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QUESTION OF THE MONTH:
Is it really true that EVERY Jewish Woman (even a Mother!) needs to come to Shul to hear Parshas Zachor?

ANSWER by Rabbi Moshe Rock:

The Torah commands us to remember what Amalek did to us (i.e. attacked us out of baseless hatred) when we left Egypt. This Mitzva is counted as one of the 613 Mitzvos of the Torah. The Gemara explains that one must verbalize this remembering of Amalek. It is not sufficient to remember it in one’s heart.

The way the Mitzva is performed is by reading “Parhat Zachor”, the three P’sukim at the end of Parshat Ki Teitsei, which contain this commandment and which describe Amalek’s evil deeds. This special reading is performed on the Shabbat before Purim (to make a connection between the deeds of Amalek and those of Haman, a descendant of Amalek), by reading the Parsha as the Haftora from a second Sefer Torah.

There are authorities who exempt women from this Mitzva even though it is a non-time-bound Mitzva (the obligation to read Parshat Zachor on the Shabbat before Purim is not an intrinsic part of the MItzva, which can actually be performed at other times as well), since it is related to another Mitzva – the destruction of Amalek – which women are exempt from, since women are not obligated to go to war.

Others disagree, claiming that there isn’t necessarily a connection between the two Mitzvot, and even if there were a connection, women are in fact commanded to participate in a “Milchemet Mitzva”, an obligatory war mandated by the Torah.

Even those who exempt women from this Mitzva would agree that a woman who does make the effort to hear Parshat Zachor receives reward for it. Some add that a woman who cannot hear the Parsha read in shul, should at least read it to herself from a Chumash, or to intend to ful?ll the Mitzva by hearing the Torah reading Purim morning right before the reading of the Megilla.

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