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Beit Midrash Shabbat and Holidays The Laws of Purim

Purim Is Here - What Do I Do?

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The primary mitzvot of Purim include: Hearing the Megila both evening & morning; Matanot Levyonim (giving at least 1 gift to at least 2 poor people); Mishloach Manot (giving at least 2 ready-to-eat items to at least 1 friend); Seudat Purim, the festive Purim meal that is eaten on Purim afternoon. On erev Purim it is also customary to donate Machatzit HaShekel (the half-shekel); giving 3 of the fixed coin of our own time & place (shekel in Israel, $ in the USA, Pula in Botswana, etc.). Why 3 coins? Because the pasuk uses the word Truma-offering," 3 times. Al HaNisim is added to the Amida & the benching; the Purim morning layning is the year's shortest! The Gemara says one should drink on Purim so he is unable to distinguish between "Cursed Haman" & "Blessed Mordechai." But many authorities suspend this Minhag if drinking leads to improper behavior or an inability to daven properly with kavana (or drive responsibly!). Costumes remind us that Esther disguised her lineage until just the right moment - masks, alas, are de rigueu
Rabbi Stewart Weiss
Was ordained at the Hebrew Theological College in Skokie, Illinois, and led congregations in Chicago and Dallas prior to making Aliyah in 1992. He directs the Jewish Outreach Center in Ra'anana, helping to facilitate the spiritual absorption of new olim.
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