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QUESTION

New York, NY

I said berakhot and started leining megillah, for a small group of people, when one minute in, a few people show up. are any of the following workable solutions, for how they can be yotzei?

  • Restart from the beginning of the Megillah. If so, the new arrivals would say the berakhot, before we restart?
  • Pause, and have them read to themselves the first minute of the megillah, from their chumash, until they catch up. Here too, would they make sure to say the berakhot before doing that?

ANSWER

Either of those would work. Given that whichever solution you adopt, the rest of the people are going to wait anyway, it would be better to adopt the first approach and for you to read, as that will be faster and more accurate, and much less of a burden (and much less a sense that they are being observed) for those who walked in.

It is an interesting question of what to do if it is a large tzibur, or you are further along, or that the tzibbur are very insistent that you have to not stop, how to balance that against the needs of those who came in. This is a larger discussion of טירחא דציבורא versus the needs of the yechidim, and also about educating towards tolerance and values. The general practice, I should note, is that when there is a large ציבור, to not go back or wait, but just to continue reading. Your interest in waiting or going back reflects a profound sensitivity to those latecomers, but if there is a large ציבור, that needs to be given significant weight as well.

As to berakhot – they can definitely make the berakhot for themselves. I do not think that you can make the berakhah. You would not make a berakhah again if 5 more people walked in after you said the berakhah before you started. You don’t say a berakhah because more people are now going to be yotzei. So you also wouldn’t say it because you are reading a few pesukim to catch them up. You are not doing a distinct keriah for them.