I have been asked about the laws of Megillah reading, every year (yes, I guess that happens when you’re the one who reads it!), and I wanted to point out a few less-known Halachot for the general public:
It is an obligation upon both men and women to hear the Megillah twice over Purim – once at night and once again during the day.
We have followed the ruling of the Rashba, that if one misses hearing even one letter from the Reader, he has not fulfilled his obligation.
Bringing children to the Megillah reading who cannot remain silent, is not only prohibited, but one who does is better off not hearing Megillah.
Making noise after hearing the name of Haman, is a custom that should be stopped, as the greatest of our Rabbi’s have already ruled. It is preferable to pray in a Minyan which does not act in the above manner.
I have been asked many times: “What if I miss a word or two, and don’t have a Kosher Megillah of my own to read from?”
If one misses a few words from the mouth of the Reader, he can still fulfill his obligation by reading the missing phrase from the booklet in front of him, as long as the majority is heard from the Reader. A Kosher Megillah is NOT needed!
I know the above laws may sound a bit strict, or even new to some – but they are the Halachah, and I felt I could aid the public by publicizing it.
Have a happy and fun Purim!