Monday, March 14, 2011

Reading the Scroll of Esther (Megilat Esther)

Today is the 8th day of Adar II, 5771

During Purim we read Megilat Esther --the book that relates the story of Purim-- twice, the first time at night (Saturday, March 19th) and the second time during the day (Sunday, March 20th).

Women are normally exempted from Mitzvot triggered by time, like Sukka, but Purim is an exception. Because, 1. Women were also saved from the danger and 2. A woman, Queen Esther, had the most critical role in saving the Jews from extermination.

Children, technically are not obligated to listen to Megilat Esther, but they are expected to attend Synagogue during Purim. Parents should make sure that their small children do not misbehave, perturbing the public reading of the Megila.

There is no Halakhic objection to use a microphone when reading the Megilah in public, provided one could otherwise hear the Megillah without the microphone. Listening by media (TV, radio, phone) is not acceptable for fulfilling the Mitzvah of Megila.

When the Baal Kore reads the Megila everybody should listen and follow his reading silently from a scroll or from a printed Megila.

It is a popular custom to make noise, as a sign of disapproval and condemnation, when the name of Haman is mentioned in the Megila. The Gabbaim and other Synagogue officers must make sure that the noise is discreet and does not perturb the normal reading of the Megila.

For the exact times of Megila Readings in our community see:

Sephardic Reading of Megilat Esther (Moroccan style)

Rabbi Yosef Bitton. YMJC | 130 Steamboat Rd. | Great Neck | NY | 11024