Video: Chacham Ovadiah: Bemakom Tzorech a Women May Read Megillas Esther

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chacham-ovadiah-yosef[Audio below.] Chacham Ovadiah Yosef, in his weekly Motzoei Shabbos shiur, has issued a ruling that if there are no competent men available to lain Megillas Esther, a women may do so, even for men. The p’sak has been greeted with some controversy, as many hold  that women may not read on behalf of men even in such a circumstance. In his shiur, Chacham Ovadiah discussed hilchos megillah and said that it is not preferable for a women to read, but in a situation in which it is necessary, not only may women read Megillas Esther in front of men, but the men will thereby have fulfilled their chiyuv to hear the megillah read.

To listen and watch Chacham Ovadiah’s shiur, click here.

“It is mutar for a woman to fulfill this chiyuv on behalf of men,” he said, because the chiyuv to hear the megillah falls equally on men and women.  Chacham Ovadiah said that most poskim forbid women from reading the megillah on the grounds that men are forbidden to listen to women sing. However, he said, he does not agree that a woman chanting text like the megillah is the kind of singing that’s assur. Chacham Ovadiah said that women should not read for men if there are men capable of doing the kriah themselves. But in a “small community” where there are no men capable of reading the megillah properly, it is mutar to bring a woman to read, he paskened.

Chacham Ovadiah also said, according to one report, that women may write a kosher Megillas Esther. He reportedly said that ancient megillahs written by women have been found in Yemen, and it would be permissible for women to do so today as well, “to earn a living for their household,” since women “were part of the neis” that the megillah describes. However, he admitted, it is an open question “whether anyone would buy it.”

In both cases, Chacham Ovadiah’s pesokim were specific to Megillas Esther and do not necessarily apply to other sifrei Tanach.

{Yair Israel}


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