The Megilah must be read at night and by day.
The time at night is after tzais hakochavim (three stars are visible), until dawn. During the day the Megilah can be read from sunrise until sundown. If one will not have the opportunity to hear it after sunrise he may read it after dawn.
One must hear the entire Megilah for beginning to end, from a kosher Meiggilah written on parchment.
B’di’eved, one fulfills the obligation if he read or heard up to half of the Meggilah from a non kosher Megilah (orally or from a printed text).
When listening to Megilah in shule, it is often difficult to hear every word (due to making noise by Haman’s name etc). If a person missed a few words he should read those words even from a Chumash, (see previous rule).
The Megillah has to be read in proper sequence. One cannot read the second word, before the first. If a person missed a few words and is catching up, he should read the words he missed and the next few words until he catches up with the Ba’al Koreh.
Before the Megilah is read we say three brochos
These brochos are said both when reading at night or by day.
- Al Mikrah Megilah.
- Sh’osoh Nisim.
When reciting Shehecheyanu during the day, one should have in mind to also apply this brocho, for the other special mitzvos of the day;
If the Megilah is read in a congregation (Tzibur), the brocha of Harov es Riveinu is said afterward.
- Matanos lo’evyonim,
- Mishloach Manos,
- Se’udas Purim.
If the Megilah is being read for women only, the first brocha is Lish’mo’a Megilah, not Al Mikrah Megilah. (This applies even if read by a male, who already heard the Megilah.)
One may not speak from the beginning of the first brocha until the completion of the final brocha after the Megilah. For this reason Boruch hoo u’voruch sh’mo is not said during the brochos. Only Amen should be answered.
If a person spoke during the Meggilah he is nevertheless yotzee, however if the Ba’al Koreh continued reading, the person who spoke probably missed some words, so he must make sure to catch up.
The custom is to repeat two p’sukim since we aren’t sure which is the proper way to read them.
1) In chapter 8, possuk 11, we read l’hashmid la’harog, and the second time, l’hashmid v’la’harog.
2) In chapter 9, possuk 2, we read v’ish lo omad b’fneihem, and the second time l’fneihen.
7) We stand for the brochas while we may sit for the rest of the Meggilah. A person reading the Megilah for a tzibur must stand.
The minhag is to make noise when Haman’s name is read, however this is not the main purpose of reading the Megilah. One must be very careful not to miss any words as a result. It is also improper to pause too long while reading the Megilah, therefore the noise making should be with a limit.
When reading the Megilah for a tzibur, the Ba’al koreh rolls out the entire Megilah. It should be folded over, not hanging over the edge. After reading, the Megilah should be rolled, before saying the final brocha.
An individual reading the Megilah, does not roll out the entire Megilah.
During the day, one should not remove his Tefillin before hearing the Megilah.
The obligation to hear the Megilah during the day, is greater than the obligation at night.
One may not eat before hearing the Megilah. This applies to both during the night and during the day. If one is fasting (Ta’anis Esther) and it’ll be a while into the evening before he’ll get to hear the Megilah, he may taste a little food after the fast is over.
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