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Laws of Purim 5771/2011

Mar 16, 2011 by Rav Pesach Siegel

 

Laws of Purim 5771

By

Rav Pesach Siegel

Ta’anis Esther

 This year, Ta’anis Esther is on Thursday. The fast begins at 4:36 a.m. (Israel time). Starting from one half hour before this time (4:06 a.m.), one is not permitted to begin a meal (e.g. bread). If one began a meal before that time, one may continue up until 4:36 a.m. The earliest time one may end the fast is 6:18 p.m. (Israel time).

 It is permissible to brush one’s teeth, taking care not to swallow any water.

 If one is suffering from a severe headache, one may break the fast, even if one is not ill. A competent halachic authority should be consulted before breaking one’s fast.

 It is customary to give a Machatzis HaShekel at Mincha of Ta’anis Esther. Some have a custom to give it prior to the reading of the Megillah. Preferably, one should give three ½ shekel coins. Care should be taken not to say explicitly that the coins are the actual Machatzis HaShekel.

 Parshas Zachor

 One must hear the reading of Parshas Zachor from a kosher Sefer Torah in the presence of ten men.

 One should take great care to hear each and every word.

 If one missed a word or a phrase, as long as what he did hear conveyed the idea of the reading, he has fulfilled the Mitzva.

 One should not read along with the Baal Koreh from his own chumash.

 One must have intent to fulfill the Mitzva of commemorating the eradication of Amalek.

 It is incumbent on one to hear the reading according to one’s mesorah. An Ashkenazi should hear it according to the Ashkenazi pronunciation. This is true, even if he usually prays in accordance with the style prevalent among the Israeli national religious congregations. A Sephardi should hear it according to his own mesorah. If one has no option, he may fulfill the Mitzva according to any accepted mesorah. 

 Purim

 For those who are planning on sleeping in Yerushalayim on Sunday night, Purim is Sunday night/Monday day. All the mitzvos should be done then (Megillah, Mishloach Manos, Matanos La’Evyonim, Seudah, Al Hanissim).

 For those who are planning on sleeping in areas out of Yerushalayim (e.g. Ramat Beit Shemesh, Telshe-Stone, Bnei Braq, Efrat) on Saturday night, Purim is Saturday night/Sunday day. All the mitzvos should be done then (Megillah, Mishlo’ach Manos, Matanos La’Evyonim, Seudah, Al Hanissim).

 If one slept over outside of Yerushalayim on Saturday night, and mistakenly returned to Yerushalayim before hearing Kriyas Megillah (or any of the other Mitzvos) on Sunday morning, he should read the Megillah, eat the Se’udah and say Al HaNissim on Sunday morning in Yerushalayim. He must make a shli’ach to send Mishlo’ach Manos and Matanos La’Evyonim in the area out of Yerusalayim.

 If someone went to an area out of Yerushalayim on Saturday night intending on returning to Yerushalayim and sleeping in Yerushalayim, and due to circumstances beyond one’s control, failed to return to Yerushalayim, even though he ended up sleeping out of Yerushalayim, his Purim would still be on Sunday night/Monday morning in Yerushalayim.

 If one slept in an area out of Yerushalayim Saturday night, and then slept in Yerushlayim on Sunday night, he is obligated in both days of Purim. He must do all of the Mitzvos in both places, unless it happened due to circumstances beyond his control.

 Al HaNissim is recited in Birchas Hamazon and Shemona Esreh on the day of one’s Purim. If one neglected to recite it, the prayers are not repeated. One may insert it while reciting the HaRachaman prayers or in Elokai Netzor.

 It is customary to eat seeds or legumes on the night of Purim in commemoration of the food that was eaten by Chananya, Misha’el & Azarya in Nevuchadnezer’s palace.

 One, who for some reason, neglected to hear Parshas Zachor, may have intent to fulfill the Mitzva during the Kriyas HaTorah on Purim day.

 Mishlo’ach Manos

 The minimum one must give is one Mishlo’ach Manos package to one person.

 The package must contain at least two different, ready to eat, food items. They do not need to have two different brachos.

 It must be given to someone who is keeping the same day of Purim as the sender.

 The Manos must be given during the daytime.

 In order to fulfill the Mitzva, the receiver must be aware of the receipt of the Manos while it is still Purim (before sunset).

 They must be comprised of something worthy of the standard of the sender and the receiver, both in regards to quality and kashrus hashgacha.

 A man should not send Mishlo’ach Manos to a woman.

 One does not send Mishlo’ach Manos to someone who is in aveilus.

 Matanos La’Evyonim

 The minimum one must give is two presents to two different Evyonim (one present each).

 It must be given to someone who is keeping the same day of Purim as the sender.

 The Matanos must be given during the daytime, or given to a gabbai tzedaka who will acquire them on behalf of the Evyonim during the daytime.

 One should reserve the bulk of one’s money for Matanos La’Evyonim, rather than for Mishlo’ach Manos.

 One cannot use ma’aser money for the mitzvah.

 There is a dispute how much money one must give. Preferably one should give the amount that would suffice for a meal (approximately 10 shekel) to two Evyonim (for a total of 20 shekel). Once one has already given this amount to two Evyonim, one may be lenient and give less (a prutah = 20 agurot) if he wishes to give to additional Evyonim.

 An Evyon is in harsher straits than an Ani. He doesn’t just have a lower standard of living; he doesn’t make a living at all. Someone who is unemployed would qualify as an Evyon.

 In addition to the mitzva of Matanos La’Evyonim, one must give tzedaka to all who request. There is no specified amount.

 Se’udah

 One is obligated to eat a seu’dah on the day of Purim.

 It should contain special delicacies that one would not normally eat.

 Meat and wine should be consumed at the se’udah.

 One may fulfill the Mitzva of ad d’lo yada by imbibing a quantity of wine beyond what one is accustomed to, causing one to become drowsy and take a nap.

 Masquerading

 It is highly unadvisable for a man to dress up as a woman, as many poskim forbid it.

 Purim Same’ach!!!!

 

 

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