Megillah Reading

Reading the Megillah is one of the mitzvot, or primary observances, associated with Purim. The Megillat Esther, or Book of Esther, tells the story of Purim. The Megillah is read in a synagogue or other communal setting, and there are a number of practices associated with the reading that add to the fun and drama of the occasion. Some verses are read with great attention to performance, some ask the reader to recite in a single breathe, some require the congregation to repeat after the reader. Upon every mention of the evil Haman, the congregation makes enough noise to “erase his name.” In some congregations, people cheer and wave flags for the heroines Vashti and Esther. All kinds of silliness accompanies the reading, enhancing the celebration and inviting participation from everyone in attendance.