May one eat before the obligatory reading/hearing of Megillas Esther? Does a year where Purim comes out on Motzei Shabbos make a difference?


3 Answers 3


Qiẓur Shulḥan 'Arukh - Yalqut Yosef (Oraḥ Ḥayim 692:13-14) states (my translation):

אסור לאכול קודם קריאת המגילה, ואין חילוק בזה בין קריאת המגילה של לילה לקריאת המגילה של יום [סי' תרצב ס''ד ומשנ''ב שם]... ומכל מקום מותר לטעום פירות קודם קריאתה, וכן פחות מכביצה פת או עוגה, ולשתות תה או קפה. והמחמיר שלא לטעום כלום תבוא עליו ברכה...

It is forbidden to eat before reading Megillat Esther, both by night and by day ([Shulḥan 'Arukh] Siman 692:4 and Mishnah Berurah there) [...]. Nevertheless, it is permitted to eat some fruits before the reading, so too less than a kabe'iẓah of bread or cake or to drink tea or coffee. And one who is stringent, so as not even to taste anything, will be blessed.

ומכל מקום אם הוא לצורך ... אין צריך להחמיר, ורשאי לטעום פחות מכביצה פת או עוגה, או יטעם פירות הרבה, כפי עיקר הדין. ואם ביקש מאחד שיזכירהו לקריאת המגילה בצבור מותר באכילה.

Nevertheless, if there is sufficient cause, there is no need to be stringent and one is permitted to eat less than a kabe'iẓah of bread or cake or even to eat many fruits as per 'Iqar HaDin [i.e. baseline Halakhah]. And, if one asked someone to remind him to attend the public reading of Megillat Esther, one is permitted to eat.


Orach Chaim 692:4 Rama does not differentiate between a regular year and a year that the Megila is read on Motzei Shabbos. Either way Rama says it is Asur to eat prior to hearing the Megila.

הלכות מגילה סימן תרצ"ב סעיף ד'‏

  • 2
    However, see Mishna B'rura :14 and :16.
    – msh210
    Mar 21, 2011 at 21:31
  • ??? He seems to be specifically addressing a non Saturday night situation! Consider the next page where no one prohibits Havdallah before Megillah on food intake grounds.
    – Double AA
    Mar 23, 2014 at 21:47

From the Halachically speaking column in the Jewish Press Website:

One should not eat or drink before hearing the megillah by night; however, if he can not concentrate without having a coffee it is permitted. The reason is since it is for the need of the megillah it is not considered a disgrace to the megillah.


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