29 Jun ORDER OF OPERATIONS REGARDING MEGILAH
In Bamidbar 25:18 the Torah tells us that the first day is “Mikra Kodesh.” The Rosh learns from this posuk that one has to hear krias HaTorah Min HaTorah. There are five opinions on Krias HaTorah. Opinion number one, according to Rashi, is whenever we read in the Torah, it is a DeOraysa. Opinion number two is Tosfos, who says it is a takana of Ezra so it is a DeRabbonon with the exception of Zachor, Bikkurim, Viduy Maaser and Chalitzah. Opinion number three is the Tosfos HaRosh who adds Parshas Parah to the above list stating that it is a DeOraysa. Opinion number four is the Tosfos Yeshanim who adds Shekalim and HaChodesh to be read miDeOraysa. The fifth opinion is the Ritva, in Megillah 17, that states only the kriah of Shabbos and Yom Tov is a DeOraysa. The kriah of Shabbos during Mincha, the kriah on Monday and Thursday, or a taanis or Rosh Chodesh are only DeRabbonon.
The order of the kriah comes into question in the following manner. Why do we read the Megilla first, before krias HaTorah when we read Rus, Shir Hashirim and Koheles? This is despite the fact that krias HTorah comes more often. On Purim we read the Torah first and then the Megillah, which would be consistent with the rule of tadir and she’eino tadir, then tadir goes first.
Reb Yitzchok Zilbershtein, in the name of his father-in-law Reb Y. S. Elyashiv, answers that the reason we read the three above mentioned Megillahs before krias HaTorah is that if we would read it after krias HaTorah, people might think that there are two Haftorahs that week and make the brachos of Haftorah twice. Therefore, it was established that we read it before krias HaTorah so people would see the distinction that the Megillah reading is not the haftorah. On Purim, where we don’t read a haftorah, we read it after krias HaTorah.
The Sfas Emes in Megillah 21b says that we have a rule that Krias HaTorah is never less than ten pesukim. On Purim, where we only read nine pesukim and we consider the Megilah as a hashloma – completion of the kriah, we can understand why we read the Megilah after krias HaTorah.
The Shailos Utshuvos Teshuvos Vehanhagos Vol I 323 explains it differently. On Purim we have a chiyuv to read the Megillah, therefore the rule of tadir ushe’eino tadir goes into effect and we need to read from the Torah first, since it comes more often. Afterward we read the Megillah. Regarding the other three megillahs, where there is no chiyuv min hadin to read them, but rather it is a minhag to do so, the rules of tadir ushe’eino tadir do not apply since the two mitzvos in question do not have the same chiyuv. The reason we read the megillahs first is because it takes place on Yom Tov and we know that on Yom Tov we wake up later. We read the Megillah first to make sure that those who came late should not miss krias haTorah, since those who wake up late don’t really care about the Megillah but would really have a chiyuv for krias haTorah. This is also one of the reasons they were mesaken the tekiyos on Rosh Hashana during mussaf and not during Shacharis, so that those who come late and miss Shacharis should not lose out on the tekiyos.
On this topic there is a Shailos Utshuvos Noda BiYehuda Vol I Orach Chaim 41 that discusses if a person did not do Kiddush Levana and it is Purim at night, what he should do first. Should he read the megillah or do Kiddush Levana which comes more often? He says that the rule of tadir only applies regarding two similar mitzvos where they are not DeOraysa or both DeRabbonon. In our scenario, Kiddush Levana is a DeRabbonon, whereas Megilah is a mitzvah midivrei kabala from the neviim, perhaps Megillah should come first. Conversely, since ultimately, they are both DeRabbonon, should Kiddush Levana come first?
The Noda BiYehuda says that since the reading of the Megilah is be’ikar only during the day and at night it is just a preview (as the posuk says yamim are nizkarim venassim), we see the ikar mitzvah is during the day. Therefore, Kiddush Levana should take precedence. LeHalacha, he paskens that Kiddush Levana comes first because it occurs more often, and one may be at risk of losing the mitzvah since Purim is late in the month and by the time he finishes reading the Megillah the moon may be gone. Reading the the megilah is relevant for the entire night, therefore Kiddush Levana should be done first.
May we all be zocheh to do everything in the right order.