As discussed in this question about Skype Megilla reading, this year due to the extraordinary extenuating circumstances many people found it necessary or preferable to attend an online Megilla reading.

(I'm probably just fine, but even with a cheap mask I thought the pikuach nefesh of not coughing on all those bubbes and zaydies was a stronger factor, especially since there is documented community coronavirus transmission in my area; hearing someone coughing definitely makes many people afraid. Good effective masks are unavailable.)

In every shul I have ever been to, noisemakers are provided or brought to drown out the name of Haman as it is read. I've been taught that was part of the punishment for his evildoing, that his name be erased.

In the online reading I attended, the baal koreh muted all attendees, as otherwise the background noise would have made the session unpleasant. However, that left me with few options to avoid hearing that name. I drummed my fingers on the keyboard but that wasn't very loud, and the name came through quite intelligibly.

I thought about muting the reading for each occurrence, but that would have been tough to do and would have likely lost me some other words.

So, a few questions:

(1) Is there anything Halachically objectionable about a megilla reading where you can hear the name?

(2) Is there any minhag for online Megilla reading that would cover this?

(And please note that while I'd certainly enjoy reading some Purim Torah on the subject, this is a real question and I'm looking for a real answer.)

And note: the comments from before I edited the question seem to imply that the minhag I've been taught all my life, which has been followed in every shul I've ever been to in a dozen cities, is not only wrong, but so completely wrong that people didn't even understand the point of my question. I'm not sure how to rectify this.


1 Answer 1


The requirement of the megillah reading is to hear every word (Shulchan Aruch O"C 690:3), including Haman's name.

There is a minhag to make noise "as if" you're drowning out Haman's name (Ram"a O"C 690:17), but this is always done after saying Haman (Mishnah Berurah 690:60). Sometimes, when people get too into it and start making noise early, the person reading the megillah will say Haman again after they finish in order to make sure everyone heard it.

This minhag is not practiced by everyone, and some poskim disapprove. When I read the megillah, it's a little stressful sometimes to pinpoint the moment people started making noise and figure out if I have to repeat Haman.

Even in places that have the minhag, it's definitely not a requirement. The earliest readings, which cater to people who go to work, typically will do it just for the first and last times Haman's name appears, if they do it at all.

I've never seen a shul that actually drowns out Haman's name. If there's a place that does, you should really talk to the rabbi about it and/or go somewhere else. If you're stuck, note that while you have to hear the whole megillah, you only have to hear 50.001% of it from a kosher scroll. So you can just say "Haman" yourself (together with any prefixes להמן or words connected to it את-המן). Same goes for any other words you miss, like if you sneeze or something.


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