On Purim, is it permitted to read an English translation while listening to the Megillah reading?

I know it is a mitzvah to listen to every word of the Megillah reading. However, I don't understand Hebrew, so even if I listen, I barely understand anything.

If I "listen" (I hear the words being said) but at the same time I am reading an English translation, so as to actually understand the Megillah, is this permitted?

  • 1
    Even those who speak Hebrew well don't understand it all fwiw.
    – Double AA
    Feb 19, 2021 at 19:11
  • Some of the answers seem to be assuming that you mean, reading it out loud. Probably not a good idea. But if you mean, following with your eyes during the reading, keeping up, I think it's a great idea and often do it myself.
    – MichoelR
    Feb 21, 2021 at 13:41

2 Answers 2


On Purim, is it permitted to read an English translation while listening to the Megillah read in Hebrew?

  • Yes. - If the reader of the English translation is silent while listening to the Megillah read in Hebrew by a minyan (heard in person, not over microphone or telephone). [https://www.halachipedia.com/index.php?title=Reading_the_Megillah]

Understanding המגילה is the reward, while listening to המגילה simply fulfills the obligation.

Hilkhot Megillah 2:3

"A foreigner who heard the Megillah written in the Hebrew language and the Hebrew alphabet--even though he doesn't know what they are saying, he fulfills his obligation." ( הלועז ששמע את המגילה הכתובה בלשון הקודש, ובכתב הקודש--אף על פי שאינו יודע מה הן אומרין, יצא ידי חובתו )

This responsum from Rabbi Meir Ben Zion Hai Uziel, Sephardic Chief Rabbi when Israel was founded, concludes as follows:

A man who does not know Hebrew who hears the megillah read in Hebrew to others who speak Hebrew fulfills his obligation; but if the megillah is read just to him, we must read it to him in the vernacular and not in Hebrew.

A fortiori, this implies it's OK for him to read the English while he hears the Hebrew.

  • 1
    He must read his vernacular out of a kosher scroll though.
    – Double AA
    Feb 19, 2021 at 19:29
  • Your link says explicitly "Unlike a Torah scroll, Jewish law permits a megillah to be written in translation."
    – Double AA
    Feb 21, 2021 at 14:13
  • What, then, is a "kosher" scroll? Feb 21, 2021 at 17:08
  • Processed animal hide, black ink, line scoring, sinew sewing, Jewish scribe, dominant hand, writing not etching, etc.
    – Double AA
    Mar 2, 2021 at 14:13
  • bl.uk/manuscripts/Viewer.aspx?ref=or_6287_fs001r Megillah written in spanish (h/t magicker72)
    – Double AA
    Mar 10, 2021 at 14:05

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