Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Some laws and customs of Megillah reading

9th of Adar, 5770

“If one reads the Megillah in a reverse order, the reading is invalid”. Literally it means that if a person reads first verse 2, then verse 1 and then verse 3 or so, he did not fulfill his obligation. Practically speaking, if a person comes late to the Synagogue and the congregation is reading , say, chapter 4, he cannot decide: “I will read now from chapter 4 till the end and when they finish, I will read from the beginning till chapter 4”. He will need to read or listen to the Megillah, from a scroll, from the beginning to the end.

Unlike Torah reading, if the reader makes a minor mistake at the reading, we do not need to correct him, as long as the general meaning is not altered. The somekh (reader's assistant) therefore, needs to be proficient in Hebrew language, so he won’t over correct the reader.

The reader (Baal Kore) reads from a scroll and the congregation follows the reading, silently. In the Mashadi Community we have a very special Minhag: The Baal Kore reads until the end of the Pasuk and then the Congregation reads aloud the last words of it. For this, the Baal Kore needs to know where to stop and the congregation needs to know how to continue. Also, there are a few Pesukim like ish yehudi or balaila hahu that following the general Sephardic custom are read first aloud by the congregation and then by the Baal Kore.