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Purim- Is The Megilah Considered Muktze On Shabbat

The question was asked in Halacha regarding Megilat Esther. At times, Purim falls out on Motzae Shabbat. Is it Muktze to move a Megilah on Shabbat? Is Megilat Esther Muktze or not?

Actually this subject was discussed amongst the Acharonim. The opinion of the Eliyahu Raba and the Mishna Berura, is that Megilat Esther is considered Kitve Kodesh (holy writing), and therefore it is not Muktze on Shabbat. So technically, if someone wants to take out his Megilah and read from it or study from it, it would be like another Sefer that you want to study from. Books are not Muktze on Shabbat. Sifre Kodesh specifically, are not Muktze.

The Peri Chadash has an interesting opinion here. The Peri Chadash’s opinion is that if the fifteenth of Adar falls out on Shabbat, then on that specific Shabbat the Megilah is indeed Muktze. Because on that specific Shabbat, the Gemara made a Gezara (decree) that we do not read the Megilah on that Shabbat even though it is Purim. It was because they were concerned that you might come to carry it. And therefore he says when the fifteenth of Adar comes out on Shabbat, then it would be Muktze. Hacham Ovadia also agrees to this opinion in his Halichot Olam.

However, in a case where the thirteenth of Adar is on Shabbat, the fourteenth is on Sunday. They never made a Gezara on the thirteenth of Adar that falls out on Shabbat that you might come to carry a Megilah. And therefore the Halacha, it is permissible to read from Megilat Esther on Shabbat and is not Muktze, unless the 15th of Adar falls on Shabbat.

However, the question would be how is a person supposed to transport his Megilah to the synagogue, when in a place without an Eruv? It is carrying, which is 100% forbidden. It is forbidden to carry a Megilah on Shabbat in the public domain.

So we learn that there are 2 options. Number one is to bring it before Shabbat to the synagogue and put it in a safe keeping place and then take it out on Motzae Shabbat. Or number two, on Motzae Shabbat after he finishes Havdala, he can run home, get his Megilah, come back and bring it.

But the Chidush here is about a place where there is an Eruv. The question is would it be permissible on Shabbat afternoon to carry Megilat Esther to Synagogue in an area that has an Eruv? According to the Halacha, it would be forbidden. Why? Because it is considered preparing for Motzae Shabbat. You would be doing something on Shabbat for after Shabbat. That would be considered Hachana. So therefore even in a place where there is an Eruv, it would be forbidden to transport your Megilah to the synagogue because you are preparing for its usage on Motzae Shabbat. Technically there is a way to get around that problem if you bring it to the synagogue and learn from it and read from it a little on Shabbat itself. So now you are using it on Shabbat itself for its purpose, in order to study from it and to read a little from it. Then it would be permissible in such a case.

So let’s review the Halachot. The 1st Halacha, Megilat Esther is not Muktze on any of the Shabbatot of the year, specifically when Erev Purim comes out on Shabbat. The Megilah itself is not Muktze. However, it is forbidden to transport the Megilah in a place where there is no Eruv. And therefore one should bring it either before Shabbat to the synagogue or after. In a place where there is an Eruv, it would be forbidden to bring it to synagogue if the sole purpose is for after Shabbat, as that would be considered Hachana. But reading from the Megilah itself on Shabbat after transporting it negates the exclusive use as only for Motzae Shabbat, and thus carrying on Shabbat in an area with Eruv would be considered permissible.