Sunday, February 11, 2007


The Gemora learns that one must cease from learning Torah in order to go and hear the Megillah.

The Beis Efraim asked the son of the Noda B’Yehuda as to why this would be considered bitul Torah. Isn’t the reading of the Megillah also considered learning? The Beis Efraim maintains that one who reads the Megillah or listens to it will not be fulfilling a mitzva of studying Torah. The Avnei Neizer (O”C 517) disagrees with him vehemently to such an extent that he writes: “I do not believe that those words came out of the mouth from such a righteous person as the Beis Efraim.”

Reb Chaim Voloziner talks at great length that there is a concept of neglecting to study Torah in depth and not only time. According to this, the Gemora can be explained to mean that even though reading the Megillah is considered learning, nonetheless it would be regarded as bitul Torah since he is not delving into the depths of Torah; if not for the special halacha that one is obligated to close the Gemora and hear the Megillah.

The Beis Efraim himself speculates that perhaps one cannot fulfill the Mitzva of learning Torah through the reading of the Megillah because it is part of Tefillah. This is based on the viewpoint of the Beis Yosef, who rules regarding one who had forgotten to recite birchas hatorah in the morning. The blessing of Ahava Rabbah can be utilized as a birchas hatorah, providing that he learns immediately after Shemoneh Esrei. The recital of Krias Shema will not be sufficient because that is part of Tefillah. Perhaps, the same logic can be used for the reading of the Megillah.

The Chochmas Shlomo answers that according to those that rule that one needs intent in order for him to discharge his obligation; it is impossible to have in mind for two mitzvos when he is only performing one action.