Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Af hein - megillah, Chanukah

The BaHa"G holds that although women are obligated to hear megillah, a woman cannot be motzi a man in reading.  Some Rishonim explain that men have a chiuv to read megillah but women are only obligated to listen to it being read. There are many explanations as to why this should be so (see post of March 2006) and many other alternative explanations of the BaHa"G's view.

Aruch haShulchan (689:5) suggests that the obligation of women which stems from af hein hayu b'oso ha'nes, meaning they (Esther) caused the miracle or were beneficiaries of the miracle, is a lesser obligation then the actual takanah to read megillah placed on men.  He then goes a step further and argues that the same is true on Chanukah: men are obligated to light menorah, but women, whose chiuyuv stems from af hein, are only obligated to see the menorah lights, but not to actually light.  

Interestingly, Aruch haShulchan himself (671:9) seems to indicate that both men and women light.


  1. אחדהקורא ואחד השומע מן הקורא יצא ידי חובתו והוא שישמע ממי שהוא חייב בקריאתה לפיכך אם היה הקורא חרש או קטן או שוטה השומע ממנו לא יצא וי"א שהנשים אינם מוציאות את האנשים: הגה וי"א אם האשה קוראה לעצמה מברכת לשמוע מגילה שאינה חייבת בקריאה [מרדכי פ"ק דמגילה]: this is 689;1

    This is 689 ;5
    מקום שאין מנין אם אחד יודע והאחרים אינם יודעין אחד פוטר את כולם ואם כולם יודעים כל אחד קורא לעצמו:
    where do you see your Gam Hein piece?

  2. You don't see it in the aruch haShulchan?
    Not shulchan aruch.

  3. Nice chakira:

    Is "af hen" a reason why Chazal chose not to exempt women from these time-bound mitzvos, and so they have the same chiyuv as everyone else?

    Or is it an independent, different -- and possibly lesser -- source of obligation in those mitzvos?

  4. See post of March 1 2006 I mention this chakirah of the brisket rav

  5. "a woman cannot be motzi a man"

    on the other hand, if a couple arrive in our day at the location of
    ancient Shushan, and the wife says 'baruch Atah* she'asah la'avoseinu nes ba'makom hazeh', and the husband answers 'amen', has she not motzied him?

    *without Shem u'Malchus?

    now if this pleasant couple had their 11-year-old son along, and that very night, Purim, he with next-to-no-resentment read the megillah, one could argue that he is first a child redeemed from Haman's decree [that he is, per the Hagahos Maimoni next post, "like a woman"], because unless children survive a menacing genocide, training for adulthood is futile...
    ...on the other hand, Hashem may view as more worthy of hidden salvation the children of a people who train their kids early in His ways

  6. בכלל קשה דערוך שלחן כתב זה לשיטת בה״ג וקשה דבה״ג כתב בפירוש בהל׳ חנוכה ואשה ודאי מדלקת