THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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MEGILAH 16, 17, 18, and 19 (1st day of Sukos) sponsored by a generous grant from an anonymous donor. Kollel Iyun Hadaf is indebted to him for his encouragement and support and prays that Hashem will repay him in kind.
1) HALACHAH: GOING OUT OF TOWN FOR PURIM
OPINIONS: The Mishnah states that if Purim arrives and a person who lives in
an unwalled city is in a walled city, or if a person who lives in a walled
city is in an unwalled city, "if he plans to return to his place" then he
reads like his place, and if he does not plan to return to his place, then
he reads on the day on which his host city reads.
2) HOW TO SEW THE PARCHMENT OF A MEGILAH
The Gemara explains that this means that if a person from a walled city is
going to stay in an unwalled city throughout the night of the fourteenth,
then even though he comes from a walled city, he reads the Megilah on the
fourteenth with his host city. If he leaves before the end of the night
(before daybreak), then he reads on the day that his hometown reads, on the
Does this also apply to a person from an *unwalled* city who is in a walled
city on the night of the fourteenth? Does it depend on where he is the night
of the *fourteenth*, or the night of the *fifteenth*? If he comes from a
walled city and he spends the night of the fourteenth in an unwalled city,
and on the night of the fifteenth he is back in his hometown, when does he
read the Megilah?
(a) RASHI says that each case depends on a different date: being in an
unwalled city on the night of the fourteenth determines whether he must read
on the fourteenth, while being in a walled city on the night of the
fifteenth determines whether he must read on the fifteenth. Indeed,
according to Rashi, it could happen that one would have to read on *both*
days, such as in a case where one was in an unwalled city throughout the
night of the fourteenth, and then he went to a walled city and was there
throughout the night of the fifteenth. In such a case, he would be obligated
to read on both days.
HALACHAH: The MISHNAH BERURAH cites Rashi's opinion, that for a resident of
an unwalled city who travels to a walled city, it depends on where he plans
to be during the night of the fourteenth, and for a resident of a walled
city who travels to an unwalled city, it depends on where he plans to be
during the night of the fifteenth. The Mishnah Berurah (Bi'ur Halachah) adds
that one should not depend on this when it comes to reciting a Berachah, but
one should ask a competent rabbinical authority.
(b) The ROSH says that both days depend on where the person is on the night
of the fourteenth. If he is in an unwalled city on the night of the
fourteenth, then even though he comes from a walled city, by virtue of being
in an unwalled city he not only gains the obligation to read on the
fourteenth, but he loses the obligation to read on the fifteenth -- even if
he returns to his city before the night of the fifteenth. If he is in a
walled city on the night of the fourteenth, he loses the obligation to read
on the fourteenth and becomes obligated to read the next day, on the
The RIF adds an important point. It does not depend on whether the person
actually stays in the city on the night of the fourteenth (or fifteenth
according to Rashi). Rather, it depends on what the person *intended* to do.
If he intended to leave the host city before daybreak, he does not become
obligated to read the Megilah with that city, even if he ends up staying in
the city. (The TAZ adds that this detail is only true l'Kula, as a leniency.
That is, if one intended to leave the city before daybreak but ended up
staying, he does not have to read the Megilah with that city. However, if
one intended to *stay* in the city past daybreak but he ended up leaving
during the night, his initial intention does not obligate him to read on the
day that his host city reads. Rather, he reads with his hometown.)
According to the RAN, when the Rif says that it depends on where the person
*intended* to be, that means that it depends on what the person's intentions
were at the *beginning of the night* of the fourteenth. Even if he arrived
in the host city several months earlier and intended to stay throughout the
night of the fourteenth, but then when the night of the fourteenth arrived
he decided to leave before daybreak, he does not read the Megilah on the day
of that city.
What is the Halachah if one arrived in the host city after nightfall? The
MISHNAH BERURAH (688:12) writes that the day that he reads is determined by
where he intended to be at daybreak of the 14th (or 15th) when he *set out*
for the city. He does not read the Megilah on the day of the host city if,
at the time that he embarked for that city, he intended to leave before
daybreak of the fourteenth, but he does read with the city if he intended to
stay there past daybreak when he embarked.
OPINIONS: The Gemara explains that the Megilah is called a "Sefer" (Esther
9:32) to teach that the parchment may not be sewn with threads of flax
(Pishtan), but only with threads of sinew (Gidin), just like a Sefer Torah.
On the other hand, it is called an "Igeres" (Esther 9:26, 29) to teach that
we may be lenient and sew it with "three threads of Gidin."
What is this leniency? What are we permitted to do with a Megilah which we
are not permitted to do with a Sefer Torah?
(a) Most Rishonim (RA'AVAN and others) explain that the Gemara is still
referring to sewing with Pishtan. Even though the Gemara said that the
Megilah may not be sewn completely with Pishtan because it is called a
"Sefer," nevertheless if a few threads of Gidin are used, then even if there
are only three threads of Gidin, the rest may be sewn up with Pishtan. The
HAGAHOS MAIMONI adds that it is preferable to sew up the rest with Pishtan
than to leave the rest without any thread, even though if it were sewn
entirely with Pishtan it would be Pasul. When it comes to Hashlamah, or
filling up something that is missing, the Gemara rules that even something
that is Pasul may be used to fill up something that is missing (Sukah 17a).
This is also the opinion of the RAMBAM (Hilchos Megilah 2:5) according to
our Girsa of the Rambam.
(b) The ME'IRI quotes the Rambam as saying that if the Megilah is sewn with
three threads of Gidin, then it is valid even if the rest of the width of
the parchment is *not sewn at all*. When sewing a Sefer Torah, the entire
width parchment must be sewn with Gidin. When sewing a Megilah, it suffices
to sew only three stitches, and the rest may be left unsewn. Accordingly,
sewing the rest with threads of Pishtan might be *worse* than leaving it
The Me'iri's Girsa of the Rambam was apparently like the Girsa of the old
Kisvei Yad, which read "Eino Tzarich li'Tfor" (i.e. the rest does not have
to be sewn up at all) and not "Eino Tzarich li'Tfor *b'Gidin*" (implying
that it should, however, be sewn up with Pishtan).
2) THE AGE OF "CHINUCH" FOR A CHILD
QUESTION: The Gemara says that according to Rebbi Yehudah, a Katan that has
reached the age of Chinuch is able to exempt others by reading the Megilah
for them. RASHI says that this age is nine or ten years old (nine for a more
advanced child, ten for an average child). Similarly, Rashi says elsewhere
(Erchin 2b) that the age of Chinuch for the Mitzvah of blowing the Shofar on
Rosh Hashanah is nine or ten years old.
Why does Rashi give this age as the age for Chinuch for the Mitzvos of
Megilah and Shofar? The Gemara in Yoma (82a), which Rashi himself quotes as
his source, gives this age specifically with regard to training the child to
fast on Yom Kipur! Why does Rashi extend this age to include these other
Furthermore, the Gemara in Sukah (42a) gives various different ages for the
different Mitzvos of Lulav, Tzitzis, Tefilin, and Keri'as Shema! It depends
on the particular requirements of that Mitzvah and the child's aptitude to
fulfill those requirements. Hence, the same should apply to the Mitzvah of
reading the Megilah, and the age of Chinuch should be whenever the child is
able to understand the Megilah! Why does Rashi say that the age is nine or
ten? What does that age have to do with reading the Megilah (TUREI EVEN) or
with blowing the Shofar (TOSFOS, Erchin 2b, DH sh'Higia)?
(a) The MEI'RI in Chagigah (2a) writes that the primary age of Chinuch is
nine or ten years old, like the Gemara says with regard to fasting on Yom
Kipur. The other ages that are given for Chinuch are only for Mitzvos which
are very easy to do, and thus a child even younger than nine or ten is
obligated to do it. There is no obligation of Chinuch to do more difficult
Mitzvos until he is nine or ten.
The Me'iri may have learned that the Mitzvah of reading the Megilah is more
difficult than other Mitzvos (since an entire Megilah must be read from a
parchment), and that is why Rashi says that the age of Chinuch does not
begin until nine or ten. Similarly, the Mitzvah of Teki'as Shofar is
something that is difficult for a child to do (since it is hard to learn how
to blow the Shofar), and therefore we give him the older age for his
obligation in Chinuch for that Mitzvah. (Even though the Mitzvah is to
*hear* the Shofar and not specifically to blow it, and to *hear* the Megilah
and not specifically to read it, nevertheless it is logical to say that if
the child cannot do the Mitzvah for himself if no one else is available,
then the Rabanan would not obligate him in Chinuch for the Mitzvah.)
(b) Perhaps there might be a difference between a Mitzvah than involves an
act and one which is passive. When the Mitzvah involves an act, the Chinuch
for that Mitzvah is when the child can do that act. When the Mitzvah
involves being passive and does not depend on doing an act, then the Chinuch
for that Mitzvah is when the child has reached the intellectual maturity
that he *understands* what he is experiencing. That is, the Chinuch of a
passive experience is when the child is able to appreciate that experience.
For example, a child of any age is able, in theory, to fast for just one
hour, but since the child does not appreciate the meaningfulness of the
experience, there is no obligation of Chinuch. That is why the age for
Chinuch of passive Mitzvos is nine or ten years old, which is when he can
understand why he is not eating. Similarly, hearing the Shofar and listening
to the Megilah are passive acts which depend on a person's intellectual
maturity to be able to appreciate the experience. For this reason, Rashi
says that the Chinuch for these Mitzvos begins when the child is nine or ten
years old, like the age of Chinuch for fasting on Yom Kipur. (M. Kornfeld --
see Insights to Erchin 2:3)