The issue with making a breakaway minyan for Megillah reading

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  1. Question: [Thursday, 9th Adar, 5783]

I don’t like going to the main minyan in Shul for the Megillah reading as there are too many people there and it is very noisy, and they also take a long time until they finish. I and a number of like-minded congregants would therefore like to make another Minyan. I have a kosher Megillah and know how to read it without issue, and I think it’s also an opportunity for me to be able to be a  Baal Korei for this most cherished mitzvah. The Shliach, however, who runs the community Minyan and is the acting pulpit rabbi of our Shul [but is not a Posek] was not fond of the idea but said he understands our reasons, and therefore he said we should speak to a Posek to receive a Halachic ruling as to whether this is allowed or should be done.



Assuming that the noise does not affect the validity of the reading, then it is not Halachically recommended or encouraged for you to make a separate breakaway minyan, despite the annoyances that you face in the community minyan, as it is a great mitzvah and initial requirement for everyone in the community to join together in the main shul to hear Megillah, and not for people to separate into separate Minyanim.


Explanation: Although one fulfills his obligation of Megillah reading even if he reads it in private, and certainly for reads it with a Minyan in a different location than the local synagogue, nonetheless, this form of fulfillment of the mitzvah contains a deficiency. You see, all mitzvah’s are initially to be performed in their most elegant and beautiful manner, and hence whenever one has an opportunity to perform a mitzvah with the community or do so by himself, then he is to do so with the community as Berov Am Hadras Melech. The same applies regarding Megillah reading, in which the Poskim explicitly rule that it is a Mitzvah Min Hamuvchar for the Megillah to be read in the presence of many people, as Berov Am Hadras Melech. Furthermore, the Poskim rule that even when a Minyan is available in one’s home, and even if this Minyan contains one hundred people, nevertheless one is to join the reading of the congregation in Shul rather than read it in a separate location. This applies even if this will cause the house Minyan to stop learning Torah in order to join the Shul Minyan. Accordingly, it is clear that your rabbi is correct in his apprehension of you making a breakaway minyan for the Megillah reading, as initially everyone in the community should join the main synagogue for the fulfillment of this mitzvah, and even if there is annoyance involved in having to join the main community minyan, nonetheless the greatness of joining the main community minyan overrides this annoyance, as it even overrides the Torah learning of a group of individuals, as brought above. Nonetheless, obviously all this only applies if you can hear every single word of the Megillah and fulfill your obligation with the community reading. If, however, due to the noise, such as extending noise by Haman and babies and children screaming and crying, or congregants talking, you will be prevented from hearing every single word of the Megillah, then since you do not fulfill your obligation in this manner, therefore even initially you are required to hear Megillah elsewhere.

Sources: See Michaber 687:1; M”A 687:2; 690:23 and 25, based on Ran Megillah 3a; Bach 690; Levush; Bach; So rules also: Chayeh Adam 154:7; M”B 687:7; 690:62; Biur Halacha 690 “Tzarich”; Kaf Hachaim 687:11-12; 690:114 -115

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