When is the Megillah read

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When is the Megillah to be read? [1]

One is obligated to read [or hear] the Megillah both on the night of Purim and again the next day.[2] [Nevertheless the main reading is during the day.[3]]

 

Q&A

If one can only read/hear the Megillah one time, either by night or by day, which reading should he choose?[4]

Some Poskim[5] rule that in such a case one is to hear the night reading.[6] See Chapter 4 Halacha 6 regarding Mivtzaim!

 

A. The times of the night reading:[7]  

One may fulfill his obligation of reading the Megillah at night anytime throughout the night of Purim.[8] One may begin reading the Megillah at night starting from nightfall [Tzeis Hakochavim].[9] It may be read anytime throughout the night up until dawn [Alos Hashachar]. Once dawn has arrived one can no longer fulfill the Mitzvah of the night reading.[10] Practically it is best to read the Megillah at the beginning of nightfall as Zrizin Makdimim Limitzvos.[11] According to some opinions[12] it is best to initially hear it prior to midnight, although most Poskim hold this is unnecessary.[13]

Plag Hamincha:[14] In a time of need[15] one may read the Megillah starting from Plag Hamincha of Erev Purim [1 hour 15 Zmaniyos minutes before sunset[16]].[17] One is to Daven Maariv prior to the reading.[18] When Purim falls on Motzei Shabbos one may not be lenient to read the Megillah on Shabbos past Plag Hamincha, even in a time of need.[19]

May one begin reading the Megillah after sunset before Tzeis? Initially, one may not begin to read the Megillah until after nightfall [Tzeis].[20] However Bedieved if one started reading it before Tzeis he does not have to repeat the reading.[21]

 

Q&A

If one did not hear the Megillah at night and it is now between dawn and sunrise [Alos and Neitz] should he read the Megillah without a blessing?

No.[22] He has already missed the night reading and is hence to wait until sunrise to read the day reading, as will be explained next.

 

May one learn Torah prior to hearing the Megillah?[23]

Yes, as we do not suspect one will forget to hear it being that the reading of Megillah is a beloved Mitzvah upon Jews.

 

What is one to do if he did not read the Megillah at night, should he read it twice during the day?[24]

There is no concept of Tashlumin with regards to reading Megillah and hence if one missed the night reading he does not need to read it twice during the day.

 

May one hear Megillah prior to Davening Maariv?[25]

Initially one is to hear Megillah after Davening Maariv, as was the institution of the Sages. If however one entered into Shul and the Minyan has reached the Megillah reading, one should first hear the Megillah with the congregation and then Daven, even if he is able to read the Megillah on his own after Davening.[26] The above is the ruling based on the legal aspects of Torah, however based on Kabalah[27] one is to always Daven before hearing Megillah, even if this will cause him to read or hear the Megillah later on without a Minyan. [If however he will not be able to hear Megillah later on than obviously he must hear Megillah before Davening.]

 

B. The times of the day reading:[28]

One may fulfill his obligation of the day reading of the Megillah anytime throughout the day of Purim. One may begin reading the Megillah starting from sunrise.[29] It may be read throughout the day up until sunset.[30]

If one read the Megillah before sunrise?[31] If one read the Megillah before sunrise, then if it was past Alos, one has nevertheless fulfilled his obligation.

If one will not be able to hear the reading between Neitz and Shekia:[32] In a situation that one will not be able to hear the Megillah reading anytime between sunrise and sunset then he may even initially read it before sunrise, after the time of dawn.

May one read the Megillah after sunset if he has not yet heard it?[33] One who has not heard the Megillah by the time sunset has arrived is to read the Megillah, without the blessings, up until nightfall. Once nightfall has arrived, according to all, he is no longer able to fulfill his obligation. [This applies even on Erev Shabbos, that if Purim falls on Erev Shabbos and one has not heard the Megillah reading and sunset has arrived, then one is to read the Megillah without a blessing until nightfall.[34]]

 

Q&A

May one hear Megillah prior to Davening Shachris?[35]

Initially one is to hear Megillah after Davening Shachris, as was the institution of the Sages. If however one entered into Shul and the Minyan has reached the Megillah reading, one should first hear the Megillah with the congregation and then Daven, even if he is able to read the Megillah on his own after Davening. This applies even if the 4th hour of the day will pass by the time the reading is finished, and he will hence have to Daven past Zman Tefila. Nevertheless he must say Shema within its proper time prior to the reading.[36] The above is the ruling based on the legal aspects of Torah, however based on Kabalah[37] one is to always Daven before hearing the Megillah, even if this will cause him to read or hear the Megillah later on without a Minyan. [If however he will not be able to hear Megillah later on than obviously he must hear Megillah before Davening.]

 

What is one to do if in middle of reading Megillah he realized that he did not yet read Shema and by the time the reading is over the time of Shema will have elapsed?

He must stop and read Shema prior to the time elapsing.[38] [Practically, if possible, one should wait until Haman is sounded and say the first verse of Shema while everyone is making noise to blot out the name of Haman. If this is not possible one is to say the first verse of Shema in middle of the reading, and quickly read inside and catch up to the reader.[39]]

 

What if in the above case the Baal Korei realizes that he did not read Shema?

He must stop the reading and read Shema prior to the time elapsing.[40] [Practically, if possible, he should wait until Haman is sounded and say the first verse of Shema while everyone is making noise to blot out the name of Haman.]

 

If one has not yet read Megillah and the time of Mincha has arrived, what is he to do first?[41]

It is best to first read the Megillah and only afterwards Daven Mincha. If it is right before sunset and he only has time to either read the Megillah or Daven Mincha, reading the Megillah takes precedence and he is to Daven Maariv twice as Tashlumin for Mincha.

 

May one read the Megillah with a blessing if the reading will continue past sunset?

Some[42] write one is to read it without a blessing.

 


[1] 687/1

[2] The reason: This is in memory of the miracle which consisted of the Jewish people praying to G-d by both night and day. [Rashi Megillah 4a brought in Kaf Hachaim 687/1]

The source: Psalm 22 refers to Esther which said “Keili Keili Lama Azavtani”. It is from a verse in this psalm that the reading of Megillah at both night and day is derived from-“Ekra Yomam Velo Seaneh Valayla Velo Dumiya Li”. [Kol Bo 45; Shulchan Gavoa 693/2; Kaf Hachaim 693/4]

[3] M”A 687/1; Aruch Hashulchan 687/3; Kaf Hachaim 687/2; Some write that the night reading is Rabbinical while the day reading is Midivrei Kabala. [Nodah Beyehuda 41 brought in Shaareiy Teshuvah 687/1]

[4] See Aruch Hashulchan 687/3; Hiskashrus 1024 footnote 4

[5] Aruch Hashulchan 687/3 in his final arbitration

Other Opinions: Nitei Gavriel 42/6; Hiskashrus ibid rule that one is to prefer the day reading over the night being that the day reading is the main Mitzvah, as explained above. They do not make mention of the opinion of the Aruch Hashulchan ibid.

[6] The reason: Although the day reading is the main Mitzvah, nevertheless one is to read the Megillah at night as one may not annul a current Mitzvah that he has the ability to fulfill simply in order to fulfill a greater Mitzvah later on. [ibid; See Hiskashrus ibid; Radbaz 3/13; Tzemach Tzedek 113; Hatamim 27/55; See regarding a similar question regarding Tzom Gedalia: Sdei Chemed Mareches Yom Kippur 1/10; Beir Moshe 8/34; See regarding a similar question regarding a Minyan a dispute between the Ridbaz and Chacham Tzvi brought in Beir Heiytiv 90/11]

[7] 687/1

[8] Michaber ibid

Must one initially read the Megillah prior to midnight? There is no obligation to hear the reading prior to midnight, unlike the ruling regarding Kerias Shema, as this Mitzvah is beloved upon Jews and we do not suspect one may come to forget to read it. Alternatively the reason is because the main Mitzvah of reading the Megillah is by daytime [and hence we do not make extra precautions regarding the night reading]. [M”A 687/1]

Other Opinions: Some Poskim rule it is proper to initially read the Megillah before midnight just as is the law by Shema. [Elya Raba 688/19]

[9] Maharil, brought in Kaf Hachaim 687/4; Peri Chadash brought in M”B 687/1

[10] M”A 687/1; Elya Raba 688/19 in name of Sefer Amrakel; Nihar Shalom 688/5; Aruch Hashulchan 687/4; M”B 687/3; Kaf Hachaim 687/7

The reason: As past Alos [dawn] is considered day. Now although Shema may be read until sunrise in a time of need, this is because the time between Alos and sunrise is still considered a time of sleeping in a time of need and not because it is still considered like night. Hence the Megillah which must be read at night may only be read up until Alos to fulfill the night obligation. [M”A ibid]  

Other Opinions: Some Poskim rule one may read the Megillah up until sunrise, as is the ruling regarding Shema. [Taz 688/6; See Kaf Hachaim ibid] The Achronim argue on this ruling as brought above.

[11] Aruch Hashulchan 687/4

[12] Elya Raba ibid

[13] See previous footnotes for an analysis of this subject and the opinion of the Magen Avraham.

[14] 692/4; Beis Yosef in name of Orchos Chaim; M”A 692/6; Meiri; Birkeiy Yosef 692/5; Mor Uketzia; Mamar Mordechai 692/7; Bigdei Yeshe; Shulchan Gavoa 692/9; Shaareiy Teshuvah 692/7; M”B 692/14 and Biur Halacha “Meplag Hamincha”.

Other Opinions: Some Poskim rule one may not read the Megillah at all prior to nightfall, and one who does so does not fulfill his obligation and has recited a blessing in vain. [Peri Chadash; Gr”a; Chayeh Adam 154/5 brought in Kaf Hachaim 692/32 and M”B 692/14; Aruch Hashulchan 692/8] The M”B ibid concludes that in a time of need one may be lenient like the above opinions.

[15] Such as if one is fasting [Taanis Esther] and is in extreme pain or feels very week due to the fast, then one may read the Megillah early in order so he can break his fast after the reading. [ibid] Alternatively one knows for certain that he will not be able to hear the Megillah reading between nightfall and dawn.

[16] Ketzos Hashulchan 27/4; 74/11 and footnote 25; 76/1 based on Admur in Siddur Hilchos Kerias Shema and 443/4 that rules the day is calculated from sunrise to sunset, and so is the custom today of all Jewry. In accordance to this calculation Plag Hamincha is 1 and ¼ hours prior to sunset. See also Admur in 261/5; 443/4. So also rules Gr”a; Chok Yaakov and other Poskim

Other Opinions: Some opinions rule that Plag Hamincha is 1 hour and 15 minutes before nightfall. [M”B 672/3; 679/2; 692/13; Kaf Hachaim 692/29]

Ruling of Admur in Shulchan Aruch: There are discrepancies within the ruling of Admur in his Shulchan Aruch. In 263/6 Admur rules that Plag Hamincha is 1 hour and 15 minutes before nightfall. This is based on 58/3; 89/1 in which Admur rules the day is from Alos until Tzeis. Likewise in 261/5 Admur rules that although one may be stringent to accept Shabbos from 1 and ¼ hours prior to sunset, he may not be lenient to light candles until 1 and ¼ hours prior to nightfall. However in Admur 443/4 he rules it is counted from sunrise until sunset and so rules Admur in the Siddur.

[17] The reason: The reason for this allowance is because regarding Maariv it is considered like night from the time of Plag Hamincha and onwards. [M”B 692/13]

[18] BeisYosef; Shaar Hatziyon 692/19; Kaf Hachaim 692/29

[19] M”A 692/6

The reason: This is due to the decree of the Sages against reading the Megillah on Shabbos. [M”A ibid]

Is the Megillah Mukztah starting from Plag Hamincha? According to some opinions the Megillah is Mukztah starting from Plag Hamincha. See end of this chapter in the general Q&A!

[20] P”M 692 M”Z 3; M”B 692/14; Kaf Hachaim 692/33

[21] Aruch Hashulchan 687/4 as Safek Derabanan Lekula [and thus even according to the Peri Chadash ibid that rules one does not fulfill his obligation with reading prior to nightfall, here he would agree that he fulfills his obligation].

Other Opinions: If one began reading the Megillah before Tzeis it is questionable [according to the opinion of the Peri Chadash ibid] whether he fulfilled his obligation. [P”M 692 M”Z 3 brought in M”B 692/14] However according to all the other opinions mentioned above certainly he fulfills his obligation.

[22] So is implied from M”A 687/1; Aruch Hashulchan 687/4 that it should not be read at all even without a blessing.

Now, although the Taz 688/6 rules one may read the Megillah until sunrise, and seemingly one should suspect for his opinion to read it before sunrise without a blessing, nevertheless seemingly it is not to be read as according to the majority of Poskim it is considered as if one is reading the Megillah during the day without a Bracha and he has thus fulfilled his obligation of the day reading. This reading ends up being Kosher but flawed as it had no Bracha said over it and was read before sunrise which is Bedieved. Vetzaruch Iyun if it helps to stipulate that if we rule like the Taz I am fulfilling the night reading, and if we hold like the other opinions I have intent to not be Yotzei the day Mitzvah.

[23] M”A 692/7 in name of Riem on the Smag brought in Kaf Hachaim 687/6

[24] Birkeiy Yosef 687/1 brought in Shaareiy Teshuvah 687/1

[25] Kaf Hachaim 687/18

[26] Nehar Shalom brought in Kaf Hachaim ibid

[27] Shaar Hakavanos p. 109 writes that the reading of Megillah reveals the Divine light which was drawn down through Davening Shemoneh Esrei.

[28] Michaber 687/1

[29] The reason: It may not initially be read before sunrise even though the day begins from dawn [Alos] as not everyone is expert in the times of Alos and one may come to read the Megillah while it is still night. [Rashi Megillah 20a brought in M”B 687/4; Kaf Hachaim 687/8]

[30] Rokeiach 237; M”B 687/5; Kaf Hachaim 687/9

The Michaber ibid simply writes it may be read until the end of the day. The above Poskim bring that the intent of this is until sunset.

[31] Michaber ibid

[32] M”A 692/7 towards end; M”B 687/6; Kaf Hachaim 687/10

[33] M”B 687/5; Kaf Hachaim 687/9; P”M 692 M”Z 3

Other Opinions: Some Poskim rule that on the 14th, the unwalled cities may read the Megillah with a blessing even after sunset, being that the 15th is also still considered like it is Purim. [Nitei Gavriel 31/10 in name of Hisorerus Teshuvah 493. I did a thorough search in the Hisorerus Teshuvah and did not find a Teshuvah 493 or any Teshuvah of this sort.]

[34] P”M 692 M”Z 3; Tzitz Hakodesh 55; Nitei Gavriel 31/10 footnote 15; See Michtam Ledavid 17 that rules this way also regarding Shofar. However see the following Poskim that rule one cannot blow the Shofar between sunset and Tzeis of Erev Shabbos: Mateh Efraim 601/13; M”B 600/7; Kaf Hachaim 600/13; Implication of Taz 600/1. To note however that the Shofar is itself forbidden to normally blow on Shabbos as opposed to reading the Megillah.

[35] Kaf Hachaim 687/18

[36] Nehar Shalom brought in Kaf Hachaim ibid

[37] Shaar Hakavanos p. 109 writes that the reading of Megillah reveals the Divine light which was drawn down through Davening Shemoneh Esrei.

[38] Based on Rama 687/2; Taz 687/2; Nodah Beyehuda 41; Shaareiy Teshuvah 426/4

Background:

The Rama ibid rules that the reading of Megillah does not push off any positive command if there is not enough time to do both. Thus since reading the Shema within the proper time is a Biblical obligation it therefore pushes off the reading of the Megillah, even if he will not be able to hear Megillah later on, such as he does not have a Megillah and no other reading is taking place. The Nodah Beyehuda ibid rules in a similar case that the entire congregation is to stop the Megillah reading in order to say Kiddush Levana if they will not be able to say it afterwards. Thus certainly they must stop to say Shema within its time, which is a Biblical command. Now although the Rashal, Bach, Taz, and Gra [brought in Taz 687/2-3; M”B 687/11] rules that the Mitzvah of Megillah pushes off even a positive command, such as Avoda in the Mikdash, this is referring to if one will not be able to read Megillah afterwards. If however one has time to read Megillah afterwards than even according to these opinions he must stop to fulfill the Biblical Mitzvah and then read Megillah afterwards. Furthermore, even if there is doubt as to whether he will be able to read Megillah afterwards, being that perhaps he will not find a Megillah, seemingly he must still read the Shema even according to these opinions, as one cannot for certain uproot a Mitzvah simply due to doubt in whether this will push off another Mitzvah.

[39] In this way one is able to fulfill both Mitzvos, as one is allowed to miss a few words from the Baal Korei, if he reads them inside. See Halacha 15.

[40] Based on Rama 687/2; Taz 687/2; Nodah Beyehuda 41; Shaareiy Teshuvah 426/4; See previous footnote!

[41] Kaf Hachaim 687/19 in name of Nehar Shalom; See Michaber 687/2 and the commentators there!

[42] Hiskashrus 1025 in name of Nitei Gavriel Purim 31, however in Nitei Gavriel ibid no mention is made of this and on the contrary he is lenient to rule a blessing may be said even after sunset on the 14th. Nevertheless so seems to be the simple ruling based on the Poskim above.

 

 

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