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Ask the rabbi Shabbat and Holidays Halachot of Purim

Blessing over paper Megillah reading

Rabbi David SperlingAdar 13, 5781
18
Question
Shalom, I live almost 5 hours drive away from the nearest shul, and will not be able to drive there this Purim. I had bought a paper scroll to read for my family and myself, but today in an online shiur found the mitzvah is only kosher through reading from a Megillah written on parchment. Since I only have the paper one I figured it is best to do my best, but do I still make the official Megillah blessing before it? Or since it is not a mitzvah officially, best to read it without the blessing? (it is in the original Hebrew)
Answer
Shalom, Thank you for your question. You are correct that the mitzvah of reading the megillah is from a kosher scroll. One cannot say the blessings unless the reading is a kosher reading from a kosher scroll. May I suggest that you try to see if someone in the shule could place a phone near the reader, and then your family listen via a live feed (I stress only a live feed is valid – listening to a previously recorded reading is invalid). According to some opinions listening to a live broadcast of the reading is kosher (and though others object, when you have no other option, you should try at least to rely on this minority opinion). Then, of course, you would hear the blessings from the reader in shule. If this is not possible, then you should read the megillah from your printer version, without the blessings before or after the megillah. Purim Semach!
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