From The Rabbi's Desk

  • 2. Matanot La'evyonim - Gifts to the Poor – Giving to the poor is a mitzvah all year round. However, the mitzvah to do so on Purim is in addition to the general mitzvah of tzedakah. To properly fulfill the mitzvah of Matanot La'evyonim one must give to two poor individuals. Although one may fulfill this mitzvah by giving a very minimal amount of money to each person, the sages noted that the highest form of fulfilling this mitzvah is by giving enough money for a meal, or the equivalent in food. On March 1st we will be making soup for our Souper Supper which will be right before the play on March 7th. Your donations will be divided between Jewish Family Service and ProJeCt.
  • 3. Shalach Manot - Sending Gifts – On Purim we emphasize the importance of friendship and community by sending gifts of food, mishloach manot, to friends. Every Jew is obligated to give at least one gift containing at least two different types of ready-to-eat food items such as fruit, pastry and/or a beverage.
  • 4. Se'udah - Festive Meal – One is obligated to partake in a festive meal on Purim day.

    The source for these last 3 mitzvot is in the Megillah. "Mordechai... enjoined the [Jews] to make the fourteenth day of the month of Adar... feasting and joy, and sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor."
    Why are there two separate mitzvoth concerning the giving of gifts? Why is there a need for a second mitzvah of shalach manot? Some commentators suggest that the mitzvah of shalach manot actually derives from the mitzvah of giving gifts to the poor on Purim. However, due to concern that the poor would feel ashamed that they did not have sufficient means to provide for the Purim meal, the rabbis decreed that not only the poor, but all people should send and receive gifts on the holiday of Purim.
    Thus, we see that the mitzvah of shalach manot has two purposes--to instill harmony and love in the Jewish people, and to remind ourselves that as we celebrate the holiday of Purim, we mustn't forget about the needs of the less fortunate in our community.
    Many Jews have adopted the very modern custom of giving gifts on Hanukkah. Let's start an old/new trend and send shalach manot to family and friends and matanot l'evyonim to the poor on Purim!

    Chag Purim Same'ach!

    Rabbi Melody


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