer

The Torah states (Vayikra 21, 15): “And you shall count for yourselves, from the day following the Shabbat, from the day the waved Omer offering is brought, seven complete weeks shall they be.” Our Sages (Menachot 65b) have a tradition that the “day following the Shabbat” ref......

Read Halacha

Question: How many “Kezayit”s (olive’s volume) of Matzah must one consume during the Pesach Seder?

Answer: One is obligated to eat altogether three “Kezayit”s of Matzah during the Pesach Seder. Every Kezayit amounts to approx. 30 grams of Matzah. Nevertheless, there is room for stringency to eat four or even five “Kezayit”s of Matzah, as we shall now explain. The Order......

Read Halacha

Chol Ha’Mo’ed

The days between the first and seventh days (outside of Israel between the second and eighth days) of the Pesach holiday and the days between the first day of Sukkot and the holiday of Shemini Atzeret (outside of Israel between the second day of Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret) are called “Chol Ha&......

Read Halacha

Everything is Foreseen and Permission is Granted

Israeli Independence Day is celebrated today. Since we have discussed this topic several times in the past, we will not delve into this matter lengthily at this point. Let us just note that according to Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l, although one must show thanks to Hashem for removing the ......

Read Halacha


The Pesach Seder-Kadesh

The Pesach Seder-Kadesh The famous order of the Seder of the eve of Pesach, Kadesh, Urchatz, Karpas, Yachatz, Magid, Rochtza, Motzi, Matzah, Maror, Korech, Shulchan Orech, Tzafun, Barech, Hallel, Nirtzah, was established by the leader of the entire Jewish nation, Rashi. The entire Jewish nation cus......

Read Halacha

Megillah Reading- Coronavirus

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 wr......

Read Halacha

One Who is Unsure Whether or Not One Has Counted the Omer

We have already explained that one who has forgotten to count the Omer one day during the counting period may no longer count with a blessing on the subsequent days. The reason for this is because the Rishonim disagree as to whether the Mitzvah of counting the Omer is one long Mitzvah that span......

Read Halacha

Fallen Soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces

On the night of the 25th of Tevet, 5736 (1976), a memorial service was held for seven young men killed in Zion Square in Jerusalem by Palestinian terrorists. Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l spoke beautifully at this event and we shall thus quote some select excerpts from his discourse: Our......

Read Halacha