Reading the Megillah

The mitzvah of reading the Megillah
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The mitzvah of reading the Megillah

Purim commemorates the miracle where the people of Israel were saved from the evil Haman who wanted to destroy all Jews at the times of the Persian empire.

At Beit Chabad’s Purim website, you will learn the day’s mitzvahs and customs as well as everything you need to know about Purim.

In addition, you can observe the mitzvahs of Matanot La’Evyonim and the Machatzit HaShekel through Beit Chabad using Bit or credit card.

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תוכן עניינים

The mitzvah of reading the Megillah

Our Sages set to read the Megillah on Purim, one at night and one on the next day in memory of the Purim miracle.

Who should read the Megillah?

Every man and woman of Israel is bound by the mitzvah of reading the Megillah.


It is a mitzvah to teach young boys and girls to hear the reading of the Megillah as well.

Although in the Halakha, some Poskim claim that young children should not be brought to the synagogue, so they don’t disturb the reading.

The Rebbe contested this and said that children should be brought, if there is concern of interruptions, the Baal Kore should wait for the noise to die down before resuming his reading to avoid anyone in the audience missing words from the reading.

The times for reading the Megillah

Purim eve: Once the stars are visible until the break of dawn.

Purim day: From sunrise until sunset.

Reading the Megillah – Customs and practices

  • Only someone over 13 can read the Megillah for others.
  • It’s good that each person has a kosher Megillah, they whisper along with the Baal Kore as he reads the Megillah.
  • If there is no kosher Megillah, one can take a Megillah from the synagogue’s stock or follow along with the Baal Kore reading the Megillah of Esther from a cell phone, but one should not read together with the Gabbai since the Megillah must be heard while being read from a kosher parchment.
  •  In principle, it is permitted to read while sitting on a chair, but when reading the Megillah in public, it is a mitzvah to stand up to maintain the public’s honor.
  • It is a custom in Chabad to fold the Megillah into three parts.
  • One who has already heard the Megillah and reads it a second time to exempt others from the mitzvah – it is best for one of the people listening to make a blessing and if it isn’t possible the Baal Kore can bless a second time.

Is the mitzvah observed when listening to the reading of the Megillah through one’s phone or online?

Most Poskim determine that the mitzvah is not observed by listening through the phone or online since the mitzvah is to hear the Megillah from a human who has the intention to read it for others, and listening on the phone does not count as listening to a human voice.

Reading from an invalid Megillah / going from memory

The Megillah should not be read from memory but rather from a Megillah written on parchment written by a Sofer Stam.

As an exception, if there are few words missing from the Megillah and there is no other Megillah available, one can read from such a Megillah, under the condition that at least one half of a valid Megillah is there, as well as the omissions being concentrated in one part. If one part is missing from the start of the Megillah and another from its end, reading such a Megillah does not fulfill the mitzvah.

Missing a word while reading

If the Baal Kore misses a word while reading, the mitzvah is not fulfilled, and he must start again from the place where he missed that word until the end of the Megillah.

If the listener misses a word, he can quickly read from his own Megillah until he catches up with the Baal Kore, since as we said – missing a few words can be compensated orally or from an invalid source.

Precise reading

The Megillah should be read in a precise manner in accordance with the grammar rules of the holy language. If the Baal Kore makes a mistake with words that have a different meaning, such getting a word’s tense wrong, the doesn’t count as being read and he must start reading that segment again from the beginning.

Talking while reading

As a rule, no talking should occur during the reading. In retrospect, if the Baal Kore has talked the mitzvah is fulfilled, and if one of the listeners talks then he must complete the part he missed as we explained above. 

Making noise when Haman is mentioned

When the name Haman is mentioned, it is customary to make a ruckus.

Chabad custom – to make a noise only when Haman is said together with an adjective such as “Haman Hara” or “Haman Ha’agagi”.

The mitzvahs of Purim

After the reading of the Megillah, it is customary to observe the mitzvah of Matanot La’Evyonim . The mitzvah can be observed online using the website. In addition, anyone who didn’t have the time to give the half of shekel funds during the Fast of Esther can do so now.

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