Who is allowed to read

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The Megillah may only be read by a person who is obligated to read it.

Cheresh: Due to the above, a Cheresh [i.e. deaf person] cannot read the Megillah for others and those that hear the reading from a Cheresh have not fulfilled their obligation.[2] [Practically one who hears the reading from a Cheresh is to repeat the reading without a blessing.[3] Although the Cheresh cannot read for others he is nevertheless to read the Megillah to himself on his own behalf.[4]]

Shoteh/Retardation: Due to the above, a Shoteh [i.e. mentally impaired; retardation[5]] cannot read the Megillah for others and those that hear the reading from a Shoteh have not fulfilled their obligation.

Child: Due to the above, a child cannot read the Megillah for others [including women[6]] and those that hear the reading from a child have not fulfilled their obligation.[7] [Nevertheless in a time of great need, when there is no one who knows how to read, a child that has reached the age of Chinuch may read on behalf of others.[8] Likewise if one heard the reading from a child he is to repeat the reading without a blessing.[9] See Q&A regarding having a child read for another child!]

May one who already fulfilled his obligation read Megillah for someone else? See Halacha 11!

Must the Megillah be read in the presence of a Minyan? See Halacha 6!

Choosing the Baal Korei:[10] It is forbidden for an individual to choose to read the Megillah for a congregation until he is appointed by them to do the reading.[11] [If however he was already chosen as the Baal Korei then he may begin the reading without asking their permission.[12]]

 

Women:[13]  

Reading for men: There are opinions[14] that say that although women are obligated to hear Megillah they cannot read the Megillah on behalf of men.[15] [Practically this is the final ruling.[16] This applies even when a woman is reading for a single man and not in a public forum.[17] If she read the Megillah for men then they are to hear it a second time without a blessing.[18] If the only person who knows to read the Megillah is a woman then she may read it on behalf of another man.[19] If however a male reader later becomes available the listener must re-hear the Megillah without a blessing.[20]]

Reading for women or for their own behalf: From the letter of the law a woman may read the Megillah on behalf of [herself or] another woman.[21] However she may not read the Megillah on behalf of a group of women.[22] Practically women are not to read the Megillah at all, even on behalf of themselves, and are rather to hear the reading from a man.[23] However if there are no men available to read it for her, then she may read it to herself, or on behalf of another woman[24], with a blessing.[25] If however another male reader becomes available she should re-hear the Megillah.[26]

The blessing: When a woman reads the Megillah for herself she is to recite the first blessing using the words “Lishmoa Megillah”. See Halacha 8 for the full details on this subject!

 

Summary:

One may only hear the Megillah reading from one who is obligated in the Mitzvah. One may not hear the reading from a deaf person, child, or woman. If there are no men available, a woman may read the Megillah on behalf of a man or woman.

 

Q&A

May a child read the Megillah on behalf of another child?[27] 

Yes. However it is best to have a child hear the reading from an adult. [If however the child has already fulfilled his obligation, then he may not read on behalf of others, even children.[28]]

 

May a woman read the Megillah on behalf of male children?[29]

No.

 

May a child above Bar Mitzvah read the Megillah for others?[30]

By the night reading, any child above Bar Mitzvah may read the Megillah. By the day reading, only a child that has started to grow facial hair or is known to have pubic hair, is allowed to read the Megillah for other men.[31] However on behalf of women, a child above Bar Mitzvah may read the Megillah even during the day. Likewise, in a time of need, he may read even for men, even if he does not have facial hair and it is not verified that he began growing pubic hair.

 

May one who is hard of hearing read the Megillah for others?[32]

Yes. Only one who is completely deaf is invalid to read the Megillah. However a person that can hear someone speak even slightly, even only when the person shouts or uses a microphone, is nevertheless valid for the Megillah reading.

Must this reader hear his own voice? Some Poskim[33] rule that the above allowance only applies if the person of hard hearing reads the Megillah loud enough for him to hear his voice. If however he cannot hear his own voice then neither he nor the listeners fulfill their obligation. Thus if one cannot hear without his hearing aid he cannot read Megillah for others, even if he wears his hearing aid.[34] However some[35] are lenient to allow him to read for others while wearing a hearing aid.

 

If one cannot hear without a hearing aid, is he obligated to hear the Megillah reading?

See Halacha 1 in Q&A!

 

May one hear the Megillah via Telephone; radio; speakers; microphone etc?[36]

No.[37]

 

May a mourner within Shiva read the Megillah?

See Chapter 6 Halacha 16 in Q&A!

 

May one who celebrated Purim on the 14th read Megillah for one who celebrates on the 15th or vice versa?[38]

One who celebrated Purim on the 14th cannot read the Megillah and thus fulfill the obligation for other people who celebrate on the 15th. The same applies in the opposite case.[39] Nevertheless there is an opinion[40] which rules that if, after the fact, one who celebrates on the 15th read the Megillah for others on the 14th, they have fulfilled their obligation.

 

May one who celebrated on the 14th and made himself obligated to also celebrate on the 15th, read Megillah for others on the 15th?

This matter is disputed in Poskim.[41] Practically one is not to read the Megillah for others due to this dispute.[42] This ruling applies even in a case that one is originally from Jerusalem and celebrated Purim on the 14th and then returned to Jerusalem before of the 15th.[43]

 

Megillah Gelt:[44]

There is an accustomed practice to give money to the Baal Korei of the Megillah [Megillah Gelt] by the day reading. It is told that one time after the Megillah reading the Mittler Rebbe gave quite a large donation to the reader exclaiming that it was the first time he heard such a beautiful story.[45]


 

[1] 689/2; Megillah 19b

Regarding a Tumtum; Androganus; Half free and half slave-see 689/3. Regarding hearing Megillah from a Mudar Hanaah-see 689/4.

 

[2] Michaber ibid; This refers to one who is deaf but not mute. Now although in general one who is deaf but not mute is obligated in all the Mitzvos, and is able to fulfill Mitzvos that require reading even though he cannot hear his words, [See Chapters 62; 185] nevertheless regarding the Megillah reading, due to Pirsumei Nissa, they were stringent and required the person to hear the words, even Bedieved. [Beis Yosef brought in M”B 689/5; Kaf Hachaim 689/8] Alternatively one is not required to actually hear the words but he must have the ability to hear and since the Cheresh does not have this ability therefore he is invalid. [Taz 689 brought in M”B; Kaf Hachaim ibid]

Other Opinions: Many Poskim rule that Bedieved if a deaf person read the Megillah everyone fulfills his obligation. [Bach; M”A 689/3; P”M 689 A”A 3; Peri Chadash; Shaagas Aryeh 7; Gr”a; Erech Hashulchan 689/2 in name of Rashba, Ran, Rashbatz, Meiri, Riaz; Kaf Hachaim 689/8]

Is a Cheresh obligated to read the Megillah to himself? Yes. See Halacha 1 Q&A!

 

[3] Kaf Hachaim 689/8; Ben Ish Chaiy Tetzaveh 2 being that many Poskim rule one does fulfill his obligation from a Cheresh. Therefore we rule that a blessing is not repeated due to Safek Brachos Lihakel.

 

[4] Biur Halacha 689 “Cheresh”; This possibly applies even according to the ruling of Michaber in 689/2 that a Cheresh cannot read for others, as from the Beis Yosef it is implied that he is nevertheless obligated to read it himself. It certainly applies according to those Rishonim and Poskim that argue on the Michaber and rule a Cheresh can read for others. Nevertheless from the simple wording in the Michaber ibid it is implied that he is completely exempt. [Biur Halacha ibid; See Halacha 3]

 

[5] See Piskeiy Teshuvos 460/3 for exact definition

 

[6] Olas Shabbos 689/3; Kaf Hachaim 689/23

The reason: The reason for this is because a woman’s obligation is stronger than a child. [ibid]

 

[7] Michaber ibid based on Tana Kama in Megillah ibid and so rules: Rosh; Bahag; Levush; Bach; Olas Shabbos 689/3; Peri Chadash.

The Reason: Although a child [that has reached the age of Chinuch] is also Rabinically obligated to read the Megillah, as stated in Halacha 1, nevertheless he may not fulfill the obligation of a Gadol, as for the child it is a Rabbinical command from two aspects [“Trei Derabanan”-Megillah is Rabbinical; a Katan is Rabbinical] while a Gadol is Rabinically obligated from only one aspect [Chad Derabanan]. [Beis Yosef in name of Levush; Olas Shabbos 689/3; Peri Megadim 689 A”A 1; M”B 689/6; Kaf Hachaim 689/11]

Other Opinions: In 675/3 the Michaber brings opinions [Baal Haitur, as rules Rebbe Yehuda in Megillah ibid] that validate a child, which has reached the age of Chinuch, to fulfill the Mitzvah of Chanukah lighting on behalf of a Gadol. The same would apply regarding the Megillah reading. [M”B 689/6 based on M”A 689/4] Some write that the Michaber omitted this opinion here due to that he does not rely on their ruling regarding the Megillah reading. [Shaar Hatziyon 689/12]

 

[8] Ikarei Dinim brought in M”B ibid; Kaf Hachaim 689/10

Is a blessing recited by the Katan? If the Katan has not yet fulfilled the Mitzvah then he may certainly recite the blessing for himself. However if he already fulfilled his obligation then a blessing may not be recited. [Kaf Hachaim ibid]

 

[9] Kaf Hachaim 689/9; Ben Ish Chaiy Tetzaveh 2 being that many Poskim rule one does fulfill his obligation from a Katan. Therefore we rule that a blessing is not repeated due to Safek Brachos Lihakel.

 

[10] Rama 690/1

 

[11] As to serve the congregation in fulfilling 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]

 

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

 

[13] 689/2

 

[14] Bahag; Mordechai in name of Ravaya

 

[15] Michaber ibid

The reason: The reason for this is because reading the Megillah is similar to Kerias Hatorah of which women are invalid to read due to Kavod Hatzibur. [Smag; Reim; M”A 689/5; M”B 689/7; Kaf Hachaim 689/13] Alternatively the reason is because women were never obligated in reading the Megillah but simply in hearing it, and thus she is not considered obligated in the Mitzvah of reading. [Rama ibid; Gr”a; Kaf Hachaim and M”B ibid] Alternatively the reason is because a woman’s voice is considered an Erva, and is hence forbidden for men to hear. [Orchos Chaim brought in Kaf Hachaim ibid]

Other Opinions: According to the first opinion brought in the Michaber ibid women are able to read for men, and so rules Rashi; Rambam. [Kaf Hachaim 689/12]

 

[16] Levush; Peri Chadash; Elya Raba 689/2; P”M 689A”A 4; Teshuvos Bad 408; Derech Hachaim 3; Kaf Hachaim 689/14

 

[17] M”A 689/5

The reason: As although the main reason is because of Kavod Hatzibur, nevertheless once their reading was invalidated the Sages did not differentiate in their decree and hence invalidated it in all scenarios.

 

[18] Ben Ish Chaiy Tetzaveh 2; Kaf Hachaim 689/14

 

[19] Kaf Hachaim 689/16; Beis Oved 689/4

Reading for a group of men: Some write that a woman is never to read on behalf of a group of woman, and certainly not on behalf of a group of men. [Piskeiy Teshuvos 689 footnote 7] Vetzaruch Iyun as there are opinions that rule a woman can read the Megillah for a group of men and hence why should one not suspect for this opinion!

 

[20] Kaf Hachaim 689/16; Beis Oved 689/4

 

[21] M”B 689/7 based on Rosh; Tosafus; Ateres Zekeinim

 

[22] Shaar Hatziyon 689/15 based on Karban Nesanel; Kaf Hachaim 689/17; Some write that this applies even in a time of need that no other men are available. [Piskeiy Teshuvos 689 footnote 7] Vetzaruch Iyun as there are opinions that rule a woman can read the Megillah for a group of men and hence why should one not suspect for this opinion!

 

[23] M”A 689/6 in name of Midrash Hanelam; Elya Raba 689/3; Biur Hagr”a; Machazik Bracha 689/3

 

[24] However she may not read for a group of women even in a time of need that no other men are available. [Piskeiy Teshuvos 689 footnote 7]

 

[25] Chayeh Adam 155/11; M”B 689/8; Kaf Hachaim 689/18

 

[26] Peri Megadim 689 A”A 6 as explained in Kaf Hachaim 689/18

 

[27] Olas Shabbos 689/3; Kaf Hachaim 689/23

 

[28] As it is questionable whether a child is included within Areivus and thus perhaps he does not have the ability to fulfill another’s obligation once he already fulfilled his own obligation. [P”M 689 A”A 4; Biur Halacha 689 “Venashim”]

 

[29] Elya Raba 689/8 in name of Amrakel unlike the simple implication from Olas Shabbos 689/3 [Kaf Hachaim 689/23]

 

[30] Sharim Hametzuyanim Behalacha 141/7; Binyan Shlomo 58; Piskeiy Teshuvos 689/4

 

[31] As the day reading is similar to a Biblical precept in which case one must be certain that the child has grown the signs of a person that is Bar Mitzvah.

 

[32] Shvus Yaakov 3/33; Peri Chadash Gitin 121 brought in Shaareiy Teshuvah 689/2; M”B 689/5; Kaf Hachaim 689/8; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 689/6

 

[33] Tzemach Tzedek Even Haezer 323; Shaar Hatziyon 689/7 based on explanation of Beis Yosef for why a deaf person cannot read the Megillah, brought in M”B 689/5

Other Opinions: Some Poskim rule the reading is valid even if the reader was unable to hear his voice. [Kaf Hachaim 689/8 based on Bach; M”A 689/3; P”M 689 A”A 3; Peri Chadash; Shaagas Aryeh 7; Gr”a; Erech Hashulchan 689/2 in name of Rashba, Ran, Rashbatz, Meiri, Riaz; Abudarahm brought in Kaf Hachaim 692/2]

 

[34] As the hearing aid is considered like a microphone, as will be explained next from majority of Poskim, and hence since he is still Halachicly considered deaf, it follows the same law as a Cheresh that was explained above.

 

[35] Piskeiy Teshuvos 689 footnote 24

The reason: As a) Many Poskim rule a Cheresh may be Yotzei others and b) Some Poskim hold one is Yotzei if he wears a hearing aid. [ibid] However based on the ruling of most Poskim regarding a hearing aid, the person is considered a true Cheresh and hence there is no room to allow him to read Megillah for others.

 

[36] Rebbe in Shulchan Menachem 3/319; Daas Torah 689 based on Halachos Ketanos; Mahraiy Engel Brachos 25; Minchas Shlomo 1/9; Eretz Tzvi 1/23; Minchas Yitzchak 1/37 and 3/38; Yechaveh Daas 2/68; 3/54; Mishneh Halachos 4/85; Kinyan Torah 1/75; Igros Moshe 2/108; 4/126; Sheivet Halevi 5/84; Piskeiy Teshuvos 689/3

Other Poskim: The following Poskim are lenient are permit hearing the Megillah through a microphone and the like: Minchas Elazar 2/72; Mikraei Kodesh 11; Tzitz Eliezer 8/11

 

[37] The reason:What is heard is not a man’s voice at all (and does not even resemble the case of one who sounds a Shofar in a pit). It is obviously most novel, even strange, to suggest that an indirect effect (koach kocho) and a basic transformation of the very nature of speech, should serve as a substitute for speech. Even though the recent scholars who have ruled otherwise include reputed poskim, it is evident from their very responsa that those who explained them the nature and workings of the telephone made a basic mistake.” [Rebbe ibid]

 

[38] M”B 588/8; Kaf Hachaim 688/14

 

[39] So rules Peri Chadash 688/1; The reason for this is because one must be obligated in the Mitzvah in order to fulfill the Mitzvah for others. [M”B ibid; See Shaar Hatziyon 688/8 that the Yerushalmi leaves this matter in question]

 

[40] Peri Megadim 688 M.Z. 2; based on Yerushalmi that holds Bedieved a Ben Kerach fulfills his obligation on the 14th, and so is implied from Biur Hagr”a.

 

[41] Many Poskim rule that since one is now equally obligated to celebrate on the 15th he may fulfill the Mitzvah for others, and thus read the Megillah for them. [Rameh brought in Birkeiy Yosef 688/3 and Kaf Hachaim 688/29; Shulchan Shlomo 23/3; Shaareiy Yitzchak 2/5; Ir Hakodesh Vihamikdash 3/26-however only if one did not plan to be in Jerusalem on the 14th; This opinion is based on Yerushalmi Megillah 2/3 and holds it to mean that anyone can become obligated in two Purims.] Other Poskim however rule that it is not possible for one to be obligated to celebrate two Purims, thus the 15th is not really his obligation and he may thus not read the Megillah for others. [Erech Hashulchan 688/5 brought in Kaf Hachaim ibid; According to the Rosh he never can become obligated on the 15th if he already celebrated on the 14th, as the day of the 14th is what makes one obligated. Furthermore many Mefarshim hold that the Yerushalmi never meant to say one can become obligated in two Purim’s and it was rather stating it in a wording of wonderment. See Karban Heida.]

 

[42] Kaf Hachaim ibid concludes to read on the 15th without a blessing and so rules Piskeiy Teshuvos 688/10 [p. 535] although he brings the dissenting opinion. So rules also Chazon Ish 152; Or Letziyon 1/46; Har Tzevi 2/118; Minchas Yitzchak 10/54; Kinyan Torah 3/101; Moadim Uzmanim 184/5

 

[43] Minchas Yitzchak ibid; Kinyan Torah ibid; Ir Hakodesh Vihamikdash 3/26 [if on the 14th he planned to return to Jerusalem on the 15th] Nevertheless in such a case the following Poskim [in addition to the previous Poskim] are lenient: Chazon Ish 152; Har Tzevi ibid; Piskeiy Teshuvos 688 p. 531; Shvus Yaakov [1/40 brought in Shaareiy Teshuvah 693/4] rules if one who lives in an area that celebrates on the 15th and he arrived on the day of the 14th to an area which celebrates on the 14th, and is planning to return before Alos of the 15th back to his home town, then he does not celebrate Purim on the 14th but the 15th.

 

[44] Leshmoa Ozen p.40 in name of Mittler Rebbe; Otzer Minhagei Chabad p. 267

 

[45] See Reshimos Dvarim 1/93

 

 

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