- Question: [Sunday, 10th Adar 2, 5782]
I had purchased a very large and expensive megillah from an individual and showed it to a friend of mine who is a Sofer, and he was very impressed by the writing and its beautiful script. However, he said that he thinks that there may be an issue with the Megillah, as the script was written a fair distance from the Sirtut lines, and basically instead of being written along the lines of the Sirtut, it was written in between the two lines of the Sirtut, at a distance from it. It was written this way throughout the entire Megillah! He said he was not sure and asked me to speak to a Rav. What do you say about this?
Unfortunately, I am sorry to inform you, but the Megillah is Pasul and may not be used to fulfill the Mitzvah of megillah reading. You should contact the person who you bought it from, and ask for a refund, and explain to him that it is forbidden to write a Megillah in such a way, and that he should contact anyone else who he sold such Megillas to. Initially, due to exactly reasons such as these, it is imperative to bring your Megilla to a Rav who is expert in laws of Safrus to check, prior to purchasing.
The Sirtut requirement: It is a Halacha Lemoshe Misinai that Sefer Torah, and Mezuzah, and all Scripture, must have Sirtut performed onto them [in contrast to Tefillin]. Now, the Talmud states that it is learned from a verse in Esther that a Megillah has the same status as a Sefer Torah/Mezuzah in this regard, and hence also a Megillah needs Sirtut, and so is the ruling in the Shulchan Aruch. Interestingly, however, some Poskim rule that only the first line of the Megillah needs Sirtut, and not every single line [as rules Rabbeinu Tam regarding a Sefer Torah]. However, the vast majority of Achronim all negate this, even calling it a mistaken opinion, and rule that a Megillah must have Sirtut performed to it by every single line just as we rule regarding a Mezuzah, and as majority of Poskim all rule regarding a Sefer Torah. Now, that the aspect of Sirtut by a Megillah has been clarified, we must clarify the status of Sirtut if the script was not written alongside it.
Writing alongside the Sirtut: The purpose of the Sirtut is for the Sofer to write alongside it. If, however, if he writes at a distant from the Sirtut, in between the two lines of Sirtut, then the Poskim rule that it is as if that the Sirtut does not exist.
Accordingly, based on the above two points, the above Megillah in question which was written in between the Sirtut, and not alongside it, is invalid. This applies even if we were to be lenient like those who hold that that by a Megillah Sirtut is only required by the top line, as here, the Sirtut was not done properly even by the top line [unless one holds that the purpose of the Sirtut by the top line is simply for an outline].
Now, the only question that remains is whether it is valid to fix the Sirtut and redo it now alongside the script. So, regarding a Mezuzah the Poskim rule that doing so is invalid, and seemingly the same would apply here regarding a Megillah.
Sources: See regarding Sefer Torah and Mezuzah needing Sirtut: Michaber Y.D. 284:1; 288:8; Tosafus in Gittin 6b; Admur 32:8; Machatzis Hashekel 691:1 See regarding a Megillah needing Sirtut: Michaber O.C. 691:1; Megillah 16b; See also Michaber Y.D. 284:1; Poskim who hold that Sirtut is only required by first line of Megillah: M”A 691:1 in name of Levush 691:2; Beis Yosef 691 p. 663 in name of Orchos Chaim Megillah 11; Birkeiy Yosef 691:5 in name of Baiy Chayeh O.C. 54 [i.e. Kneses Hagedola] that Bedieved is valid if only top line is Sirtut although if even top line is not with Sirtut then its invalid even Bedieved, brought in Shaareiy Teshuvah 691:1; Poskim who hold that Sirtut is required by every line of Megillah otherwise is invalid: Darkei Moshe 691:1 argues on Beis Yosef ibid and rules that according to the Talmud every line must have Sirtut just like a Sefer Torah and that so is the custom and that the Orchos Chaim is a Daas Yachid; Chacham Tzevi 97, brought in Beir Heiytiv 691:1; P”M 691 A”A 1 [rules against M”A and Levush]; Biur Hagr”a 691:3 rules that every line needs Sirtut and that the Levush and M”A “have made a mistaken ruling”; Erech Hashulchan 691:4 that so is the ruling of Maran; Beis Oveid 3 [if no other Mgeillah available read without blessing]; Levushei Serud on M”A ibid that seemingly he did not see the words of the Darkei Moshe; Hagahos Rebbe Akiva Eiger 691 questions M”A; Machatzis Hashekel on M”A ibid explains that in the conclusion of the M”A he really does not hold of the Levush; Maaseh Rokeiach 691; Neziros Shimshon 691; Keses Hasofer 28:1 [Pasul Bedeived]; Meleches Shamayim 24:1 [Pasul Bedieved]; Sefer Hakavanos Shaar 6 Derush Purim 1; Peri Eitz Chaim Shaar Purim; Kol Yaakov 691:4 that so is custom in Bagdad and that if did not do so is Pasul even Bedieved; See regarding the invalidation if wrote a distance from the Sirtut and that cant do Sirtut afterwards: Shut Rebbe Akiva Eiger Y.D 50, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah Y.D. 288:5; Kol Yaakov 288:14 [Vetzaruch Iyun regarding a Megillah]