Chapter: 15 – Purim and Reading the Megillah

01. The Miracle of Purim

The joy of Purim expresses the eternal sanctity of the Jewish people. Even though this sanctity is sometimes hidden by our sins, it never disappears. Jews, even when they sin, are still called God’s children, and nevertheless God directs the … Continue reading

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02. Accepting the Torah Anew

If we delve deeper, we will see that Haman’s decree actually stirred the singular quality, the segula, of the Jewish people. The decree made it clear that the Jewish people were willing to make great sacrifices in order to hold … Continue reading

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3 – Establishing Purim as an Everlasting Holiday

Even though the joy over the salvation was great, it was initially unclear how the event should be marked. Esther wrote to the Sages, “Write an account of me for future generations,” that is, write down the Purim story and … Continue reading

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04. Walled and Unwalled Cities

There is a unique halakha pertaining to Purim: it has two dates. In most places, Purim is celebrated on the fourteenth of Adar, while in cities that were surrounded by a wall at the time of Yehoshua bin Nun, and … Continue reading

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05. Reading the Megilla and Publicizing the Miracle

Everyone is obligated in the mitzva of reading the Megilla: men, women, and converts. One who hears someone else read the Megilla discharges his obligation, as long as the reader is obligated in the mitzva. However, if one hears it … Continue reading

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06. When to Read the Megilla

One must read the Megilla at night and again during the day, to commemorate the fact that the Jews cried out to God in their time of need during the day and at night (Megilla 4a; Rashi ad loc.). The … Continue reading

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07. Women and Megilla Reading

According to Rashi and Rambam, women and men are equally obligated in the mitzva to read the Megilla, and a woman may read the Megilla for her family. In contrast, Behag and Rabbeinu Ĥananel maintain that a woman’s obligation differs … Continue reading

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08. Minors

It is a mitzva to train children to perform mitzvot, and from the moment a boy or girl reaches the stage at which he or she understands the Megilla and can listen to it as halakha requires, one must train … Continue reading

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09. The Megilla

Megilat Esther is considered holy writ; therefore, it must be written in the way a Torah scroll is written, in black ink on parchment. If it is written using something other than ink, or on paper, it is invalid, and … Continue reading

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10. The Mitzva of Reading the Megilla and the Status of One who Missed a Word

To fulfill the mitzva of reading the Megilla, one must read it from a kosher megilla that was written in ink on parchment. If one recites it by heart or reads it from a printed book, he has not discharged … Continue reading

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11. The Laws of Reading the Megilla

When not in use, the Megilla is rolled up from the end of the scroll to the beginning. However, since Megilat Esther is referred to as a “letter,” it is customary to prepare the scroll for reading in public by … Continue reading

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12. The Berakhot and the Order of the Reading

We recite three berakhot before the nighttime reading: “Who has sanctified us with His mitzvot and commanded us concerning the reading of the Megilla” (“asher kideshanu be-mitzvotav ve-tzivanu al mikra megilla”); “Who performed miracles for our ancestors in those days, … Continue reading

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13. Taking Revenge on Haman and His Ten Sons

The execution of Haman and his ten sons is an integral part of the Megilla, for it confirms that justice was done and the wicked people who rose up against the nation of Israel were punished and put to death. … Continue reading

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14. Al Ha-nisim, Torah Reading, Eulogies, and Taĥanun

The Sages formulated the Al Ha-nisim prayer so that we may thank God for the salvation He performed for the Jewish people at the time of Purim. We recite it in the berakha of thanksgiving in the Amida and in … Continue reading

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15. Working on Purim

The Sages did not originally establish Purim as a holiday on which work is prohibited. Over time, however, the Jewish people developed a custom to refrain from work on Purim, out of respect for the sanctity of the day, and … Continue reading

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