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Occasionally people hold additional megillah readings in someone's home on Purim.

Assuming there's no prayers other than the megillah reading and its associated brachas, must/should there be a mechitza between the men and women for the reading? If not, should they still sit in separate places, or does it not matter?

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According to Rav Moshe Feinstein no mehitzah is required for even davening (as long as the men and women are separated) in a gathering that is not open to the public.

In the case of Megillah reading it will depend on whether it is a family affair or it is open to the public.

(If anyone has a problem with the volume that I quoted from, it fits with what Rav Moshe writes in his other volumes. It is just more concise and to the point.)

  • Hm. So if I'm reading Rav Moshe correctly: for davening at a private event, no mechitza is required but they should sit separately, "for better concentration." As far as mixed seating at a parsha class, "it is discouraged, but I'm not getting into that now." So R' Moshe would recommend separate (non-mechitza) seating for megilla reading, no worse than a parsha class. Would he absolutely require it? – Shalom Feb 15 '11 at 16:50
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    Shalom, it is possible that he would require a mehitzah anyway since there is an inyan of tzibbur being a ma'aleh for it. I would ask a she'ailah on this one. – Yahu Feb 15 '11 at 19:25
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    Two questions, actually. A.) As you're indicating, is Megillah reading more analogous to davening at a shiva house, or attending a parsha class? B.) In the davening case, R' Moshe didn't indicate whether completely-mixed seating would be a deal-breaker if the women insisted on sitting in the middle of the men. I don't know how he'd hold there. But this is great background, thanks! – Shalom Feb 15 '11 at 20:55
  • Shalom, those are precisely the reasons why I wrote that a she'ailah should be asked on this one. I was only raising the possibility le'humrah, but that would not be an hora'ah, would it?:-) – Yahu Feb 16 '11 at 4:58
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If it is all close family members then sitting separate should suffice.

  • Source, please? Or is the "should" meant to indicate that this is a guess? – msh210 Feb 14 '11 at 20:40
  • Korban Pesach in the Bais HaMikdash – Gershon Gold Feb 14 '11 at 23:31
  • Where do you find that women were generally present during the offering of the Korban Pesach anyway? Generally only one representative from each group would be there. – Alex Feb 15 '11 at 0:00
  • the families ate together without a Mechitza. – Gershon Gold Feb 15 '11 at 1:11
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    Same way as today we have a Seder (or for that matter, any meal) together. Still doesn't prove anything about Megillah reading. – Alex Feb 15 '11 at 3:27

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