Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Saul Singer on The source for giving mishloach manot on Purim is the Megillah itself (Esther 9:19): and The Image of God and the Dignity of Work and Happy Purim to those not in walled Cities (most of the world ) and eat two Festive meals according to the Rama on Both Days of Purim (Meat and Wine on Two Days!!)

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Yehuda Lave, Spiritual Advisor and Counselor

Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher, and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money,  and spiritual engagement. Now also a Blogger on the Times of Israel. Look for my column

Love Yehuda Lave

Happy Purim to those not in a walled city, enjoy the day without needed to get drunk, just remember G-d did the miriacle through Wine.


A Case of Mistaken Identity


Nathan works for the Post Office and his job is to process mail that has been posted with incomplete or illegible addresses. One day, Nathan comes across a letter addressed in shaky handwriting to Hashem with no actual address on the envelope. So Nathan opens the envelope and reads the letter inside:

Dear Hashem
Shalom. I'm a widow of 79 and all I have to live on is a small pension. Unfortunately, someone stole my purse yesterday with $110 inside and this was all the money I had left until my next pension payment. As you know, Yom Kippur is approaching, and I have some friends coming over for a break the fast dinner. Without money, I can't buy any food or drink. I don't even have any family to help me out. You, dear God, are my only hope. Please can you help me?
Yours Sincerely,

Nathan is very touched and shows the letter to all his work colleagues. When they read it, each one generously gives Nathan a few dollars to donate to Sadie. Very soon, his collection reaches $100 and the Post Office workers feel very proud (and so they should) to have been able to help an old lady in distress. Nathan puts the money carefully in an empty envelope together with a short anonymous note:

Dear Sadie
Here is some money to make up for the stolen money. Enjoy!

He then addresses it to Sadie and posts it.

Soon after Yom Kippur ended, Nathan comes across another letter addressed to Hashem. So he opens it. It reads:

Dear Hashem
Shalom. How can I ever thank you enough for what you did for me? Because of your gift of love, I was able to put together a lovely meal for my friends. I told them of your wonderful gift and we had a super day thanks to you. By the way, there was $10 missing from the envelope – I only received $100. I think it might have been those shnorrers at the Post Office.

Ideas, that help explain how the world works

Impostor Syndrome: Fear of being exposed as less talented than people think you are, often because talent is owed to cumulative advantage rather than actual effort or skill.

The Image of God and the Dignity of Work

According to many newspaper and magazine articles, the number one fear of the millennial generation is living a meaningless life.

In a recent informal survey of undergraduate students at Regent University, 27 percent of students asked expressed anxiety when considering their vocation. "Scared," "uneasy," "unsure," "confused," and "apprehensive" were common words in describing the way they felt about their future vocation.

But college students aren't the only ones struggling with their calling. Many adults fail to discover their calling in life, too. Why is it so hard to find this thing we call our "vocation"?

When I use the words "calling" and "vocation," I am referring to what is called our secondary calling.

Every person is created in the image of G-d, full of dignity, with unique talents and gifts to use for the glory of G-d in their work. Many people fail to discover their vocation because they don't fully understand what it means to be made in the image of God.

Judaism believes we're all made in the image of God, but what does this mean? It's a complex idea.

The image of G-d is a foundational concept for understanding our significance and purpose in life. Understanding how we are made in G-d's image helps us understand our inherent dignity as a human being created by our heavenly Father.

Genesis 1:26-27 tells us that human beings are made in the image of G-d:

Then G-d said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." So G-d created man in his own image, in the image of G-d he created him; male and female he created them.

From these verses, we understand that our worth is connected to our Creator. If G-d is of great and inestimable worth, then human beings made in his image must have immense value too.

For example, in Genesis 9:6, G-d reminds Noah that man is made in G-d's image:

Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.

In other words, this verse tells us, "To attack a person is to attack G-d through his image-bearer.

So how we treat people indicates how we value G-d.

C. S. Lewis writes in his book The Weight of Glory: "There are no ordinary people. You have never met a mere mortal." The people you see every day, even the ones to whom you give little regard, will live forever either under salvation or judgment. Even the most obscure person is not ordinary in G-d's eyes.

In light of this truth, how do we affirm the dignity of the people around us?

No matter what we have done, G-d gives us the opportunity for Repentance. To deny or fail to acknowledge this truth is to say that G-d's Repentance is in vain. Certainly it is right to take time for self-examination, confession, and repentance. But we should eventually come back to our own dignity from being made in the image of G-d.

Being made in the image of G-d provides the basis for our work and vocation. If we are made in the image of G-d, we share his characteristics. For example, because G-d is creative, we can be creative in our work. Knowing the basis for our dignity and worth helps us understand we have gifts and talents to employ. I have conducted hundreds of vocational profiles with people who hadn't discovered their calling because they didn't think they had anything to offer. Often, traumatic events from their past have defined their identity and kept them from recognizing their dignity, worth, and G-d-given creativity.

Yet when they realized the implications of being made in G-d's image, their outlook changed. I could see the change in their lives, as this truth—rather than their pasts—became the basis for their identities. As they understood what it means to be made in the image of God, these people began to believe they were unique and talented. They realized how God had gifted them, and used this knowledge to find their vocations.

Being made in the image of God is a powerful concept for finding our vocations and living a purposeful life.

So obviously the bird in this story should have thought about work more:

A Bird on a Wire

Shmuel Gross's son Chaim Yankel lived overseas and as a gift Shmuel sent Chaim Yankel a gift of a rare bird. Not being a great expert in ornithology, Chaim Yankel thought the bird was a delicacy. When Shmuel called to see how Chaim Yankel enjoyed the gift he sent, Chaim Yankel replied, "Oh, the bird? I shechted it. It was delicious!"

Incredulous, Shmuel cried out, "You mean you ate the bird? Do you know how valuable it was? It could even speak two languages."

"So why didn't he say something?" asked Chaim Yankel.


The source for giving mishloach manot on Purim is the Megillah itself (Esther 9:19): "Therefore the Jews of the villages, who dwell in the unwalled towns, observe the 14th day of the month of Adar as a day of gladness and feasting and holiday, and of sending portions to one another" (emphasis added).

There are generally two principal reasons given for this beautiful mitzvah. First, it engenders unity and goodwill amongst Jews and serves as a powerful counterpoint to Haman's allegation in the Megillah (Esther 3:8) that the Jews are "a scattered and divided nation." Second, it constitutes a practical means of ensuring that every Jew has sufficient food for the festive Purim meal.

Read Saul Singer's entire article with his Pictures


Laws of Purim

1) Zecher L'Machatzit Hashekel: According to the Rama one must give at least 3 half-shekel coins. It is customary to give before Arvit Purim night.
 Who is obligated? Everyone. And it is customary to give for one's children and grandchildren as well.

• When? Purim night before megilla reading. If one forgot, he can give until the end of the month or whenever he remembers


2) Purim Night (tonight):
• Megilla reading (to publicize the miracle) – at night and during the day.
• Who is obligated? Both men and women equally.
• One must have in mind to fulfill his obligation.
• One must hear every word. If one misses a word, he must recite the words in order from his own megilla, even if it is a printed version. (One may not go backwards in order to make up what was missed.)
• It is customary to recite aloud the four verses of redemption and the megilla reader recites it after.
• If one cannot go to shul, he must read the megilla at home from a kosher megilla scroll. If there is no possibility of reading or having someone read to him from a kosher scroll, one can fulfill their obligation by reading from a printed book without a beracha.

III. Al Hanissim:
• Amida: If the Al Hanissim prayer is forgotten in one's Amida: if he has already recited Hashem's name at the closing of the beracha he does not repeat the prayer, but he can make up for it before yehiyu l'ratzon at the end of the Amida prayer. 
•  Birkat Hamazon: If one forgot Al Hanissim but remembered at the end of the beracha, he can make it up in the Harachamans towards the end of the bentching.


IV. Matanot L'evyonim:
• The mitzva is two matanot (in the form of food or money) to two needy or poor people. It should be tzedakah in the amount sufficient to purchase at least a small meal, like one consisting of a falafel and a drink.
• The matanot can be given to the Rabbi or gabbai of the shul so that they can distribute them on Purim day.
• When? Lechatchila they should be given on Purim day after Megilla reading.


V. Mishloach Manot:
• Two mishlochim to one person so as to increase peace and enhance friendship. Hence, the food must be already cooked and ready to eat. Sending via a messenger is also permissible.
• When? On Purim day (this year it is best to do it early in the day).
• Do not give anonymously since the idea is to to increase peace and enhance friendships.
• It is customary not to give mishlochim to people in mourning. (If a mourner is given a mishloach he can accept happily).
• A mourner in his shiva days of mourning gives mishloach manot, but should refrain from giving too many (one is enough), and keep the mishloach manot small.


VI. Purim Seuda:

• It is a mitzva to have a full seuda, to include wine and meat, and to eat, drink, and be merry. (It is preferable to eat bread but if it is difficult, one is not obligated.)
• How much should one drink? In my opinion, one should drink a little more than he usually does, provided that he does not become inebriated and then embarrass himself and act foolishly.
• One who normally drinks a lot on Purim has poskim on which to rely.
• One who does not drink at all also has on whom to rely as long as he can reach joy and feel happiness in the celebration of the day itself.

Purim Story in a Nutshell


The Persian empire of the 4th century BCE extended over 127 lands, and all the Jews were its subjects. When King Ahasuerus had his wife, Queen Vashti, executed for failing to follow his orders, he orchestrated a beauty pageant to find a new queen. A Jewish girl, Esther, found favor in his eyes and became the new queen—though she refused to divulge the identity of her nationality.

Meanwhile, the antisemitic Haman was appointed prime minister of the empire. Mordechai, the leader of the Jews (and Esther's cousin), defied the king's orders and refused to bow to Haman. Haman was incensed, and convinced the king to issue a decree ordering the extermination of all the Jews on the 13th of Adar—a date chosen by a lottery Haman made (hence the name Purim, "lots").

Mordechai galvanized all the Jews, convincing them to repent, fast and pray to G‑d. Meanwhile, Esther asked the king and Haman to join her for a feast. At the feast, Esther revealed to the king her Jewish identity. Haman was hanged, Mordechai was appointed prime minister in his stead, and a new decree was issued granting the Jews the right to defend themselves against their enemies.

On the 13th of Adar the Jews mobilized and killed many of their enemies. On the 14th of Adar they rested and celebrated.

How We Celebrate Purim

Though we dress up in holiday finery, Purim doesn't feature holiday work restrictions. Nonetheless, all the better if you can take the day off from work and focus on the holiday and its four special mitzvahs:

(Note: If you are spending Purim in Jerusalem, the laws vary. Click here for details.)

1. Hear the Megillah An ad hoc Megillah reading at a restaurant.

Head to your synagogue to hear the whole Megillah. The Megillah, a.k.a. "The Book of Esther," is the scroll that tells the Purim story. Listen to the public reading twice: once on Purim night, and again on Purim day. This year, that's Monday night, March 9 and Tuesday, March 10. Pay attention—it is crucial to hear every word.

When Haman's name is mentioned (Chabad custom is that this is only when it is accompanied with a title), you can twirl graggers (noisemakers) or stamp your feet to eradicate his evil name. Tell your kids that Purim is the only time when it's a encouraged to make noise during services!

The Megillah is read from a handwritten parchment scroll, using an age-old tune. Contact your local Chabad rabbi if for any reason you can't make it to your synagogue for the Megillah reading. He'll do his best to send a Megillah reader to your home or office.

2. Give to the Needy (Matanot LaEvyonim)

One of Purim's primary themes is Jewish unity. Haman tried to kill us all, we were all in danger together, so we celebrate together too. Hence, on Purim day we place special emphasis on caring for the less fortunate.

Give money or food to at least two needy people during the daylight hours of Purim, March 10. In case you can't find any needy people, your synagogue will likely be collecting money for this purpose. At least, place two coins in a charity box earmarked for the poor.

On Purim, we give a donation to whoever asks; we don't verify his or her bank balance first.

As with the other mitzvahs of Purim, even small children should fulfill this mitzvah.

3. Send Food Gifts to Friends (Mishloach Manot)

On Purim we emphasize the importance of friendship and community by sending gifts of food to friends.

On Purim day, March 10, send a package containing at least two different ready-to-eat food items and/or beverages (e.g., pastry, fruit, beverage) to at least one Jewish acquaintance during the daylight hours of Purim. Men send to men, and women to women.

It is preferable that the gifts be delivered via a third party. Children, in addition to sending their own gifts of food to their friends, make enthusiastic messengers.

4. Feast!

During the course of Purim day, March 10, gather your family, maybe invite a guest or two, and celebrate with a festive Purim meal. Traditionally, this meal begins before sundown and lasts well into the evening.

The table should be festively bedecked with a nice tablecloth and candles. Wash for bread or challah, and enjoy a meal featuring meat, wine and plenty of Jewish songs, words of Torah and joyous Purim spirit. Sing, drink, laugh, have fun together.

Note: When Purim falls on a Friday, out of deference to the approaching Shabbat, we start the meal earlier, ideally before midday.

Special Prayers

On Purim, we include the brief V'al Hanissim section in all the day's prayers, as well as in the day's Grace after Meals. This prayer describes the Purim story and thanks G‑d for the "miracles, redemptions, mighty deeds, saving acts and wonders" that He wrought for our ancestors on this day many years ago.

In the morning service there is a special Torah reading (Exodus 17:8–16), describing the battle Joshua waged against Amalek—Haman's ancestral nation—almost one thousand years before the Purim events unfolded. If you did not hear this reading on the Shabbat before Purim (see below), make sure to listen now.


On Purim, children—and some adventurous adults too—traditionally dress in costumes, an allusion to G‑d's hand in the Purim miracle, which was disguised by natural events. Make sure your children masquerade as good, cheerful characters, such as Mordechai and Esther.

Dress up your kids before taking them to the synagogue for the Megillah reading. Many synagogues have a masquerade party, along with prizes for the children, during or after the Megillah reading.

Before Purim: Torah Reading of Zachor

On the Shabbat before Purim (this year, March 7), a special reading is held in the synagogue. We read the Torah section called Zachor ("Remember"), in which we are enjoined to remember the deeds of (the nation of) Amalek (Haman's ancestor), who sought to destroy the Jewish people.

Before Purim: The Fast of Esther

To commemorate the prayer and fasting that the Jewish people held during the Purim story, we fast on the day before Purim. This year we fast on Monday, March 9. The fast begins approximately an hour before sunrise, and lasts until nightfall. Click here for exact times for your location.

Before Purim: The "Half Coins" (Machatzit HaShekel)

It is a tradition to give three coins in "half" denominations—e.g., three half-dollar coins—to charity, to commemorate the half-shekel that each Jew contributed as his share in the communal offerings in the time of the Holy Temple. This custom, usually performed in the synagogue, is done on the afternoon of the "Fast of Esther," or before the reading of the Megillah.

Shushan Purim

In certain ancient walled cities—Jerusalem is the primary example—Purim is observed not on the 14th of Adar (the date of its observance everywhere else), but on the 15th of Adar. This is to commemorate the fact that in the ancient walled city of Shushan, where the battles between the Jews and their enemies extended for an additional day, the original Purim celebration was held on the 15th of Adar.

The 15th of Adar is thus called "Shushan Purim," and is a day of joy and celebration also in those places where it is not observed as the actual Purim.

Useful Purim Links:

  • Click here for our mega-Purim site.
  • Here for a global Purim event directory.
  • Here for Purim FAQ.
  • Here for the story of Purim.
  • Here for Purim insight and inspiration.
  • Here for Purim stories.
  • Here for Purim multimedia.
  • Here for our Purim Kids' Zone.
  • Here for Purim shopping.
  • Here for Purim recipes

Do you need to eat Two Meals on Purim ?

Besides the Seudah of Purim is there a minhag to eat another meal in the morning before chatzos yom?


There is a custom to eat another meal in the morning, before chatzos. This is probably in deference to the opinions who write that one should eat the seudah early. However, many are not particular about practicing the minhag.

Sources: See Nit'ei Gavriel, chap. 70, no. 1, and siman 23 (at the end of the book). Although Shelah (Megillah) writes that the seudah should be eaten early in the day, the common custom is to eat after Minchah, which is the ruling of Rema; Yaavatz; Derech Hachaim; Kitzur Shulchan Aruch. Several sefarim write that this is the common custom: Teshuvah Me'ahavah (290); His'orerus Teshuvah (492); Eretz Tzvi (121), and others.


Have a Meal and Wine on the 14th and 15th of Adar

It is recorded that in ancient times, most cities in Eretz Yisrael read the Megilla on both the 14th and 15th of Adar, due to the concern that they may have had a wall around it in the days of Yehoshua.

In fact, there was once a custom to observe Purim exclusively on the 15th of Adar in any city which is mentioned in the Tanach and its environs.

As a result of these precedents, Rabbi Yechiel Michel Tukatchinsky writes that the Megilla should be read on both days of Purim in all the [modern-day] Biblical cities of Eretz Yisrael.

Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv has encouraged such communities to adhere to Rabbi Tukatchinsky's ruling in a number of published forums. As such, observing Purim on the 15th of Adar in Beit Shemesh is not a radical innovation, but rather, the application of normative halachic principle and the restoration of the original custom which existed prior to the renewal of modern settlement in Eretz Yisrael!

I don't need to worry about Beit Shemesh since I live in Jerusalem, but according to the Rama I should have a meal and wine on both days!! Sounds good to me.

See you Tomorrow on Shusan Purim -Happy Purim other places

Love Yehuda Lave

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

PO Box 7335, Rehavia Jerusalem 9107202


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