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The Berachos vs. Minyan for Megilla Reading: A Question of Priorities

Adapted from a shiur by Rav Chaim Weg for Parshas Vayikra

Someone came to shul late on Purim and missed the berachos of the Megilla before the reading. His safek was: Is it better to hear Megilla b’rov am (in a large group) without berachos, or read it alone with berachos? So he made a tnai:

  • If it’s better b’rov am, then he is yotzei with the keria now.
  • If it’s better with berachos, he will be yotzei later by reading himself.

He then asked a “gaon echad,” who agreed with the safek, and said it is a safek if he is yotzei with the first reading, so he should read again without berachos.

  • Kuntres Yemei Purim, who brings this story, asks: What is the safek? Berachos is a chiyuv, while rov am is a hidur, since you can be yotzei alone. 
  • Possible answer based upon the Brisker Rav: Megilla is based fundamentally upon pirsumei nisa and b’rov am, so maybe it’s more important.


  • Megilla 3: We are mevatel talmud Torah for Megilla.
    • Ritva: Although Megilla itself is talmud torah, we are mevatel talmud Torah even to read it b’tzibbur. This is because the yesod of Megilla is pirsumei nisa.
  • Megilla 5: Machlokes if Megilla can be read alone.
    • Rashi: Issue is whether pirsumei nisa requires ten or whether it’s achieved by each person reading individually.
    • We see that pirsumei nisa (which is the basis for b’rov am) is key to the mitzvah.
    • Tosafos: Even a yachid makes a beracha. The chiddush is that although pirsumei nisa is crucial, we still recite a beracha here.
  • This all demonstrates that b’rov am and pirsumei nisa are the basis for Kerias Megilla, and hence the basis for the safek above of which is better: The beracha may be required, but b’rov am is the basis of Kerias Megilla.

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