Eighteen Treatises from the Mishna, by D. A. Sola and M. J. Raphall, , at sacred-texts.com
§ 1. Any one who reads the Meguillah in an irregular manner, does not acquit himself of his obligation; nor in case he reads it by heart, or translated in any language he does not understand; but it is lawful to read it to those who understand foreign languages, 1 in that foreign language. One who speaks a foreign language, who has it read to him in Hebrew, will be released from his obligation.
§ 2. Should any person read it so as to make long pauses between the parts, and slumber meanwhile, he will be released from his obligation. If any one should read the Meguillah whilst writing, expounding, or correcting it, with intention of thereby becoming released from his obligation, he will have fulfilled it, but not if he had no such intention. If the Meguillah was written with paint, ruddle, gum, vitriol black, on papyrus, or on rough vellum, the obligation is not properly fulfilled; but it must be written in Hebrew characters, on good parchment, and with ink.
§ 3. If an inhabitant of an [open] town 2 had gone to an [anciently] walled town, 3 or one of [an anciently] walled town had gone to an [open] town; if he intend to return [when the Meguillah is read] to his place, he shall read it at the same time they read it in his place; if not, he shall read it with the inhabitants of the place in which he then is. From whence is it necessary to have commenced the reading of the Meguillah, so as to have duly fulfilled the obligation? R. Meir saith, "It is obligatory to read the whole." R. Jehudah says, "It suffices if he commenced איש יהודי (Esther ii. 5)." R. José saith, "[Even if] from אחר הדברים האלה (Esther iii)."
§ 4. All are qualified to read the Meguillah, with the exception of a deaf or a foolish person, or a minor; but R. Jehudah allows it to be said by a minor. The following religious acts may not be done before sun-rise on the day on which they are obligatory, viz.:—To read the Meguillah, to circumcise, to bathe [on the seventh day of the purification of an unclean or defiled person], to sprinkle [the unclean as a purification]; nor may a woman [who had experienced her menses beyond the usual time, and who was to] wait a day [before she might bathe] 4 do so before the sun-rise of that day. But if any of these acts have been done at any period after day-break, they are valid.
§ 5. The following religious acts may be done during the whole of the day [on which they are obligatory], viz.:—The reading of the Meguillah; of the Hallel; the sounding of the cornet; the use of the loolab, or palm-branch; the prayer at the additional offering; the additional offering; the confession of sin on sacrificing the bulls; 5 the confession to be made on bringing the [second] tithe; the confession of sin by the high priest on the day of atonement; the imposition of hands [on a sacrifice]; the slaughtering of a sacrifice; the waving of the offering; the bringing it to the altar; the taking of the handful of flour (Lev. ii. 2); the burning with incense of the fat of a sacrifice on the altar; the pinching or wringing off the head of fowls brought as sacrifices (Lev. i. 15); the receiving of the blood of a sacrifice; the sprinkling thereof on the altar; the giving the bitter waters to drink to a woman suspected of adultery; the striking off of the heifer's neck (Deut. xxi. 4); and the purification of a leprous person.
§ 6. The following acts may be done during the whole of the night: the cutting of the sheaves for the "omer," and the burning with incense of the fat and members of a burnt-offering on the altar (Lev. vi. 9). This is the rule:—Whatever is commanded to be done by day, may legally be done during the whole of the day; and whatever is commanded to be done by night, it is lawful to do during the whole of the night.
184:1 By "foreign" languages, all languages not Hebrew are to be here understood.
184:2 Who read on the 14th of Adar.
184:3 Who read on the 15th. For the legal meaning of open and of anciently walled towns, see our 3rd note, page 180.
185:4 This is explained in Treatise Niddah.
185:5 See Leviticus iv. 3, &c. and 13, &c.