Reading in local Shul

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Reading the Megillah in the local Shul with the congregation: [1]

It is a Mitzvah Min Hamuvchar[2] for the Megillah to be read in the presence of many people, as Berov Am Hadras Melech.[3] Therefore even when a Minyan is available in one’s home, and even if this Minyan contains one hundred people, nevertheless one is to join the reading of the congregation in Shul rather than read it in a separate location.[4] This applies even if this will cause the house Minyan to stop learning Torah in order to join the Shul Minyan.[5]

Women: In many places the women are accustomed to go to Shul to hear the Megillah.[6] However this is only valid if they heard the reading properly, otherwise they must re-hear it another time.[7]

Bringing ones children to the Shul reading:[8] [Based on the above] it is a proper custom[9] to bring ones male and female children to Shul to hear the congregations Megillah reading rather than having them hear it on a different occasion.[10] [However this only applies to children that have reached the age of Chinuch. However children that are below the age of Chinuch do not need to hear the Megillah or be brought to Shul at all.[11] However some Poskim[12] rule that one is to bring children to Shul even if they are below the age of Chinuch in order to fulfill the Mitzvah of Pirsumei Nissa. Nevertheless according to all one must avoid bringing to Shul children that disturb and make noise as explained next.]

Small children that make noise:[13] One should not bring very small children to the Megillah reading if they will make noise and thus prevent others from fulfilling the Mitzvah of hearing the Megillah reading.

 

Summary:

One is to join the local Shul’s Minyan for Megillah reading even if a Minyan is available in someone’s house and the like. One is to bring his entire family, his wife and children, to the Minyan.

 

Q&A

If one has a set daily Minyan at his house must the Minyan join the local Shul for Megillah reading?

No. In such a case they may make their own Minyan for Megillah reading and are not required to join another Shul.[14] Some Poskim[15] however rule it is better to hear Megillah in Shul even in such a case. Some[16] write the above law is only if one has a daily Minyan in his home. If however it is only a Minyan for Shabbos and Yom Tov then it is best to go to Shul to hear Megillah.

 

Must a shtiebel which has many Minyanim simultaneously have one big Minyan for reading the Megillah?[17]

Yes. It is proper that all the Minyanim join for Megillah reading in order to fulfill Berov Am Hadras Melech.

 

If one lives adjacent to the Shul and he can hear the Shul’s Megillah reading from his house, must he join the congregation in the Shul?[18]

Yes. It is Mitzvah and obligation to join the actual congregation in the Shul, even if one is able to hear the Shul’s reading from an adjacent area. [However in a time of need one may be lenient.[19]]

 

If one is in a side room in the Shul is he to enter into the main sanctuary for the Megillah reading?[20]

It is best to do so.

 

Is an Avel [mourner] within Shiva to go to Shul to hear the Megillah reading?

See chapter 6 Halacha 16B!

 

Is a Chasan to go to Shul to hear the Megillah reading?[21]

If a Chasan is able to go to Shul he should do so rather than gather a Minyan in his home. This applies even if he has a Minyan available in his home.[22]

 

If a member of the family must stay home to babysit, is there a preference for whom to go to Shul?

Some[23] write that it is preferred for all the men, including children who reached the age of Chinuch, to go to Shul and have the mother or sister stay home and babysit. Others[24] however rule that all those which are above Bar or Bas Mitzvah are to go to Shul, and a child, even a male child that has reached the age of Chinuch, is to stay home to baby sit.

 

Supervising the children:[25]

It is the fathers Chinuch obligation [i.e. educational duty] to sit with his child during Megillah reading and supervise that the child listens attentively to the reading. Unfortunately today, in many places the children simply come to make noise during the name of Haman, and not only do they not listen to the Megillah reading but they disturb others from hearing the reading. The father does not fulfill his Chinuch obligation at all if his child simply comes to make noise by Haman and does not listen to the reading.

Beginning the reading:[26]

It is forbidden for an individual to choose to read the Megillah for a congregation until he is appointed by them to do so.[27] [If however he was already chosen as the Baal Korei then he may begin the reading without asking their permission.[28] Nevertheless some have the custom that even the set reader begins with the words “Bereshus Moraiy Verabosaiy”.[29]]

 


[1] Michaber 687/1 regarding nullifying learning Torah as explained in M”A 687/2; 690/23 and 25, based on Ran; Levush; Bach; So rules also: Chayeh Adam 154/7; M”B 687/7; 690/62; Kaf Hachaim 687/11-12; 690/114

[2] So is the wording in M”A 690/25; and Chayeh Adam ibid. However see Biur Halacha 690 “Tzarich” that it is an actual requirement.

[3] Meaning Hashem is beautified when His Mitzvos are fulfilled in a public setting. The novelty of this ruling over the previous Halacha which requires one to initially gather a Minyan for the reading, is that one must trouble himself to gather a Minyan. However once he has a Minyan he is no longer obligated to search for more people to join. [P”M 690 A”A 23; Kaf Hachaim 690/114]

[4] Poskim ibid

[5] M”A 687/2 based on Michaber ibid

[6] Darkei Moshe 690 in name of Hagahos Ashri; Bach 687; Levush 687; P”M 689 A”A 1; Chayeh Adam 154/7; Kaf Hachaim 687/12 and 689/3; M”B 689/1 that the custom today is for women to go to Shul and that people should bring their wives and children to Shul. However see M”A 689/1; M”B 689/1; Tosafus Eiruchin 3a that in previous times the men used to read the Megillah for his household. [Kaf Hachaim 689/3] See Chelkas Yaakov 3/144 that there is no obligation of Berov Am for women to go to Shul to hear Megillah, as Kol Kevuda Bas Melech Penima. However see Mishneh Halachos 4/82 and Piskeiy Teshuvos 689 footnote 3 that it is implied from all the Poskim ibid that they are obligated in Berov Am.

[7] P”M 689 A”A 1; Kaf Hachaim 689/3; M”B 689/1

[8] Michaber 689/6; Chayeh Adam 154/7 

[9] Why is this only a custom and not required from the letter of the law? From the letter of the law it suffices to educate the children which reached the age of Chinuch through reading the Megillah for them at home. However the custom is to bring them to Shul. [Biur Halacha “Minhag Tov”; Kaf Hachaim 687/12] Others however learn that one must bring children that reached the age of Chinuch to Shul in order to fully fulfill his Chinuch obligations, and doing so is not a mere custom. Rather the custom here refers to bringing children below the age of Chinuch to Shul, in order to publicize the miracle. [Chelkas Yaakov 3/144 ]

[10] The reason: This is done in order to educate the children in the Mitzvah of Persumei Nissa [Levush brought in M”B 689/16] so that also when they are older they will come to Shul to hear the reading with a Minyan. [Biur Halacha ibid] In fact it is for this reason that the congregation is accustomed to read certain verses aloud. This is done in order to prevent the children from falling asleep, and help them concentrate on the reading. [Levush brought in M”B 689/16; Kaf Hachaim 689/26]

[11] Biur Halacha 689 “Minhag Tov” as explained in previous footnotes

[12] Chelkas Yaakov 3/144 as explained in previous footnotes; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 690/8 footnote 34

[13] M”A 689/11; M”B 689/17

[14] Chayeh Adam 155/7 brought in M”B 687/7; Kaf Hachaim 687/12

[15] M”B in Shaar Hatziyon 687/9; See Teshuvos Vehanhagos 2/350 which explains the M”B to only be referring to a case that the Minyan is made in someone’s house specifically for his needs.

[16] Teshuvos Vehanhagos ibid brought in Piskeiy Teshuvos 687/3

[17] Mishnas Sachir 104 brought in Piskeiy Teshuvos 687/2

[18] Halachos Ketanos 1/287; Beir Heiytiv 690/16; M”B 690/62; Biur Halacha 690 “Tzarich”; Kaf Hachaim 690/115

Other Opinions: The Levush rules that in such a case it is not even initially required for him to enter the Shul, and he can choose to hear the Shul’s reading from the adjacent area. The Biur Halacha ibid negates the opinion of the Levush. The Kaf Hachaim ibid concludes that if there is no trouble involved in doing so then it is best for him to go to Shul.

[19] Kaf Hachaim ibid

[20] Piskeiy Teshuvos 690 footnote 47 based on the above ruling.

[21] Kaf Hachaim 690/117

Other opinions: The Beis Yehuda 1 p. 107 rules that a Chasan does not go to Shul on Purim. Vetzaruch Iyun as for his reason. Perhaps however his reason is because a Chasan requires a Shomer [Rama Even Haezer 64/1] and thus he is ruling that if the Chasan does not have a Shomer he may not leave his house, even to hear Megillah with a Minyan. See Machzor Vitri 477 that the custom is to make Minyanim by the Chasan for all seven days, and he does not go to Shul.

[22] The reason: In order to fulfill the Mitzvah of Pirsumei Nissa. [ibid] The novelty of this ruling is that some communities are accustomed that a Chasan does not go to Shul at all during the seven days in order not to prevent the congregation from saying Tachanun [See Taz 131/10; See Machzor Vitri ibid] or due to lack of a Shomer [Rama Even Haezer 64/1] hence the novelty is that he may go to Shul on Purim in order to hear Megillah with a Minyan. Accordingly it would be permitted even if a Shomer is not available. Vetzaruch Iyun! See Nitei Gavriel Nesuin 2 Chapter 56/1 that a Chasan does not go to Shul during the year if a Shomer is not available.

[23] Chelkas Yaakov 3/144 being that women are not obligated in Berov Am, to go to Shul.

[24] Mishneh Halachos 4/82; and so seems from all the Poskim brought above that write the women are to be brought to Shul.

[25] M”B 689/18; see also P”M 689 A”A 11

[26] Rama 690/1

[27] The reason: As to serve the congregation and fulfill their obligation of the reading, is a matter of honor and one may not delegate an honor to himself without being appointed by others. [M”B 690/3 in name of Mordechai]

[28] M”A 690/2; Elya Raba 690/2; P”M 690 A”A 2; M”B 690/3; Kaf Hachaim 690/7

[29] Ben Ish Chaiy Tetzaveh 12; Kaf Hachaim 692/1

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