Is Parshas Zachar a Biblical or Rabbinical obligation?

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Is Parshas Zachar a Biblical or Rabbinical obligation?[1]

Some Poskim[2] rule that there is a Biblical obligation to hear Parshas Zachor[3], and so is the final ruling.[4] Nonetheless, the Poskim debate as to the exact definition of this Biblical obligation. Some Poskim[5] rule that the Biblical obligation is to actually hear the reading of Zachor from a Sefer Torah together with a Minyan, and if one does not hear the reading from a Sefer Torah with a Minyan, the Biblical command is not fulfilled.[6] Other Poskim[7], however, rule that the Biblical obligation is fulfilled by simply mentioning the remembrance of Amalek even if one is alone and without a Sefer Torah, and hearing it read from the Torah with a Minyan is only a Rabbinical bylaw of the Biblical Mitzvah. According to all, the Biblical obligation can be fulfilled whenever one hears the reading of Amalek from the Torah, and it is not limited specifically to the reading of Zachar on the Shabbos before Purim.[8] Thus, one who hears the reading of Zachar in Parshas Ki Seitzei, fulfills his obligation.[9] Likewise, some Poskim[10] rule that one who hears the Parsha of Amaleik from Parshas Bishalach, or on Purim day, likewise fulfills his obligation.[11] Nevertheless, Rabbinically one must initially fulfill this Biblical obligation with the reading on Parshas Zachor.[12] Now, being that the reading of Zachor is a Biblical obligation, the reader and listener must have in mind to fulfill the Biblical Mitzvah upon listening to the reading.[13]

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[1] Michaber 146:2; 685:7; Admur 282:16 “Parshas Zachar is an obligation in the Torah that every person hear.”

[2] Setimas Michaber 146:2; Yeish Omrim in Michaber 685:7; Setimas Admur 282:16 “Parshas Zachar is an obligation in the Torah that every person hear”; Tosafus Brachos 13a; Tosafus Riy Hachassid Brachos 13a; Tosafus Shantz Sota 33a, brought in Terumas Hadeshen 108; Haeshkol Hilchos Chanukah Upurim 10; Rashba Brachos 13a; Ritva Megillah 17b; Rosh Brachos 47b; Hagahos Ashriy Chapter 6 Brachos; Smak based on Megillah 18a; Sefer Hachinuch Mitzvah 603; See M”A 685:1; Shaareiy Halacha Uminhag 2:287

Other opinions: Some Rishonim imply that Parshas Zachar is only Rabbinical. [Implication of Semag; Possible implication of Rambam]

[3] The source: This is learned from the verse “Zachor Es Asher Asa Lecha Amaleik” which implies one must verbalize the remembrance of Amaleik and it does not suffice to remember it in one’s mind. [Kaf Hachaim 685:33]

[4] Setimas Michaber 146:2 and Admur ibid

[5] Mahram Shick Mitzvah 605

[6] Nevertheless, even according to this opinion, whenever one remembers Amaleik during the year, such as by the six remembrances said daily after prayer, he also fulfills a Biblical obligation. It is just that the remembering Amaleik through the reading from a Sefer Torah with a Minyan is only fulfilled once a year. [Shaar Hamoadim Adar p. 235]

[7] Chinuch 603; Ramban Ki Seitzei

[8] M”A 685:1; Beir Heiytiv 685:2; P”M 685 M”Z 12; Shaareiy Efraim 8:85; Minchas Elazar 2:1; Aruch Hashulchan 685:5; Hisorerus Teshuvah 1:5; M”B 685:8; Mahril Diskin 2 Kuntrus Acharon 5:111; Kaf Hachaim 685:28

[9] Aruch Hashulchan 685:5; Hisorerus Teshuvah 1:5; M”B 685:8; Mahril Diskin 2 Kuntrus Acharon 5:111

[10] M”A 685:1; Beir Heiytiv 685:2; P”M 685 M”Z 12; Shaareiy Efraim 8:85; Minchas Elazar 2:1; Kaf Hachaim 685:28

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that one cannot fulfill the obligation of Zachor by hearing the Torah reading on Purim, as it is read from a different Parsha than the reading of Zachor [Aruch Hashulchan 685:5; Hisorerus Teshuvah 1:5; M”B 685:8; Mahril Diskin 2 Kuntrus Acharon 5:111]

[11] Some Poskim rule the obligation to remember Amaleik applies only once a year. Meaning one is only obligated one time a year to remember Amaleik. Nevertheless, even according to this opinion, one fulfills the Biblical command every time he remembers Amaleik that year. This is similar to the Mitzvah of Tefillin of which a Biblical Mitzvah is fulfilled every moment that one is wearing them, even though he has already fulfilled his obligation after the initial wearing. Other Poskim rule the Mitzvah to remember Amaleik is constant. [Hisvadyos 1989 2 p. 442-446 printed in Shaar Hamoadim Adar 46-47]

[12] Aruch Hashulchan ibid

[13] Kaf Hachaim 685:33

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