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Purim 5769
We are beginning Hilchos Purim. We will focus one new halacha each day on the laws pertaining to the Mitzvah of Matanos L'Evyonim (giving Tzedakah on Purim to the poor), and we will also review general laws of Adar/Purim and Minhagim of Purim learnt previously.
777. "It is best for one to increase (his expenditures) in giving gifts to the poor (Matanos L'Evyonim), than on increasing his seudah and gifts to friends (Mishloach Manos), as there is no greater and more glorified simcha (happiness) than gladdening the hearts of the poor, of orphans, of widows, and of converts; because one who gladdens the hearts of the these downtrodden are akin to The Shechina (Hashem) as it says about Hashem 'To give life to those who are low etc'."
Shulchan Aruch 694:1 MB3, Rambam Hilchos Megillah 2:17, Mes. Sofrim 21:4
778. "When Adar comes in, one increases his Simcha". {This coming Shabbos is Shabbos Mevarchim Chodesh Adar. Rosh Chodesh is next Tuesday and Wednesday, the 24th and 25th of February. Wednesday, the 2nd day of Rosh Chodesh, is the 1st day of Adar}.
Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Brurah 686:3
779. Beginning Rosh Chodesh Adar there is a custom to hang a sign in the home that says "Mishenichnas Adar Marbin B'simcha" -  "When Adar comes in, one increases his happiness". Some have the custom to place this sign to cover the "Zecher L'churban"  (in memory of the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash) unfinished wall area that many have the custom to retain in their home. Yalkut Avraham 686, Piskei Tshuvos 686:5
780. Both men and women, (as well as children over the age of Bar and Bas Mitzvah) are obligated in the Mitzvah of Matanos L'Evyonim. Although this is a positive Mitzvah (bound by time - i.e. required to be done on the day of Purim) which normally women would be excluded from; nevertheless, because women were also saved from Haman in the nes (miracle) of Purim, Chazal obligated them in this mitzvah. Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Brurah 695:4 MB25, 694:1 MB1, Piskei Tshuvos 695:15
781. This coming Shabbos, which is the Shabbos before Rosh Chodesh Adar, we read Parshas Shekalim (in addition to the regular Parsha of the week) to remember the Mitzvah of Machtzis Hashekel in the time of the Beis Hamikdash; Every Jew donated a half shekel coin, which were collectively used to purchase the animals used for the Korbon Tamid (daily sacrifice(s)). These coins were collected each year beginning from Rosh Chodesh Adar. Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Brurah 685:1
782. One reason for the minhag to get dressed up in costume on Purim is because Chazal tell us that just as the Jews bowed down to Avodah Zorah (at the time of Nebuchadnezar) only "for show" for their oppressors, Hashem repaid this sin measure for measure by also only scaring them "for show" with the threat of annihilation at the hands of Haman.
Bnei Yisasschar cited by Ta'amei Haminhagim
783. To fulfill the Mitzvah of Matanos L'Evyonim on Purim one must give a minimum of one gift (of money, or food) worth at least one Perutah (according to some Poskim 5 US cents, or 5 Israeli Agurot) to at least two poor people on Purim day. However, one who gives more is praiseworthy. Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Brurah 694:1 MB2, 695:4 MB22, Nitay Gavriel 65:1, Rambam Hilchos Megillah 2:17
784. Another reason for the reading of Parshas Shekalim on the Shabbos preceding Rosh Chodesh Adar is because Hashem knew that Haman would one day show his munificence when attempting to bribe King Achashverosh with 10,000 silver coins for permission to murder the Jews. Therefore Hashem preceded our Mitzvah of Machtzis Hashekel (which shows our generosity) to Haman's use of silver coins. Yerushalmi Mes. Megillah 1:5
785. Another reason for the minhag to get dressed up in costume on Purim is in order to allow the poor to collect money on Purim without embarrassment. Since everyone is in costume the poor do not stand out and can disguise themselves. Kol Aryeh cited in Nit'ay Gavriel 84:6:9
786. L'Chatchila a married woman should fulfill the Mitzvah of Matanos L'Evyonim (and Mishloach Manos) on her own (using her own money, or money given to her by her husband for this purpose). Bidieved, she may be yotze by way of her husband's fulfillment of the mitzvah (if he gives to 4 poor people), but this arrangement should be verbally agreed between them in advance.  Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Brurah 695:4 MB25, Piskei Tshuvos 695:15 citing R' S.Z. Auerbach in Halichos Beisah 24:52
787. Women are not obligated in the Mitzvah of the reading of Parshas Shekalim (inasmuch as it is a positive Mitzvah that is dependent on time). Nit'ay Gavriel 18:4, S'V Divrei Chaim OC 2:14
788. Another reason for the minhag to get dressed up in costume on Purim is because it is a remez (hint) that the Jews did Tshuva out of love for Hashem, thereby completely changing themselves into new people. Midrash Rabbah Par. Emor 30:3, Yalkut Tehillim 102
789. Boys and girls who are over Bar and Bas Mitzvah age should fulfill the Mitzvah of Matanos L'Evyonim (and Mishloach Manos) using their own money. If they do not have any money, their parents should provide them with money for this purpose. Piskei Tshuvos 695:15
790.  Boys and girls under the age of Bar and Bas Mitzvah should be taught the Mitzvah of Matanos L'Evyonim (and Mishloach Manos) by way of acting as a shliach - messenger for their parents who send them to give Tzedakah to poor people on Purim. Piskei Tshuvos 695:15
791. Although one may fulfill the mitzvah of Matanos L'Evyonim by giving a mere Perutah (5 cents) to two poor people (see halacha #783), many Poskim advise that one should give, to at least 2 poor people, a gift of money or food which will provide the poor person enough for a minimum seudah equal to the volume of three eggs. SA 694 See Shaarei Tshuva 694:1, Machzik Beracha L'Hachida, Maharsha Megillah 7b, Kaf Hachaim sk7, Moadim U'zmanim 6:107, Piskei Tshuvos 694:6, Nitay Gavriel 65:1
792. If one has a court matter pending with a non-jew, one should make an effort to have the matter heard by the court during Adar because in Adar the mazal is Dagim - fish, which represents Yosef, upon whom Ayin Hor'ah - the evil eye is not effective. {based on Gemara Yerushalmi Mes. Megillah 4:1}. Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Brurah 686:3
793. Children who are too small/young to understand that they cannot disturb the adults during the reading of the Megillah should not be brought to shul.
Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Brurah 689:6
794. According to the psak of The Mishnah Berurah, L'Chatchila, one may only fulfill the Mitzvah of Matanos L'Evyonim by giving food, or money which the recipient can spend on Purim. Therefore, it would be questionable if one can fulfill his obligation by giving a personal check which the recipient is unable to cash on Purim itself. Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Berurah 694:1 MB2, S'U Mishnah Halachos 6:122
795. It is the accepted custom to bang and make noise each time Haman is mentioned during the reading of the Megillah. One reason given is that Haman is mentioned 54 times in the Megillah thereby fulfilling the mitzvah to destroy Amalek (the ancestor of Haman) about whom the posuk in the Torah says says "Mo'cho Emche es Zecher Amalek" and the word Emche equals 54. Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Brurah 690:17, Sefer Mat'amim cited by Igeres Hapurim
796. Another reason for the minhag to bang and make noise each time Haman is mentioned during the reading of the Megillah is because Haman's desired annihilation of the Jews included children. Therefore it is a mitzvah to bring children to hear the Megillah. Chazal gave the mitzvah of banging and making noise to keep the children interested and alert to listen to the reading while they wait anxiously to hear the name Haman read.
Korbon Ha'ani L'Purim page 125
797.  One may not use Maaser money to fulfill one's obligation of Matanos L'Evyonim on Purim, just as one may not use Maaser money to fulfill other mitzvah obligations. However, once one has given to 2 poor people, one may use Maaser money to give Tzedakah to other poor people on Purim. Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Berurah 694:1 MB3
798. Men and women, as well as boys and girls who have reached the age of chinuch (from the age of 6-10 yrs. - depending on the child) are obligated to hear the reading of the Megillah. Women and children are obligated because they were saved from Haman, just as the men were. Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Brurah 689:1, Magen Avraham 343:2
799. The original minhag was to write the name Haman on two stones or on two pieces of wood, and bang the stones, or wood together to erase the name. The minhag then evolved to include banging with one's foot on the floor, using a "grogger" or any other noisemaking method. Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Brurah 690:17
800. Many have the minhag to give money on Purim to their Rov and to their children's Rebbeim and teachers. One may not use Maaser money for this purpose unless the recipient is poor and one initially undertakes to give it as tzedakah rather than as a gift to the Rov, Rebbe, or teacher. One also does not fulfill the Mitzvah of Matanos L'Evyonim with these gifts. Piskei Tshuvos 694:7, see Mishnah Berurah 694:2 MB7, Aruch Hashulchan 694:4, Tzedakah Umishpat 6:2
801. Women and children are not obligated at all in the mitzvah to become intoxicated on Purim to the point of being unable to differentiate between "Arrur Haman" & "Baruch Mordechai". Nit'ay Gavriel 73:4, Mishnas Yaakov 695
802. The Chanukah draidel has the handle on the top, and the Purim grogger has the handle on the bottom. This is to signify that on Purim when Jews fasted and did Tshuva they had a hand in the salvation; so the power of the grogger comes from the lower sphere; (klal yisroel), however on Chanukah there wasn't a complete Tshuva, and the Jews were saved solely due to the mercy of Hashem in heaven, therefore the handle is on the top. Taamei Haminhagim and Avnei Nezer
803. On Purim one does not check credentials of those requesting tzedakah. Rather, "anyone who stretches his hand for tzedakah, we give to him". Shulchan Aruch 694:3
804. If one gives Mattanos L'Evyonim to poor people before Purim day, one needs to be concerned that the money will be spent before Purim. Therefore, one should give again to at least two poor people on Purim day. SA 694:1 see Biur Halacha
805. On the Shabbos before Purim (This coming Shabbos) we read Parshas Zachor which is found at the end of Parshas Ki Sei'tzei. By doing so we fulfill the positive Torah Mitzvah of "Remembering what Amalek did to you". The mitzvah includes remembering the terrible attack Amalek made against the Jews in the desert, to hate Amalek, and to blot out his name.
Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Brurah 685:2, Chinuch Mitzvah 603, Ramban Par. Ki Sei'tzei
806. If one was unable to listen to Parshas Zachor, one may fulfill the mitzvah, Bi'dieved, by listening to the reading of "Vayovoi Amalek" which is read in shul on Purim day.
Shulchan Aruchh w/Mishnah Brurah 685:7
807. One may fulfill the mitzvah of Mattanos L'Evyonim by sending it in the mail, or via a messenger (e.g. a tzedakah organization or Gabbai tzedakah), to be delivered on Purim day.
S'U Mahari Assad 207, Da'as Torah 695:4, S'U Chelkas Yaakov 1:102, Piskei Tshuvos 694:8
808. Many opinions (incl. Minchas Chinuch, Chasam Sofer, Maharil Diskin, Minchas Elozor, and many others) hold that women are obligated in the reading of Parshas Zachor . While many others (incl. Chinuch, Avnei Nezer, Chazon Ish, The Griz M'Brisk, Divrei Chaim, Arugos Habosem) hold that women are not obligated. The general practice is for women to come to shul to listen to Parshas Zachor.  Orchos Rabbeinu - Steipler 3:33, S'V Minchas Yitzchok 9:68
809. Inasmuch as the reading of Parshas Zachor is Min Ha'Torah, we do not permit a Bar Mitzvah boy to read this portion of the Torah. {Generally we would insist on someone of at least eighteen years of age}. Pischei Tshuvah YD 281:7 citing Nodah Be'Yehudah, Shemen Hamoer OC 282:4
810. If on Purim day one wishes to fulfill the Mitzvah of Mattanos L'Evyonim by giving money to a poor person who is not there, one may give the money to a third party to acquire the money on behalf of the poor recipient, who will then give it to the poor person sometime after Purim; so long as the recipient is told about this arrangement on Purim and therefore experiences simcha on Purim. S'U Mahari Assad 207, S'U Shraga Hameir 3:112 Piskei Tshuvos 694:8
811. The 13th of Adar (next week Monday)  is Ta'anis Esther, a fast day for men and women. The purpose of the fast day is to remember that Hashem listens when one is in a time of danger and need, as he did at the time of Purim. The fast is also a segulah to prevent the Satan from prosecuting an inadvertent sin done on Purim. Finally, many Mikubalim write that the decree against us from Haman has a potential reoccurrence each year and the fast day is a defense against the decree. Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Brurah 686:1, Magid Maysharim par. Vayakhel, S'U Shevet Hakahasi 1:203
812. On Taanis Esther one is permitted to bathe, listen to music, and to wear new clothing. Taanis Esther is different than the other fast days because it is unrelated to the destruction of the Bais Hamikdash. S'U Siach Yitzchok 360, Piskei Tshuvos 686:2:6
813.  One who owns a home but lost his job, or even one who owns a home and has a job, but does not earn enough to support his family's basic needs, may accept Mattanos L'Evyonim on Purim. Nitay Gavriel 67:1 fn2 citing The Chazon Ish and R' Moshe Feinstein
814. Before going to shul for Megillah at night one should get dressed in Shabbos clothing. Candles should be lit in the home (without a bracha) and the table should be set just as on Shabbos. Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Brurah 695:1
815. There is mitzvah to eat a Seudah on Purim night, and candles should be lit at all Purim Seudah's. The night Seudah need not be as elaborate as the daytime Seudah.
Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Brurah 695:1, see Shaarei Tshuvah
816. The Rama brings the opinion of The Kol Bo that one may fulfill the mitzvah of drinking wine on Purim by simply drinking more wine than normal (e.g. more than one would usually drink on Yom Tov) and then going to sleep. The Mishnah Brurah comments positively; "and it is fitting to do so". Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Brurah 695:2 MB5, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 144:6, Chayei Odom 155:8, Kaf Hachaim sk16
817. "The mitzvah of drinking more wine than usual on Purim is one of the specific mitzvos of Purim day in accordance with the Rimazim and Sodos (secrets) included in the mitzvah; and one who withholds from fulfilling the mitzvah because he doesn't understand the mitzvah has no part in [Klal] Yisroel, and in the acceptance of the yoke of the words of our holy Rabbis".
Bina L'ittim Drush 21, Nitay Gavriel 73:1 fn1
818. The Kav Hayashar says that one who needs mercy from heaven regarding any matter should take time on Taanis Esther to say chapter 22 of Tehillim and then pour forth one's request to Hashem and mention the zchus of Mordechai and Esther; that in their merit Hashem should respond, and open the gates of mercy, and accept the tefillah willingly.
Kav Hayashar 97, Yesod Veshoresh Ho'avodah Sha'ar Hamifkad pg. 263
819. Inasmuch as the Megillah is called an "Igeres" (a letter) we are not as strict with the restriction of bare hands touching it as we are with a Sefer Torah. Nevertheless, one should wash one's hands before touching the Megillah. Shulchan Aruch w/Shaarei Tshuva 691:2:ST3
820. The Shulchan Aruch does not specify that the mitzvah to become intoxicated on Purim is only with wine. Nevertheless, the main drink should be wine because Rashi (Megillah 7a), The Rambam (Hilchos Megillah 2:15), The Rokeach (Siman 237), and The Radvaz (1:462) all specifically mention wine {because many miracles happened at The "Mishteh Haya'yin"}.
Rav Moshe Shternbuch in Moadim U'zmanim 2:190
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