l'Evyonim - Gifts to the Poor
- The Last mentioned is the most beloved!
the Megillah (9:22), where the Mitzvot of Purim are listed, this
one is listed last. However, as mentioned above in connection
with the "Seudah," the Festive Meal, of Purim,
providing monetary support for the poor is probably the most
important of all the Mitzvot of Purim. Yet it tends to be
minimized. Proper observance of Purim would require the
spending of at least as much on this Mitzvah of Purim as on any
of its other Mitzvot.
is a prophetic precept to give at least two gifts to two poor
people on Purim; that is, one gift to each. And even a poor
person who himself has to ask for Charity, is required to do so.
This obligation is fulfilled through any type of gift; whether
of money, of food or drink, or even of clothing. One should,
however, try to give a substantial gift. For if one gives
a gift of money it should be sufficient for the recipient to buy
bread weighing at least three eggs. At the very least, however,
one must give a pruta or its equivalent value to each of two
gifts should be given by day. It is proper to give the gifts to
the poor after the Reading-of-the-Megillah. If one sets aside a
tithe, ten percent, from his income for Charity, these gifts
should not be included in that amount. If, however, he
gives some slight sum from his own funds and wants to add his
tithe, he may do so.
one has set aside money for gifts to the poor on Purim, he may
not change their intended purpose and give them to another
person cannot free himself, through his gifts to the poor on
Purim, from the general obligation of 'Tzedakah' (Charity) which
the Torah places upon him. And even a poor person is obligated
to fulfill the Mitzvah at least once a year, aside from what he
gives to the poor on Purim.
gifts should be given in sufficient time for the poor to utilize
them during Purim - and for their Purim meals. The poor person
may do as he wishes with the gifts, however.
special gifts for the poor which one is required to give for
Purim, should not be given earlier, lest the poor partake of
them before Purim; in which case the giver will not have
fulfilled his obligation (though in any event the general
Mitzvah of Tzedakah would apply before Purim.)
is not strict with the poor on Purim in determining whether they
are needy or not. Whoever puts out his hand is to be given a
gift. If one fails to find poor persons in his place, he sets
the intended gifts aside till he encounters poor people. Women
are also obligated to give gifts to the poor on Purim.