Chacham Ovadiah: Women Can Lain Megillah if Men Aren’t Available

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rav-ovadiah-yosefChacham Ovadia Yosef says that a woman can lain Megilla Esther on Purim if no man is available.

Traditionally, a man lains Megillas Esther in a minyan of at least 10 men, but women as well as men are required to hear every word of the Megillah because all of Klal Yisroel – men and women – were saved from destruction. In the lashon haGemara, “Af hein haya be’oso haneis.

What happens if there is no man who is knowledgeable enough to read the Megillah? Can a woman do so?

Women are not called to the Torah during krias haTorah mainly out of reasons of modesty. For the same reason, men and women sit separately in shuls, but women have no obligation to hear the Torah or to daven with a minyan.

However, Rav Yosef ruled this week, in discussing the halachos of krias hamegillah, “If there are no men who know how to read in a minyan, and [perhaps] they are farmers, and if there is a girl who has learned in our institutions and knows how to read Megillat Esther properly, the woman is allowed to read for everyone if there is no other choice.

She should also say all three brachos that are recited before the kriah.

“Prepare your girls,” Rav Yosef added, “to be ‘chazaniyot.‘”

{Yair Israel based on a report in Arutz Sheva}


  1. Rav Ovadyah Yosef is a great Gadol Hador, but am I wrong in saying that he paskens only for Sefardim? So I ask: do the Ashkenazi Rabbonim also hold that we Ashkenazim may have women lein the Megillah?

  2. “Women are not called to the Torah during krias haTorah mainly out of reasons of modesty.”

    Something went missing here in the translation. It says in Shulchan Aruch that women aren’t not given an aliyah because of “Kavod HaTzibbur”. If it would be a reason of modesty then the words “Kavod HaTzibbur” wouldn’t have to be said. Rather the correct understanding is is that not’s not “Kavod HaTzibbur” for a woman to receive an aliyah in place of a man because her chayiv is “lesser” than a mans chayiv in this inyun.

  3. #4, you are correct that this is mainly according to the Mechaber. However, being that the Rema is only machmir as a “yesh omrim” a rav might be meikal if there was absolutrely no man who could read.

  4. The fuss is there is a feminist trend to have women only readings, by womem, and there are some ashkenazi poskim that would appear to disallow this. The reason being that a woman’s chiyyuv is to hear the reading,and that were she to make the bracha, it would be ‘lishmoa mikra megillah.” But the mimkra must be of one who is chayav in mikra, ie, a man.

  5. what shaichus to feminis its a gmoro it s been written in yalkut yossef for more than 20 years to #7 he used modesty as an interpretation for kovod hatzibur look up yalkut yossef hilchos megilla and chanuka


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