Tractate Megillah: Synopsis of Subjects
MISHNAS I. and II. The Megilla is to be read from the eleventh till the fifteenth of Adar. How so? Which cities are considered walled since the time of Joshua b. Nun. By whom was made the Targum on the Pentateuch and by whom that of the Prophets. What the Heavenly voice said then and how the ground of Palestine trembled. Who were the men who were with Daniel [Daniel, x. 7]? Who are obliged to hear the reading of the Megilla? Which has the preference, the study of the Law or the reading of the Megilla? Are women obliged to hear the Megilla read? What must be considered a large town? What Rabbi used to do on Purim, the seventeenth of Tamuz, and how he has abolished the fast on the ninth of Ab. The explanation of the passage Zechar. ix. 7, and also the explanation of the passage Ps. cxl. 9. Also what is to be inferred from Habakkuk, i. 13,
MISHNA III. When the Megilla was read in the first Adar and after wards the year was declared intercalary. The request that Esther sent to the sages. The Book of Esther was dictated by the Holy Spirit. Whence is this deduced? The obligation of sending portions to friends and to give charity to the poor, In what characters and language the Megilla must be written? When is the festival meal on Purim to be eaten?
MISHNAS IV. and V. Enumerate the difference of a number of things between one another, among them the difference of the Greek language and others, and why it has preference over all others except Hebrew. The tradition of the men of the Great Assembly about the passages beginning with the word "Vahi" (and it came to pass). What a bride who is chaste in the house of her husband's parents deserves. The enumeration of the passages with which the different Amoraim began their lectures on the Book of Esther. The analysis of the name "Ahasuerus," and what the different sages had to say about it. He was a self-made king. Is it to his credit or to his discredit? The three kings that reigned over the whole world. Why was Cyrus called the anointed of God? Why does the Bible sometimes name Persia before Media and sometimes vice versa? By what sins did the Israelites incur the decree of Haman in that age? Who was Memuchan? Why was Mordecai called Benjamite and Judean? The interpretation of the names mentioned in the Chronicles without any explanation. Why did Esther not reveal her nationality? The reward for the modesty of Rachel, of Saul, and of Esther. How the Lord makes wroth the masters of their servants and the servants of their masters in order to do good to the upright. The explanation of the calamities of Haman. The parable of Ahasuerus and Haman. The explanation of the passage, "There is not any rock like our God." The seven prophetesses in Israel. Pride does not become women. Who was Hathach? Why did Esther invite Haman to the feast, and what Elijah, the prophet, said about this to Abahu? Why Israel resembles earth and why stars? All the lecturing in detail about the conversation which Esther had with Ahasuerus before the hanging of Haman. Why is Mordecai mentioned in Ezra, ii. 2, the fifth, and in Nehemiah, vii. 7, the sixth?
MISHNAS I. and II. Whence do we deduce that anyone that reads the Megilla, in an irregular manner does not fulfil his duty, that the Patriarchs must be mentioned in the prayer, that the Megilla must not be read by heart, and that the name of the Lord must not be blessed any more after the pronunciation of the eighteen benedictions? How is it known that God called Jacob "El"? Regulations concerning the reading from Assyrian characters, from writing in ink, and not to make long pauses. If the inhabitants of an open town had gone to a walled town. If one reads the Megilla which is bound together with other books. How the schoolmen, repudiated the statement of an halakhah in the name of Johanan,
MISHNAS III. to V. Who is qualified to read the Megilla? Which acts may not be done before sunrise on the day on which they are obligatory, and which may be done during the whole of the day on which they are obligatory,
MISHNAS I. to VI. Is the Megilla to be read sitting or standing? What benediction must be pronounced before and after the reading? Regulations concerning the men to be called to read the Holy Scrolls in the prayer houses on the prescribed days, and their number on each day. What is to be done when men come into the synagogue after the prayer is finished? What is the benediction for mourners? The number of men that must be present when the name of God is mentioned in a benediction. How many verses must each read who is called to read in the Holy Scrolls? Who is allowed to act as minister? May a priest whose hands are deformed raise his hands to bless the congregation? If one say he will not minister at reading desk in colored clothes. If one say in his prayer, "The good shall bless Thee". Which portions of the Torah must be read and explained, and which are to be read without explanation?
MISHNAS I. to III, Regulations concerning investment of the proceeds of a sale of sacred public property. May one prayer house be exchanged for another? Which articles used in a religious duty may be cast away, and which must be hidden? What disposition of the Holy Scrolls when rotten? May old Holy Scrolls be sold? When are Holy Scrolls allowed to be sold? Rules of contribution to charity by a visitor of a town. May sacred public property be sold to private individuals? The replies of many sages when they were questioned for the reason of their longevity. What is forbidden to be done in a prayer house, and may a man go in there for the purpose of protecting himself against rain or sunshine? What is meant by the saying of the Mishna: "Who uses the crown is lost"? Come and see how the Israelites are beloved before the Holy One, etc. The Heavenly voice about the Mount Sinai,
MISHNAS IV. and V. Treat about the portions of the Bible which are to be read on the Sabbaths beginning two weeks before Purim up to Passover. on each day of the Passover, and on each day of the other festivals, and the different opinions about this,
Sources: Biblical Texts