Question:

The minyan where I usually daven on Shabbos morning is a Moroccan minyan. Is it sufficient to hear Parshas Zachor in that minyan (they lein with a different trope), or should I find an Ashkenazi minyan?  Also, would the same apply for my wife, for whom it would be much easier to hear it at the Moroccan minyan?

Answer:

There are two principles in hearing the Torah reading that apply here. The first is that you only fulfill your obligation to hear the Torah in the prescribed manner if it is read in Hebrew1)Megillah 8b. The second is that one who reads the Torah must be exacting even in the pronunciation of the Hebrew words themselves2)Berachos 15a. The question here is whether the various customs of singing the trope or the slight differences in pronunciation of letters and words are comparable to different “languages” or comparable to “mispronunciations” in regards to these halachos. If we view them as different languages, then an Ashkenazi couldn’t fulfill his obligation at a Moroccan reading. On the other hand, if we view them as a mispronunciations, then he could fulfil his obligation, though only b’dieved.

The consensus of Ashkenazi poskim is that one should make every effort to hear the reading of Parshas Zachor in his own customary trope and pronunciation.

As far as your wife there is an additional factor to consider. There is a long-standing machlokes between the Chinnuch and the Eshkol over whether women are obligated in hearing Parshas Zachor. The Chinnuch3)Mitzvah 557: Remember what Amalek did to you, at the end “V’noheges mitzvah zeh…” says that since women are not obligated to go to war, they are not obligated in hearing this reading. The Eshkol holds that since they help during wartime they are also included in the obligation. Nowadays however, the established custom is for women to go to shul to hear this leining. Therefore, since women have established a custom to hear, they should follow all of the stringencies that men do. Nonetheless, Women who aren’t feeling well and are in a situation of “dochak” can read Parshas Zachor from a Chumash.

References   [ + ]

1. Megillah 8b
2. Berachos 15a
3. Mitzvah 557: Remember what Amalek did to you, at the end “V’noheges mitzvah zeh…”