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Megilah, 17

MEGILAH 16, 17, 18, and 19 (1st day of Sukos) sponsored by a generous grant from an anonymous donor. Kollel Iyun Hadaf is indebted to him for his encouragement and support and prays that Hashem will repay him in kind.


QUESTION: The Mishnah says if a person was reading the verses while writing a Megilas Esther, expounding it, or proof-reading it, then if he had Kavanah, he fulfilled his obligation. The Mishnah seems to be saying that one needs Kavanah in order to fulfill the Mitzvah. As such, we would expect the Gemara to use this Mishnah to challenge the opinion that says that Mitzvos do not need Kavanah, just like the Gemara challenges that opinion in Berachos (13a) and in Rosh Hashanah (28b) from the Mishnayos there that say the same thing, that "if one had Kavanah, he fulfilled his obligation," regarding the Mitzvos of Keri'as Shema and Teki'as Shofar. Why does the Gemara here not ask from this Mishnah on the opinion that says Mitzvos require Kavanah?


(a) The RAN says that the Gemara here does not ask this question because the answer is inherent in the Mishnah. The Mishnah discusses someone who was reading the verses of the Megilah while writing a Megilah, expounding it, or *proof-reading* it. Proof-reading means that he is not reading the words properly, but rather he is reading them just to make sure they are spelled correctly. Even if Mitzvos do not require Kavanah, one does not fulfill his obligation of Megilah by reading it in such a manner, as the Gemara says in Berachos (ibid.). Since the Mishnah includes the case of reading the verses of the Megilah while proof-reading along with reading the verses while writing or expounding the Megilah, it may be inferred that even while writing and expounding the Megilah, the person was only reading it as if he was proof-reading. Since he was not pronouncing the words properly, he does not fulfill the Mitzvah "until he has Kavanah" -- that is, until he has intention to pronounce the words properly (but not that he needs intention to fulfill the Mitzvah).

This is the same answer that the Gemara in Berachos gives. When the Mishnah there says that one needs Kavanah in order to fulfill the Mitzvah, the Gemara explains that it means that he was reading it only to check the spelling and therefore he needs Kavanah to read it properly. But he does not need specific intent to fulfill the Mitzvah.

(b) The TUREI EVEN rejects the Ran's answer, because the case of "proof- reading" in our Mishnah is an entirely different case than the cases of "writing" and "expounding" the Megilah. In those cases, the person was already reading the Megilah properly, and yet the Mishnah still says that he must have Kavanah in order to fulfill the Mitzvah! Why does the Gemara not ask from those cases on the opinion that says Mitzvos do not require Kavanah?

The Turei Even suggests that perhaps the Mitzvah of Megilah is different than the Mitzvos of Shema and Shofar and all other Mitzvos. When it comes to the Mitzvah of reading the Megilah, everyone agrees that one must have Kavanah, even the opinion that holds that normally, Mitzvos do not need Kavanah. (The reason for this is perhaps because of the special requirement of Pirsumei Nisa involved with the reading of the Megilah.) This explanation is also given by the MAGID MISHNAH (Hilchos Megilah 2:5; see also Lechem Mishnah there who challenges it).

We might add that when the Turei Even says that everyone agrees that the Mitzvah of Megilah needs Kavanah, perhaps he does not mean that one must have Kavanah to *fulfill the Mitzvah*, but rather that it is necessary to have Kavanah to verbally pronounce the words (because of Pirsumei Nisa), and they may not be pronounced inadvertently.

The Turei Even cites proof for this approach from the Gemara in Rosh Hashanah (28b). The Gemara there cites a Beraisa which states that if a person was passing behind a synagogue on Rosh Hashanah and he heard the Shofar being blown, or on Purim and he heard the Megilah being read, "if he had Kavanah, then he fulfilled the Mitzvah." The Gemara says that we see from this Beraisa that Mitzvos do require Kavanah. The Gemara rejects that proof and says that the Beraisa means that he has to have Kavanah that he is hearing a Shofar (but not that he has to have Kavanah to fulfill the Mitzvah), because "maybe he thinks it is the voice of a donkey" and not a Shofar.

The Gemara there does not address the statement of the same Beraisa, which says that when passing by a synagogue that is reading the *Megilah*, one has to have Kavanah in order to fulfill the Mitzvah. In that case, the Beraisa cannot mean to say that he has to know it is the Megilah being read and not a donkey making noise, because the reading of the Megilah in no way resembles the braying of a donkey! It must be that everyone agrees that one must have Kavanah when reading Megilah, and the Gemara's discussion there was only whether one needs Kavanah for other Mitzvos such as Shofar.


QUESTION: The Gemara explains the order of the blessings of Shemoneh Esreh. The Gemara explains that the blessing for Selichah ("S'lach Lanu") is the sixth Berachah, because of the verse (Yeshayah 55:7) that says that Selichah (atonement) follows Teshuvah (repentance). The blessing for Ge'ulah is the seventh Berachah, because the final Ge'ulah will occur in the seventh year of a Shemitah cycle. The blessing for Refu'ah comes after Ge'ulah. Even though there is a verse (Tehilim 103:3) that says that Refu'ah immediately follows Selichah, the reason to place Ge'ulah as the seventh blessing overrides that verse.

The Gemara then asks why is Refu'ah the eighth Berachah. It answers that since Bris Milah is performed on the eighth day, therefore the blessing for Refu'ah (recovery from illness) was made as the eighth Berachah.

What was the Gemara's question? The Gemara earlier quoted a verse that said that Refu'ah immediately follows Selichah, and thus Refu'ah really should have been the seventh blessing, but there was another reason to insert Ge'ulah as the seventh (since the Ge'ulah will start in the seventh year of a Shemitah cycle). Consequently, Refu'ah is pushed off until the eighth Berachah. Why, then, does the Gemara need to search for another reason for why Refu'ah is the eighth Berachah?


(a) The MAHARSHA answers that we need an additional reason for why Refu'ah is the eighth Berachah, because even though we had a reason to make Ge'ulah the seventh Berachah, Refu'ah should still be mentioned immediately after Selichah as the seventh Berachah and override the consideration that the Ge'ulah will be in the seventh year! Hence, the Gemara is asking why does this reason (to put Ge'ulah as the seventh) override the reason to put Refu'ah as the seventh? The Gemara answers that there is an additional reason to make Refu'ah the eighth Berachah.

The TUREI EVEN adds that there is an additional reason why Refu'ah should be the seventh Berachah and Ge'ulah the eighth. The Gemara says that the Ge'ulah will only *start* in the seventh year, and it will continue into the following year, in which Mashiach ben David will come. That is why the Gemara asks why Refu'ah, instead of Ge'ulah, is the eighth Berachah, since we could satisfy both reasons by making Refu'ah the seventh Berachah and Ge'ulah the eighth!

(According to the explanation of the Maharsha and the Turei Even, the Gemara should not have asked "why is the Refu'ah the eighth Berachah," but rather why is it *not* the seventh Berachah.)

(b) The RITVA answers that since the verse that says Refu'ah follows Selichah is no longer usable, since there is a different source for making Ge'ulah the seventh Berachah, it no longer provides *any* indication for where the blessing of Refu'ah should go. Therefore, the Gemara must look for a new reason why it is the eighth Berachah.

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