Can a person have a minyan in his home for Kriyas Megilah?

A person must listen to the Megilah in a beis hakneses. Since the pasuk says b’rov am hadras Melech (the King is glorified in a large group), one must participate in a large group for the Kriyas Megilah. Even a group that was learning Torah must disband to hear the Megilah in a beis hakneses. If a person regularly davens in a small shul, he does not need to leave his set location to go to a larger beis hakneses. If a person has a steady minyan in his home, however, he should come to shul to join the larger group.

[שו"ע תרפז, ב, משנ"ב ז, ושעה"צ י]

Should one leave his shul to join a minyan in a hospital for Kriyas Megilah?

A person who regularly davens in a larger shul may not go to a smaller minyan for Kriyas Megilah. If he is asked to join a smaller minyan of patients in a hospital, though, he should join them. Since his presence in necessary for their minyan, the mitzvah of gemilas chasadim is no less significant than the mitzvah of b’rov am hadras Melech. It is also preferable to join a smaller minyan that davens at sunrise than a larger minyan that davens later. A large minyan in shul may not split into a few smaller minyanim for Kriyas Megilah.

[ביאורים ומוספים דרשו תרפז, 13-10]

Does kriyas Megilah take precedence over other mitzvos?

Kriyas Megilah takes precedence over many mitzvos. This is due to the importance of publicizing the nes of the Purim story. Some exceptions include Kriyas Shema, tefilah, burying the deceased, and--according to some--bris milah. Even aside from these exceptions, if the opportunity to do a mitzvah arises and it will not be possible to do it after the Megilah reading, the mitzvah should be done first. If the performance of the mitzvah will stretch beyond the time frame of Kriyas Megilah, the poskim disagree about whether it would still override Kriyas Megilah or whether the Megilah should be read instead. Some say that in this case, reading the Megilah takes precedence, since publicizing the nes overrides the performance of other mitzvos.

[שו"ע תרפז, ב, ומשנ"ב ח-יב; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 15 ,17 ,ו-18]
  • Kriyas Hamegilah (reading the Megilah) is a mitzvah m’divrei kabbalah (a mitzvah derived from pesukim in the Kesuvim). Reading the Megilah in the daytime is certainly m’divrei kabbalah. There is disagreement about whether the nighttime reading has a similar source or whether it is a mitzvah mid’rabonon.

  • The day begins with alos hashachar (daybreak). Technically, one may begin the daytime reading of the Megilah at that time. Since the exact moment of alos is not always easy to ascertain (and thus a person might end up reading the Megilah while it is still night), Chazal instituted that the Megilah should only be read after sunrise.

  • The Gemara states “When Adar arrives, joy increases.” This joyousness is because Adar was a time of redemption. The joyful state lasts the entire month, including the days after Purim. Some poskim say that the practical application of this directive is to try not to enter a state of depression or worry. Others say that there is an obligation to perform positive actions that increase joy. These actions include partaking in joyous meals and assemblies.

  • Which cities celebrate Purim on two different days?

  • Do peripheral cities have the status of walled cities?

  • Do the neighborhoods of Yerushalayim celebrate Purim on the fifteenth of Adar?
PLEASE NOTE: The information in this email is for learning purposes only. Please review the Mishna Berura and Biurim U'Musafim before making a halachic decision. Hebrew words are occasionally transliterated to enable a smoother reading of the text. Common Ashkenazi pronunciation is generally used in these cases.
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