Can a child read the Megilah on behalf of an adult?

A person can be yotzei the mitzvah of Kriyas Megilah by listening to another person read the Megilah. Through the mechanism of shomeya k’oneh (listening is equivalent to saying), it is as if the listener read the Megilah himself. The reader must intend to be motzei the listener and the listener must intend to be yotzei through the reading. Although the reader does not have to be yotzei the mitzvah at the time of reading (e.g. he already heard the Megilah), he must be someone who is generally obligated to do the mitzvah. Thus, the reader cannot be a child or someone who is disabled enough to be exempt. Under pressing circumstances, one can listen to (and be yotzei) the reading of a chinuch-age child.

[שו"ע תרפט, ב, ומשנ"ב ד ו־ו; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 2]

Can one listen to the Megilah with a hearing aid?

Shulchon Aruch rules that a deaf person cannot read the Megilah on behalf of other people. Although he can articulate the words, he is nonetheless exempt and cannot be motzei other people. His exemption is because he is unable to hear his own articulation. Other Achronim disagree and maintain that he is obligated to read the Megilah. They agree, though, that l’chatchilah he should not be the one to be motzei other people. All opinions agree that a person who is hard of hearing (but can hear when spoken to loudly) is obligated in Kriyas Megilah. The poskim disagree about whether a person who hears through a hearing-aid or cochlear implant can be yotzei when hearing the Megilah from someone else.

[שו"ע תרפט, ב, משנ"ב ה, שעה"צ ז ו־ט, וביה"ל ד"ה חרש; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 13]

Can a woman read the Megilah to herself?

As we have learned, women are obligated in Kriyas Megilah. Nevertheless, a woman should not be motzei a group of men. It is not respectful for a woman to act as a shluchah d’tzibur. She may, however, be motzei other women. Some Rishonim hold that women are only obligated to listen to a Megilah reading but are not obligated to read the Megilah. In their view, even if a woman did read on behalf of a man, he would not be yotzei. Some Achronim say that according to this view, a woman should not read the Megilah to herself. The text of the brocha for a woman is lishmoa mikrah Megilah. Some omit the word mikrah. The poskim disagree about whether one woman may recite the brocha on behalf of other women.

[שו"ע תרפט, ב, ומשנ"ב ז-ח; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 26-25]
  • A person who will be traveling on Purim and will not have access to a Megilah may read the Megilah before he leaves, starting from the eleventh day of Adar.

  • The poskim disagree about whether women, like men, should try to hear the Megilah in shul among a large group of people. Some say that it is not necessary, given the innate tzniyus of a woman.

  • Children who are the age of chinuch must listen to the Megilah. The age of chinuch varies according to the acumen of the child. Some poskim say that with respect to listening to the Megilah, a child is of age when he has the patience to listen to the entire Megilah.

  • Must a person read the Megilah on his own if he does not have a minyan?

  • From what age should children come to shul to hear the Megilah?

  • May anyone serve as the ba’al korei for the Megilah?
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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