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1583 – The 4 Parshiyos – Parshas Zachor 1

D'var Halacha
D'var Halacha
1583 - The 4 Parshiyos - Parshas Zachor 1

We are continuing with the halachos of the four parshiyos, and today we will discuss Parshas Zachor.


The chiyuv was established that Parshas Zachor should be read on the Shabbos immediately preceding Purim, because Klal Yisroel were successful in eliminating some of Amalek through the Purim story. Therefore, the zechira (remembering) is placed adjacent to the asiyah (the action; i.e., a time at which this concept was brought to fruition). It should be lained from a Sefer Torah, and the simple implication of the Gemara is that laining it from a Sefer Torah is required midoraisa. Although there are some rishonim who disagree, certainly miderabbanon we are required to lain it from a Sefer Torah. 


Regarding someone who cannot make it to shul to hear the laining, the Shulchan Aruch already writes that people who live in outlying villages where there is not a minyan, and therefore do not have kriyas hatorah on a general basis, have a chiyuv to come into the city for Parshas Zachor. Thus, if possible, a person is chayav to travel in order to hear Parshas Zachor. However, if it is not possible, one should read it from a chumash, and rely on the opinions which hold that the Sefer Torah is not meakeiv midoraisa. Alternatively, one can have in mind to fulfill their obligation when the pesukim are lained as part of their regular parsha, Parshas Ki Seitzei which falls out in Elul.


We mentioned that Chazal established that Parshas Zachor should be lained once per year. If so, maybe one cannot wait until the following Elul. The Sefer Hachinuch does not require that one perform the zechira once a year on a deoraysa level, but holds it is a takana of Chazal. Therefore, according to the Chinuh, one could wait. However, the Maharam Shik quotes from the Chasam Sofer that the zechira of destroying Amalek should be remembered once per year. He bases it on the Gemara which says that a meis is nishkach min haleiv (the brunt of the pain eases) after a year. However, since it is not clear whether this shiur is meakeiv, one would read it immediately from a chumash, and one can also rely on the laining in Ki Seitzei. 


In order to fulfill one’s chiyuv zechira through the laining in Ki Seitzei, both the lainer and listener have to have in mind to be yotzei the mitzvah.


Most poskim hold that women have a chiyuv to hear Parshas Zachor. However, the Sefer Hachinuch holds that women do not have a chiyuv. One explanation as to why they do not have a chiyuv is that even though remembering Amalek is not a mitzvas asei shehazman grama, the purpose of the zechira (remembering) is mechiya, to eradicate Amalek. If the mitzvah to eradicate Amalek does not apply to women, they do not have a chiyuv in the zechira. 

It should be noted that not everyone agrees that women do not have a chiyuv to participate in the eradication of Amalek, as some hold that they have a level of chiyuv in any milchemes mitzvah (a war sanctioned by a mitzvah, such as conquering Eretz Yisroel). However, according to the understanding of the Chinuch, women are not chayav to hear the laining. Nonetheless, a woman should try to hear Parshas Zachor in shul, since many rishonim hold that they are chayav; if they are unable to make it to shul, they can lain it from a chumash.

If a woman can make it to shul for parshas Ki Seitzei, they can be yotzei through that laining as well. 


The Magen Avraham suggests that one can fulfill their chiyuv through the torah reading of Purim morning, which is the story of Klal Yisroel fighting Amalek as brought down in Parshas Beshalach. However, many poskim disagree with the Magen Avraham, as the purpose of reading zachor is the command to remember, and in Parshas Beshalach there is no command to remember. In Parshas Zachor, it says to remember and destroy Amalek, but in Parshas Beshalach, it only says the story and that Hashem will destroy Amalek. 


Can we take out a Sefer Torah specially to lain for women? If one holds women are chayav in Parshas Zachor, and that part of the chiyuv deoraysa is to hear it from a Sefer Torah, we would certainly do so. However, since these points are debatable, and we do not take a Sefer Torah out for no purpose, Rav Moshe suggests that it is more appropriate to lain Zachor a second time by Shabbos Mincha, when the Sefer Torah is anyways being taken out. Parshas Zachor falls out on Parshas Tetzaveh in a regular (non-leap) year, so the laining on Shabbos Mincha is in Ki Sisa, in Sefer Shemos. They should lain Ki Sisa, and then roll to Devarim for Zachor, and in that way avoid taking out the Sefer Torah an additional time.

Many poskim disagree, and hold that the Sefer Torah can be taken out uniquely for women to hear Parshas Zachor, and it appears to have become the standard practice of yeshiva communities. 



  • There is a chiyuv to try one’s hardest to hear Parshas Zachor from a Sefer Torah on the Shabbos before Purim.
    • If one is unable to make it, they should lain the pesukim from a chumash.
    • If one is unable to make it, they may be able to fulfill their chiyuv by hearing the pesukim when they are lained in parshas Ki Seitzei.
    • According to the Magen Avraham, one can fulfill their chiyuv by hearing the laining of Purim morning, but other poskim disagree.
  • Most poskim hold that women are chayav to hear Parshas Zachor as well. The common minhag is to even take out a Sefer Torah just to lain for them.

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