Summary of laws-Megillah reading-Part 4:
- Refraining from talking during the reading: Once the blessing has been recited, it is forbidden to speak from that point and on until the reading is completed, and the final blessing is recited. This applies for both the reader and the listener.
- One who missed a word or part of the reading? The reader must read every word of the Megillah. If he skipped a verse, or even one word, or even one letter, he and the congregation do not fulfill their obligation. The same applies for the listener; if he did not hear even one word, or even one letter, he has not fulfilled his obligation. [One must thus repeat the reading. Nevertheless, one is not to repeat the blessing prior to the reading.] Some Poskim rule that if one was thinking of other matters while hearing the words then it is considered as if he did not hear those words. One who reads the Megillah in the wrong order does not fulfill his obligation. Thus, if one skipped a [letter, word or] verse and continued reading, he must go back to the skipped verse [word or letter] and read the rest of the Megillah from that point until the end.
- Following along in a Kosher Megillah or Chumash: It is best for every person who can afford it, to purchase a Kosher Megillah and read along silently with the reader. Those that are reading along in a Kosher Megillah together with the Baal Korei are to verbalize the words silently. One who does not have a Kosher Megillah available is to read along in a Chumash or printed Megillah. One who is following along in a non-Kosher Megillah, or in a Chumash, is not to verbalize the words, and is rather to follow the reading silently in his thoughts. If one missed a word from the Chazan he must verbally read that missed word. He must continue reading the missed word until he catches up to the Chazan’s reading, in which case he is to stop verbalizing the words and listen to the reading.
- How to read: The Megillah is to be read straight from beginning to end without interval. One is not to delay more than one breath between each verse. However, one is to delay slightly between each chapter.
- Correct pronunciation of the reading: It is not necessary to be particular in the pronunciation of the words. However, if the mistake changes the meaning of the word, he must repeat that word in the correct pronunciation. If there is no one available that knows the Taamim, but there is someone who knows the punctuation, then the Megillah is to be read without Taamim, with a blessing. If they do not want to read the Megillah without the Taamim they can appoint another person to read quietly from a Chumash with the correct Taamim, and have the reader repeat the words with the correct Taamim. If there is no one available that knows the correct punctuation, the Megillah is to be read without a blessing. In such a case one can appoint another person to read quietly from a Chumash to the reader of the Megillah, and the reader repeats the words with the correct punctuation. [In such a case a blessing is recited on the reading.] Nevertheless, in such a case the reader of the Chumash is to repeat the reading for himself from a Kosher Megillah. [Alternatively, someone is to read along in a Chumash and correct the reader in all cases of mispronunciation and in such a case a blessing may be recited.]
- Stomping and noise making by the name of Haman: It has become the custom to bang and make noise when Haman’s name is read in the Megillah. The custom of stomping the feet by Haman was seen done by the Rebbe Rayatz. The Chabad custom is to only “strike Haman” in those areas that the name Haman is written together with a description, such as Haggagi [the descendant of Agag] or Hara [the wicked]. During the stomping, the Chazan is to remain silent and not continue the reading of the Megillah. Due to the noise level made during the recitation of Haman, each person is to read one or two verses to himself from a Megillah or Chumash, just in case the Chazan has already continued reading and one is unable to hear.
- The following verses are repeated out loud by the congregation: It is accustomed for the congregation to read four verses of redemption aloud. These four verses are: Ish Yehudi; Umordechai Yatza; Layehudim Haysa Ora; Ki Mordechai Hayehudi. The Chazan must repeat these verses aloud after the congregation concludes their recitation.
- Raising the voice by Balayla Hahu: The reader is to raise his voice when he reads the words Balayla Hahu.
- The ten sons of Haman: One must read the ten sons of Haman in a single breath. The custom is for the congregation to first read the ten sons to themselves and then have the Chazan repeat it. The reader must be careful upon reading the words in one breath, that he verbalizes every single word of “Vies” from within the Megillah and not from memory. Furthermore, each word of Vies is to be read from the word written corresponding to that son’s name, and he is not to read it from one of the former or latter words of “Vies”.
- Lahraog/Lifneihem: In the Megillah [8:11] we read “Laharog ule’abeid” and repeat “Vileharog ule’abeid”. In [9:2] we read “V’ish lo omad bifneihem” and then repeat “V’ish lo omad lifneihem”.
- Shaking the Megillah: The Megillah is rustled at the mention of the words “Ha’igeres hazos” [9:26] and again at “Igeres haPurim hazos hasheinis” [ 9:29].
- Elongating the Vav of Vayzasa: One must elongate the pronunciation of the Vav.
- Reading each word from the Kosher Megillah: The reader must [initially] read the entire Megillah [i.e. every word] from a Kosher Megillah. Initially the Megillah used for the reading must be complete and not have any words [or even letters] missing or unreadable. Nonetheless, in the event that words are missing, the Megillah remains Kosher if all the following conditions are met:
- The Megillah is not missing the first or last verse.
- The missing words do not omit an entire episode of the Megillah.
- The missing words or letters do not exceed half of the Megillah.
- It is not missing the ten sons of Haman.
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