21 Feb 2013

Megillah Tip

As the children prepare to don their festive costumes this week and the final touches are being made to the
Mishloach Manot packages, all of us are waiting with great anticipation for the reading of Megillat Esther. It is a
moment we look forward to all year long – when else do you get to make a lot of noise in shul – and it is a
While the story of the Megillah is replete with wisdom, insight, nuance, and has so much to learn from, I would
like to focus on the Mitzvah of Megillah reading itself. There are lessons to be learned from the actual form and
structure of the Megillah reading.
1. Law: One must listen to every single syllable of every word in order to fulfill the Mitzvah of Megillah. This
means that a person could attend Megillah readings all of his / her life and G-d forbid never fulfill the Mitzvah.
* Lesson* To succeed one must be a good listener – to really hear what another is saying – to sometimes hear
the word that are not being said by paying such good attention to what is being said.
2. Law: When the name “Haman” is called out, we yell, stomp and boo to demonstrate our hatred of Haman and
Amalek; and our wish to erase Haman and Amalek from the world.
*Lesson* To understand that there is real evil in the world that needs to be addressed. Left alone, Haman
would have achieved the dream of all our enemies – to wipe us off the map. We must address evil spiritually
by asking Hashem in heaven for assistance and physically by waging war against evil here in our world.
3. Law: It is a special Mitzvah to listen to the Megillah in a large congregational setting to publicize the miracles
of Purim as much as possible.
*Lesson* Over the years it has been attempted by many well meaning Jews to be creative and orchestrate
different types of readings and styles of readings in an attempt to make it more enjoyable and personally
meaningful. The Talmud and our code of law directs us otherwise. The best way to fulfill this Mitzvah like all
others is the way it was commanded to us – “Berov Am Hadrat Melech” – “The larger the crowd the more
splendor for our King”.