Q. I have a shaila regarding an elderly mute person that is ill and can’t come to shul. Until now someone read the megilah for him reciting the bracha ‘lishmoa mikra megilah, as women do, since he is unable to read it himself. I was wondering since he has an electronic voice maker that he places by his throat and can thus speak a few words that make sense. Can the normal bracha for men ‘al mikra megilah’ be recited for him?
A. Indeed Shaagas Aryeh (6) rules that a mute is obliged on listening to the Megila. However Ridbaz (3: 867) maintains he is exempt as the blind are from the reading of the Torah. P’ri Megodim ( M’Z 285: 2) mentions that even according to the Ridbaz, he may be liable to hear the Megila as women do, and the brocho will be the same as them lishmoa mikra megila.
On question 1593 Horav Shlomo Miller’s Shlit’a opinion is that since without the external artificial vibrations, the mute would not be able to create by his own any speech, the words that he can now articulate are not valid in Halacha. Therefore, he would still need to hear the speech-involving mitzvos from others, and comply by being shomea keoneh.
Rabbi A. Bartfeld as advised by Horav Shlomo Miller Shlit’a and Horav Aharon Miller Shlit’a