Wednesday, March 7, 2012

PURIM: The Mitzvot of Purim

Today is Ta'anit Esther, the fast of Esther. 
(click here for more information)

Previously we discussed the Mitzva of reading Megilat Esther during Purim (see here). 

Today we will learn about the other Mitzvot of Purim.    
During the day of Purim--Thursday March 8th--we send two presents to one or more friends. These presents consist of food--ideally food to be used during the Purim banquet. It is customary to include at least two different types of foods. For example, a drink and some baked product. The intention of this Mitzvah is to promote harmony and friendship and strengthen our unity. Mishloach Manot should no be given before Purim or during the night. The Manot should be delivered during Purim daytime(Thursday March 8th).  Mishloach Manot should not be given anonymously. 

"Presents to needy people". These presents consist of food, given to those who could not afford to celebrate and enjoy a nice Purim banquet.  The custom is to give two gifts, or as it is usually done today, the monetary equivalent of a basic meal, to two or more poor people. The Mitzva is also fulfilled by giving the monetary equivalent of two meals to a charity that distributes food. If we don't find the needy people during the day of Purim, we should put aside or give to charity the money during Purim daytime to be delivered later.  Unlike Mishloach Manot, the presents for the needy could (or ideally should) be given anonymously. If our means are limited, our Rabbis indicated that we must be more generous in giving to the poor and needy than in spending for our own Purim banquet. They said: "There is no greater happiness than to lift up the hearts and spirits of the poor, orphans and widows".

Thursday March 8th in the afternoon, we participate in a festival meal, Seudat Purim. In this banquet we sing songs and express our happiness and thanks to HaShem Almighty for our deliverance.  More on this banquet, tomorrow. 

For times of Miniyanim and Megila reading during day and night of Purim please check here  KANISSAHNEWS . You will also find  information about our community's events, times or prayers, etc.