Halachos For Purim, By Rabbi Moshe Rotberg

purim_2010_tls[PDF For Download] In this column we will be detailing some of the halachos as they pertain to Purim. Please be advised that there are many halachos and some are quite complex. As usual these are not intended as final halachik ruling. If you are unsure of how to proceed in any situation, please contact a competent Rov.  

Getting Drunk

The Shulchan Aruch writes that it is a mitzvah to drink alcohol on Purim. The Rema explains that all this means is that one is required to drink more then he normally would (for some that can be a cup) and then go to sleep. He writes that by this he is fulfilling the mitzvah of ad d’lo yoda. The Gr”a brings from the  Kol Bo that writes that this obviously does not mean that one should get intoxicated since it leads to serious aveiros. In Halichos Shlomo it is documented how Rav Shlomo Zalman Aurebach zt”l would be extremely bothered by the extreme drunkenness he witnessed. He hung up signs regarding this issue in his Yeshivah and set up a board of people to ensure that the bochurim in Yeshivah would not become drunk. He writes that one is prohibited to become drunk and then act out of character. In addition he writes that a bochur can’t get drunk if it’s an issue of kibud av. Rav Shmuel Kaminetzky shlit”a also maintains that excessive drunkenness is not allowed. The first night there is a requirement to have a minimal increase in celebration, some would wash for that seudah, but there is no chiyuv of ad d’lo yoda.

 It is better to drink wine (since the nes happened via a party with wine) to fulfill the aforementioned requirement and according to some (See R’dvaz  Vol. 1; 462) this may be meakev . Although bidieved one can be rely on those opinions that one can be yotze by drinking liquor as well (Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l Shmuos Moshe).

Does M’shloach Manos Need to be Sent with a Shliach 

The Mishnah Berurah (695; 18) brings that which the Binyan Tzion ponders whether or not in order to be yotze m’shloach manos one needs to send it with a shliach.  This is based on the fact that it says in the Megillah u’mishloach manos which appears that it needs to be sent with an emissary (since that shows chashivus).  However it does appear that he himself was of the opinion that if one delivered it by himself that he is yotze, since he ends his response by saying only that it is “preferable” to have sent with a shliach. The Steipler (Orchhos Rabainu Vol. 3) and many others were not noheg to give the mishloach manos  via a shliach.

Women and M’shloach Manos 

Women should give m’shloach manos as well. If the husband gives out the m’shloach manos he should let her know that he is giving it for her.

Taking Challah From Mishloach Manos

A woman who is making challos to distribute for mishloach manos and she will thus not have in her possession a remaining shiur challah, faces a question which has already been discussed by the Poskim of the previous generation with regard to taking off challah. The source of the question is since the halacha is that one who makes a dough with the intention to split it up to amounts lesser than the required shiur challah there is no chiyuv to take off challah even prior to splitting it up. When one is splitting the dough into many challos which each one is less than the required shiur challah which they are keeping for themselves; according to many they can still make a b’racha since they will be keeping it. However, where one is giving it out to others this is what the halacha refers to when is says that “splitting it up to give to others is exempt from challah”. Rav Shlomo Zalman zt”l writes that in this case she should take off challah without a b’racha

 In order not to get involved with this question the woman can do as follows. She can put all the challos in one container, or wrap them all together with a towel etc. and then there would still be a chiyuv challah (Minchas Shlomo Vol. 1; 68).

Rav Tzvi Pesach Frank zt”l (M’kra’ai Kodesh) is of the opinion that there is no chiyuv challah. According to him there is no need (and possibly one shouldn’t) to put them in one vessel and then possibly be obligated in challah. (I heard in the name of Rav Shmuel Kaminetsky Shlit”a that even in the aforementioned case one is required in challah, however this should first be verified.)

Tevilas Kailim

It has become more common for people to deliver mishloach manos in a vessel. Many times these vessels are required to be tovel. Many people write that they were tovel the kailim already. This at times may be problematic. The Taz (Y.D. 120; 11) writes that if it is not a kli seudah for the person who was tovel it the tevilah was not effective. For the person giving the dish it is not a kli seudah thus it is not a good tevillah. If the person is zoche in the kli for the recipient prior to giving it (zachin l’odom shelo b’fonov) then the tevilla would be good.

Matanos L’evyonim

Rav Shlomo Zalman zt”l writes that a check can be used for matanos l’evyonim even if it is postdated and even if the banks are closed that day.

Krias Megillah

Krias Megillah is different than all other krios of the year (with exception of Zachor). One is required to hear each and every word of the megillah. In addition the Mishnah Berurah (Shulchan Aruch O.C. 690; 14, 48) writes, that if the one reading or the one listening missed even one word then he was not yotze the mitzvah. The Magen Avrohom does write that if he heard the megilla but did concentrate then he is yotze. However the L’vushai S’rad writes that this means that he did not have in mind the pirush hamilim however, if he was thinking about something else during the kriah then he is not yotze.

Therefore many suggest that each person should read along quietly with the baal koreh or look along with a Kosher Megillah since then this is not a problem. 

An Ashkenazi Using a S’fardi Ha’vaarah and Vice Versa

In Tshuvos V’hanhagos (Ibid 401) he brings that from Rav Chaim zt”l that there is a difference between Krias HaTorah and Krias Megillah. Based on it he concludes that with regards to megillah which is primarily p’rsumai nisa one does not have to be as careful with the different haavaros.

Shehechiyanu on Mishloach Manos Etc,

              The Mishnah Berurah (692; 1) writes that when hearing the b’racha of shehechiyanu on the megilla one should also have in mind for the mitzvah of mishloach manos and seudas Purim. Others (including the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 141;12) add matanos l’evyonim.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Reading in the Order it Was Written

The megillah has to be read in the order it was written. Therefore if someone missed part of the megillah he should not continue to listen to where the Baal Koreh reads and then upon the commencement read the beginning since this is not considered k’sidran ( O.C. 690; 6). The Mishnah Berurah in the Biur Halacha adds that if after he made a b’racha he began reading from the middle (or even if he started from the second Possuk) he needs to go back and make the b’rachos again since this is considered a hefsek.  (See Emek B’racha as he takes issue with this ruling).

Stopping in the Middle for an Emergency or Other Reasons

One is not supposed to make a hefsek once the b’rachos were made until the baal koreh finished the laining and the b’racha was made (Mishnah Berurah Ibid 20) following the megillah. However, if there was an emergency and he needed to speak out it depends on the following. If the person listening was mafsik and missed even one word according to many he would have to begin the megillah from the beginning (See Mishnah Berurah 690; 19). However if he did not miss anything since the Baal Koreh also stopped reading then even if the hefsek was long enough to finish the whole megillah he would not have to go back to lain the megillah. He would then be allowed to continue from where he left off. The reason for this is based on the Mechaber (65) which writes that only by teffilah is there a halacha of having to go back where one made a hefsek.

The Mishnah Berurah (See Biur Halacha Ibid) does write that where there was an ones then it is considered a hefsek and he needs to go back to the place where he was mafsik. However with regards to an emergency that occurs in the middle of laining this may not be the case for two reasons. A. The only time this is the case is where the lapse in time was as long as it would have taken to finish the rest of the megillah. B. The only time one needs to go back to the beginning of the megillah is where the ones was as a result of the person not being fit to daven or the place he was at was not acceptable (i.e. tzoeh or ervah etc). However where the ones  was as a result of a dangerous animal or a thief then one would not have to start from the beginning again.  

A case in point, if someone fainted in middle of laining and the baal koreh stopped laining even if it took a while for Hatzolah to come, and even if people spoke out in middle he can still continue from where they left off. If someone needed to tell a child to go out or to be quite and he didn’t miss any words (i.e. between p’rakim or he read it himself afterwards) then he does not have to go back to the beginning.

(Rabbi Felder Shlit”a in his kuntrus brings a question with regards to if one spoke put but still managed to concentrate on the kriah. Based on Rav Chaim Kanievsky’s response it would appear that certainly men should not rely on this as a reason not to go back. Obviously he can always read it himself from a Chumash as we will explain.)

Making a B’racha

If someone forgot to make a b’racha on the Megillah or he walked in to Shul after the b’racha was already made then he should make the b’racha on his own. The MIshnah Bereurah (Ibid 6) writes that if they started reading the megillah already then he should make the b’rachos in between the p’rakim. However the N’har Shalom (692; 1) points out that even in the middle of megillah one can make this b’racha since the halacha is that when is allowed to interrupt the megillah for the sake of the megillah reading. The b’rachos certainly constitute this.

Someone Who Missed Some Words

If someone missed a few words in the middle of the megillah he can read it himself even from a Chumash so long as he read (or heard) at least half of the megillah from a Kosher Megillah. However there are some exceptions according to some opinions. If one did not hear the beginning or the end of the megillah from a Kosher megillah or if he missed an entire segment of the story from a Kosher megillah then he was not yotze (See O.C. 690; 3 with regards to a sofer who missed words). Therefore it is always best to look in with someone who has a Kosher megillah.

 Standing by the B’rachos, Inviting the Baal Koreh

There are certain halachos which were stated for the sake of kavod hatzibbur. If the baal koreh is not the designated baal koreh he should be asked by a Shul representative to lain. In addition, although the halacha is that one does not have to stand during the laining of the megillah and only during the b’rachos the baal koreh should stand (See Magan Avrohom Ibid).

Folding the Megillah

As we know there is a custom for the baal koreh to fold the megillah like an igeres during the kriah. This halacha does not apply to the individual listening to the baal koreh. Upon commencement of the megillah laining one does not make the final b’racha until the megillah is rolled up normally, out of respect for the megillah.

Banging by Haman

The Mechaber (690;17) writes that the minhag to bang by Haman  should not be stopped and that it is an ancient minhag. The Mishnah Berurah brings that the Yaavetz said that his father the Chacham Tzvi would bang his feet by the mention of Haman in the Megillah. Although the Pri M’gadim does write that due to the commotion it is not a worthwhile minhag the Mishnah B’rurah concludes that the person should simply be careful to read along in the Chumash and that the Baal Koreh should read it again as well.

Hearing the Megillah over a Telephone, Hearing Aids

If someone is in a hospital or in a place where he can not hear the megillah there is a question if he can hear it over the phone. Rav Shlomo Zalman zt”l (Minchas Shlomo Vol. 1; 9) writes that this is not an acceptable option. However he brings from the Chazon Ish that it is possible that it is acceptable. Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l (Ig”m O.C. Vol 2 108) and Rav Tzvi Pesach Frank (M’kraai Kodesh) also write that it is possible that it is considered kol haodom and thus he is yotze. He explains that it is different than by Shofar where the halacha is that kol achar m’urav bo is not good. However as per halacha l’maaseh one needs to ask a Rov since many are of the opinion that this is not acceptable. If someone with hearing aids can hear without them from close proximity of the baal koreh it is better that he does so. [This week’s Lakewood Shopper].

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  1. Excellent article. I would like to request that as you did with Chanuka, writing up some of the basic halachos and the proper times that everything should be done would be very helpful to people like me that are newer to religious life.
    Thanks a lot for a great site.

  2. I would like to thank tls for once again posting another tremendous article by harav moshe rotberg. I find his coloumns to be well wrtten, researched and informative. I am a close talmid of his and he is a true role model. I think we can all learn from him and especially his torah. I am looking forward for many such articles from tls!

  3. Thanks R’ Moshe. The completeness of your coverage is similar to that exhibited in your recent book Emergencies in Halacha, which I believe is a must read for every shomer shabbos.

  4. Thank you very much for a well written article. I just wanted to point out something. In the sad reality that we live in,l we have many people who don’t live by halacha. But, I believe that their exists something far worse, and thaat is people who change the Torah to fit thier goals. We have the Reform who dont keep much, and worse, we have the Conservative who decide which laws to keep and which to make “outdated”. In the same vein we have people like that “kashrus organization” thats sole purpose is to make sure that people keep to what they believe is moral. Such people not only do not keep the laws of the Torah, but “define” the Torah as a “changing reality” that is dependant on the times.
    Now, I am not at all comparing one to the other (and pleas don’t acuse me of such), but it still bothers me just as well. What I’m talking about is people who take one side of halacha because it agrees with thier “ideals” and “beliefs”. Why is it that people scream, rant, and rave about people drunk on purim? In halacha it is stated as a chiyuv according to many if not most authorities. Why is it that the Torah laws have to fit what this person believes to be correct?
    The reason why I bring this up now is because of what is written in this article. Why are only the halachik authorities who say not to get drunk brou7ght down? Why aren’t all the other Halachik authorities quoted? What about the halachik authorities who learn that the Chiyuv is “untill one falls asleap from drunkedness” or untill “one is lying on the floor like dead”?
    Again, thank you very much for an (otherwise) great article.

  5. The Rama doesn’t say that הגה וייא דא״צ להשסנר כ״נ אצא ישהה יומרhe brings a yesh omrim and ends off that as long as you do it lisheim shumayim its ghood מלימודו(כצ גו)
    (ב) (ה) וישן וממוך שישן אינו יודע 5ץ ארור סמן למיון מ מ ט ״ (מםרי״ל) ואמז־ המרבה ואמו
    הממעימ ובצבל שיכוין צבו צשמים

  6. Kudos TLS great article keep these coming. R Rotberg never said it is forbidden to get plastered he brings the Rema the Gra and leading Poskim. He never stated that there is no one who argues. In addition there are those that suggest that if there is no chiyuv to get drunk then it is not allowed to just get wasted to oblivion for no good reason.

  7. Look at the Kol Bo and the Halichos Shlomo on Purim. What is written is certainly correct. Are there other opinions sure. But these opinions of mainstream Achronim are not as known so I’m glad he brought them (I get sick when I drink…..so I’m happy.

    I agree to your point about agendizing halacha. If he would have wrote that it is forbidden to get drunk I would agree. The Poskim are refering to the sloppy slobbering drunks who talk not nice things and lashon hora and therefore maintain that excessive drinking is not the intent.

  8. wow what a great article….thank you to tls for printing R’ Moshe Rotbergs column. I find these articles to be very informative and practical. Maybe TLS can have these articles printed on a regular basis ie weekly or even daily? A true freilichin purim to the entire lakewood community!

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