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    The Laws of Purim

    16. Costumes and the Prohibition of Lo Yilbash

    Chapter 16: The Mitzvot of Joy and Kindness

    Many people customarily wear masks and costumes on Purim. Even though there is no source for this in the writings of the Sages, and the Aĥaronim did not write that one must wear costumes, various reasons have been given for the custom.

    Rabbi Eliezer Melamed | Tevet 10 5782
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    The Laws of Purim

    15. Scheduling the Se’uda when Purim is on Friday

    Chapter 16: The Mitzvot of Joy and Kindness

    When Purim falls out on Friday, it is customary, le-khatĥila, to begin the meal before the afternoon, in honor of Shabbat. Alternatively, there is a custom to combine the Purim meal with the first Shabbat meal on Friday night.

    Rabbi Eliezer Melamed | Tevet 5 5782
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    The Laws of Purim

    14. Can a Drunk or Tipsy Person Recite Berakhot and Pray Ma’ariv?

    Chapter 16: The Mitzvot of Joy and Kindness

    On Purim, a drunk person may recite all Birkhot Ha-nehenin, Birkat Ha-mazon, and Asher Yatzar. One who is tipsy or drunk after finishing the meal must wait to pray Ma’ariv until he is sober and able to pray with a clear mind.

    Rabbi Eliezer Melamed | Tevet 5 5782
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    The Laws of Purim

    13. When to Eat the Festive Meal

    Chapter 16: The Mitzvot of Joy and Kindness

    Most Jews begin the Purim meal in the afternoon, after praying Minĥa. Some people start the meal very late, just before shki’a, eating most of the meal after dark. Many authorities question this practice, as the mitzva is to eat the meal on Purim.

    Rabbi Eliezer Melamed | Tevet 5 5782
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    The Laws of Purim

    12. The Meaning of the Mitzva of Drinking

    Chapter 16: The Mitzvot of Joy and Kindness

    Both in Tanakh and in rabbinic literature, it is made clear that drunkenness is disgraceful and liable to bring one to sin. Why, then, are we commanded to get drunk on Purim?

    Rabbi Eliezer Melamed | Tevet 5 5782
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    The Laws of Purim

    11. Laws of Drinking

    Chapter 16: The Mitzvot of Joy and Kindness

    One fulfills his obligation to drink on Purim with any intoxicating beverage. However, it is preferable to drink wine, because the miracle came about through wine. It is a mitzva even for women to drink a lot of wine that brings joy on Purim. However, they must be careful not to get drunk. If one knows that when he gets drunk he goes wild and hurts others, or he ends up wallowing in his own vomit and degrading himself in public, he should not get drunk.

    Rabbi Eliezer Melamed | Tevet 5 5782
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    The Laws of Purim

    9. The Mitzva to Rejoice and Eat a Se’uda

    Chapter 16: The Mitzvot of Joy and Kindness

    We are commanded to observe Purim as a day of feasting and joy. Even though the mitzva of rejoicing continues throughout the night and day of Purim, it reaches its climax at the se’uda, the festive meal.

    Rabbi Eliezer Melamed | Tevet 5 5782
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    The Laws of Purim

    10. The Mitzva to Drink

    Chapter 16: The Mitzvot of Joy and Kindness

    On Purim, there is an explicit mitzva to drink a lot. Therefore, the Sages said, “A person is obligated to get drunk on Purim until he does not know the difference between ‘Cursed is Haman’ and ‘Blessed is Mordechai’”.

    Rabbi Eliezer Melamed | Tevet 5 5782
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    The Laws of Purim

    7. The Proper Time for Matanot La-evyonim and Mishlo’ach Manot

    Chapter 16: The Mitzvot of Joy and Kindness

    One must send mishlo’aĥ manot and give matanot la-evyonim on Purim day. If one cannot find poor people to receive matanot la-evyonim on Purim, he should set aside his gifts and save them until he finds poor people

    Rabbi Eliezer Melamed | Tevet 5 5782
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    The Laws of Purim

    8. Between Mishlo’ah Manot and Matanot La-evyonim

    Chapter 16: The Mitzvot of Joy and Kindness

    The mitzva of mishlo’aĥ manot is designed to increase love and harmony between fellow Jews. Therefore, one who sends mishlo’aĥ manot to his friend anonymously does not fulfill his obligation. Matanot la-evyonim, on the other hand, is like charity and is designed to help the poor in the best possible manner. Therefore, when possible, it is preferable to give matanot la-evyonim anonymously.

    Rabbi Eliezer Melamed | Tevet 5 5782
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    The Laws of Purim

    6. Who Is Obligated in Mishlo’ach Manot and Matanot La-evyonim?

    Chapter 16: The Mitzvot of Joy and Kindness

    Every Jew is obligated in mishlo’aĥ manot and matanot la-evyonim. Even though women are ordinarily exempt from positive time-bound mitzvot, they must fulfill the mitzvot of Purim, since they too participated in the miracle. Even a married woman must fulfill these mitzvot.

    Rabbi Eliezer Melamed | Tevet 5 5782
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    The Laws of Purim

    4. Mishlo’ach Manot

    Chapter 16: The Mitzvot of Joy and Kindness

    Every person must send two gifts of food to a friend on Purim, in order to increase love between them. Increasing love between Jews is part of the essence of Purim, as it was on Purim that the Jewish people’s holiness was revealed.

    Rabbi Eliezer Melamed | Tevet 5 5782
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    The Laws of Purim

    5. Types of Foods for Mishlo’ach Manot

    Chapter 16: The Mitzvot of Joy and Kindness

    The two food portions must be different from each other. One who sends his friend a garment or a book does not fulfill his obligation. One who sends a live fowl to his friend does not fulfill his obligation, because it is not edible as is; it must first be slaughtered, cut, salted, and cooked.

    Rabbi Eliezer Melamed | Tevet 5 5782
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    The Laws of Purim

    2. Jewish Unity on Purim

    Chapter 16: The Mitzvot of Joy and Kindness

    Purim is a special day for displaying Jewish unity. Haman’s decree was aimed at the entire Jewish people, with no distinction between righteous and wicked, poor and rich.

    Rabbi Eliezer Melamed | Tevet 5 5782
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    The Laws of Purim

    3. Matanot La-evyonim

    Chapter 16: The Mitzvot of Joy and Kindness

    It is a mitzva for each and every Jew to give matanot la-evyonim on Purim. In order to fulfill this mitzva, one must give a minimum of two gifts – one each to two poor people – but it is praiseworthy to give more.

    Rabbi Eliezer Melamed | Tevet 5 5782
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    The Laws of Purim

    1. Joy and Kindness

    Chapter 16: The Mitzvot of Joy and Kindness

    The mitzva to rejoice on Purim is quite unique. This joy must be accompanied by a heightened sense of love and unity among Jews. This is true joy, as it expresses a broadening of life and its spread through the love of all people.

    Rabbi Eliezer Melamed | Tevet 5 5782
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    The Laws of Purim

    15. Working on Purim

    Chapter 15: Purim and Reading the Megilla

    The Sages did not originally establish Purim as a holiday on which work is prohibited. Over time, however, the Jewish people developed a custom to refrain from work on Purim.

    Rabbi Eliezer Melamed | Tevet 5 5782
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    The Laws of Purim

    14. Al Ha-nisim, Torah Reading, Eulogies, and Tahanun

    Chapter 15: Purim and Reading the Megilla

    The Sages formulated the Al Ha-nisim prayer so that we may thank God for the salvation He performed for the Jewish people at the time of Purim. The Sages enacted that three people are called to the Torah on Purim to read the section beginning with “Amalek came”.

    Rabbi Eliezer Melamed | Tevet 5 5782
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    The Laws of Purim

    13. Taking Revenge on Haman and His Ten Sons

    Chapter 15: Purim and Reading the Megilla

    The execution of Haman and his ten sons is an integral part of the Megilla, for it confirms that justice was done and the wicked people who rose up against the nation of Israel were punished and put to death.

    Rabbi Eliezer Melamed | Tevet 5 5782
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    The Laws of Purim

    11. The Laws of Reading the Megilla

    Chapter 15: Purim and Reading the Megilla

    Since Megilat Esther is referred to as a “letter,” it is customary to prepare the scroll for reading in public by spreading it out and folding it over. One may sit or stand while fulfilling the mitzva of reading the Megilla.

    Rabbi Eliezer Melamed | Tevet 5 5782
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