Megillah, Chapter 2, Mishnah 1

Megillah, Chapter Two, Mishnah One

 

Introduction

The Mishnah now begins to talk about how the Megillah is actually read.

 

Mishnah One

1)      If one reads the Megillah out of order, he has not fulfilled his obligation.

2)      If he reads it by heart, if he reads it in a translation [targum], or in any other language, he has not fulfilled his obligation.

3)      But they may read it to those who do not understand Hebrew in a language other than Hebrew. 

a)      One who doesn’t understand Hebrew who heard it in Assyrian [Hebrew], has fulfilled his obligation.

 

Explanation

Section one:  The Megillah must be read in order.  One cannot skip around and then go back.

Section two:  The Megillah must be read from a scroll.  Despite its brevity, it, like other Torah readings, may not be read by memory.

It also may not be read using a translation or in any other language, even if it is written in that language.  This section refers to a person who understands Hebrew. Such a person who hears in another language has not fulfilled his obligation.

Section three: In contrast, somebody who doesn’t understand Hebrew may fulfill his obligation by hearing the Megillah in a language other than Hebrew.  Nevertheless, if a person hears it in Hebrew he has fulfilled his obligation even if he doesn’t understand it.  In this aspect Hebrew is greater than the other languages—other languages need to be understood while Hebrew does not. 

Hebrew is referred to as “Assyrian” because it is written using the Assyrian alphabet.