I cannot make it to shul to hear Parshas Zochor, what can I do?
According to some Poskim, listening to Parshas Zochor is a mitzvoh min haTorah. If you will not hear it in shul you should read it at home from a Chumash and have intent to fulfil the mitzvah when the Psukim are read again in Parshas Ki Seitzei (26/08) and at the Krias Hatorah on Purim.
How much money do I need to give for the mitzvah of zecher l’machatzis ha’shekel?
On the afternoon of Erev Purim before Mincha there is a custom to give tzedokoh to remind us of the machatzis hashekel donation given in the Beis Hamikdosh during Adar. Although you can fulfill this custom with any amount, some have the custom to give give three 50p pieces to tzedakah.
Can the donation for zecher l’machatzis hashekel on Erev Purim and matonos l’evyonim on Purim be made via bank transfer?
Yes, but to fulfill the mitzvah of matonos l’evyonim you must ensure that you give to a tzedokoh that will distribute the money on the day of Purim.
Can I make a transfer by credit card for matonos l’evyonim if payment will only be taken a few days later?
Yes but only if the tzedokoh fund makes a transfer to the needy on your behalf on Purim.
May I eat before the Megillah is read?
The Megillah should be heard immediately after nightfall and you shouldn’t eat anything before doing so. If it will only be possible to hear the Megillah sometime after nightfall and you are finding the fast difficult you can break the fast after nightfall but should not eat a bread meal before hearing the Megillah.
There are many expenses associated with Purim, towards which mitzvah should one spend the most?
One should ideally spend more on matonos l’evyonim than expenses for mishloach manos and the seudah.
What is the basic requirement for mishloach manos?
A minimum of two gifts of food or drink (or a food and a drink) must be given to at least one person. They should be two different kinds of food and must be ready to be eaten (not raw) but need not be of a different brocho. For example, a gift of chocolates and honeycomb would fulfil the mitzvah as would wine and cake or two kinds of cake/biscuits. The Rambam writes that one may even fulfil the Mitzvah by gifting two different kinds of meat.
I prepared mishloach manos for my neighbour but they’re not in, can I leave it on their doorstep?
Since one reason for this mitzvah is to deepen friendship, the recipient should know that you gave them this gift. Therefore, a doorstep drop-off should include a label or note identifying you as the giver.
Can mishloach manos be given to a relative?
Yes, but not to one’s spouse or a child who is living at home.
May I give matonos l’evyonim and mishloach manos at night?
No, they must be given in the day. However, you can pass them on to a shaliach even before Purim who will give them during the day.
May I arrange for a mishloach manos delivery to be made on Purim by a shliach?
How much should I give for matonos l’evyonim?
You should donate money to two poor people. According to some, the minimum amount to give is one prutoh (valued somewhat less than 5p) to each person. Others hold that it must be enough money to purchase a basic meal (e.g. sandwiches) and wherever possible one should ideally be stringent and give more than the minimum shiur.
May I use my ma’aser money to give matonos l’evyonim?
You may not use ma’aser money to pay the amount required to fulfill your basic obligation of matonos l’evyonim. Anything above this amount may come from ma’aser money. Similarly, one may not buy mishloach manos or make purchases for the seudoh from ma’aser money, since these are obligatory.
Who is an eligible candidate for matonos l’evyonim?
Today, when it is rare to find someone who does not even have enough money for seudas Purim, it is acceptable to give to any individual who does not have enough parnosoh to sustain their family’s basic needs. As a general rule, one should not be overly pedantic with whom one gives on Purim but give freely to all those who ask.
My husband will be giving matonos l’evyonim, may I rely on that or do I have to give separately?
Many Poskim are of the opinion that a wife may rely on her husbands donation as ishto k’gufo. Still, some Poskim hold that it is praiseworthy for her to give independently. This can be done by lifting up a sum of money 3 tefochim (30cm) high with intent to acquire it and then giving this as a donation.
May a man give mishloach manos and matonos l’evyonim to a woman and vice versa?
This is permitted for matonos l’evyonim but not mishloach manos which are intended to deepen friendship and so are not appropriate from a man to a woman or vice versa (amongst other concerns).
What is the correct time for seudas Purim?
Ideally it should not start until after Mincha and the majority of the seudah should take place before shkiyah.