Reading a megila motzai shabbos this year, we encountered a difficult question.
Perek 3 ended with the top of the next page being perek 9. The yerios were sewn out of order.
What is the din?
Do we start over and lain from another megila and say all three berachos again, continue from where we left off, or some other variation?
Is the din the same for all who were following in the tzibur with kosher megilos or do they have a different status?
Thanks as always for this opportunity.
This is an interesting question.
Chikrei Lev (Yoreh De’ah 122) mentions a similar question concerning a sefer torah whose yerios were sewed out of order, and writes that this is a matter of doubt. The same question would presumably apply to a megillah. There is room to question his assertion however, which is based (among other matters) on the principle of ein mukdam u’meuchar ba’torah–for this principle applies to two inyanim, and not to one inyan (this question is pointed out by Shevet Hakehasi, vol. 2, p. 74). It would therefore seem more likely that the megillah is invalid, and those hearing from the megillah did not fulfill the obligation. However, one of the possibilities raised by Chikrei Lev is that the sefer torah is invalid because it is considered chaser, and in this case the megillah would be kosher, because the pesul of chaser does not apply to a megillah, provided the majority is properly written.
There is therefore room to doubt the status of those who heard the megillah. The correct thing to do would probably be to start reading again from a kosher megillah, without a berachah.
Those reading along from a kosher megillah will have fulfilled the mitzvah, but only if they read out loud (at least the majority of the megillah).