Wednesday, March 05, 2014

chinuch for mikra megillah

When I told my wife the GR”A mentioned in yesterday’s post, that “zichram lo yasuf m’zar’am” refers specifically to mikra megillah, she remarked that practically this makes sense because we all bring our children to shul to hear megillah.  This minhag is actually brought by the Tur and S.A. (end of siman 689).  It seems the S.A. is not talking about the normal din of chinuch, as why would that deserve special mention more than by any other mitzvah?  Also, the Achronim warn not to bring too young children, as they disturb everyone, which implies that the age children we are talking about is not the same as the normal chinuch age. 

The gemara (Meg 4) tells us that even women are obligated in mikra megillah because “af hein hayu b’oso ha’nes.”  The Yerushalmi (quoted in the Hagahos Maimoni, Hil Megillah perek 1) goes a step further and applies the same sevara to ketanim as well.  (Parenthetically, you see from this Yerushalmi that “af hein” applies to those who were in danger and saved, not only to women because Esther caused the miracle, as some Rishonim learn.)  R’ Baruch Mordechai Ezrachi asks: why do we need to come on to the din of “af hein” to obligate children in mikra megillah?  We have a din of chinuch in kol hatorah kulah!?

You can read Rav Ezrachi’s answer here.  Maybe the Yerushalmi is not talking about a din of chinuch at all.  This is the same Yerushalmi that is the source for the din in S.A. above which deals with little kids.  Perhaps there is some kind of unique din here that obligates all to hear megillah. 

Whatever the lomdus and however you explain it, there is undeniably some kind of special connection between Purim and children.  The L. Rebbe discusses how so many of the minhagim of the day – banging for Haman, dressing up, etc. – are an attraction for children in particular.  Chazal tell us that Mordechai countered Haman’s decree by gathering thousands of children and learning with them and it was in that zechus that the nes happened.  Limud haTorah by Jewish children is a powerful, powerful force. 


  1. Harav Ezrachi is a wonderful man. He even speaks in Kfar Chabad, which takes courage and seichel. Having any kind of seichel at all in Eretz Yisrael takes courage. The distinction between a talmid chacham with seichel and without is highlighted in this week's parsha, where the Medrash begins with תלמיד חכם שאין בו דעת נבילה טובה הימנו.

    1. So what's pshat in the mashal? Sefas Emes: An animal has skin, bones, flesh, etc. and a neveilah has all of that too -- superficially, they are exactly the same. What the neveilah lacks is a neshoma, a pnimiyus. A talmid chacham w/o da'as looks exactly the same on the outside as one with da'as. The difference is that he's missing what should be inside. My 2 cents: It's only people who are looking at the inside who the difference even matters to.

      Why are we talking about this?

    2. "Mordechai countered Haman’s decree by gathering thousands of children and learning with them and it was in that zechus that the nes happened". If so, what you wrote earlier parenthetically is not muchach. The Yerushalmi doesn't have to hold like Tosfos (Megilla 4a); he can still hold like the Rashbam that "af hen" means the nes happenned becasue of Esther!