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PURIM EVENTS

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MISHLOACH MANOT

Mishloach Manot: Click here to place your order! This year, a portion of your contribution (for those giving to the entire shul) will help support NATAL, Israel's premier trauma support organization. The deadline to order is March 12, 2024.  Matanot L'Evyonim donations can be made at the same time or separately here.

We are looking for volunteers to help with delivering Mishloach Manot. Click here to sign up.

Please Note: BDJ Mishloach Manot are very meaningful and convey the spiritual value of warmth that we as a shul family hold dear. But they do not officially fulfill the mitzvah of Mishloach Manot. It is essential that in addition to the BDJ Mishloach Manot that you send, that you also deliver at least one Mishloach Manot gift to another Jew on Purim day. This package should contain at least two types of food that are ready to be eaten. The reason for this is because Mishloach Manot must be sent איש אל רעהו, 'one person to another'-- meaning not through an organization or in partnership with others. Thank you for bringing joy to our BDJ friends both through our communal shul Mishloach Manot and through the mitzvah of Mishloach Manot.

PURIM HALACHA HOW-TOS

Ta'anit Esther - Thursday, March 21:

When Purim falls out on Sunday, Ta'anit Esther is on the Thursday preceding Purim. The fast will begin at 5:42 AM. Shacharit with Selichot and Torah reading will be at 6:30 AM, and Mincha/Ma'ariv will be at 6:35 PM. The fast ends at 7:34 PM.

Saturday Night / Sunday Observance of Purim: 

While celebrating Purim on a Sunday is terrific, the Saturday night piece needs some special attention. Shabbat will end at 7:46 PM (yes, we’ll be in Daylight Savings already), and we need to transition directly into Purim.

Quick fun Purim fact (credit to the Hebrew Calendar Facts Facebook group):  "The US and Canada started DST in March beginning in 2007 (before that, it started in April, so Purim was never in DST).  Since then, Purim has been on a Saturday night during DST twice: 2011 and 2014.  This will be the third time."

(1)  Saturday Night Megillah Readings:  We’ll begin at 8:15 pm sharp with the family-friendly Megillah reading in the main shul, and a parallel reading in the social hall. As men and women alike are obliged to hear Megillah, and we know that 8:15 pm will be too late to bring some of the kids, we will also have an additional reading at 9:30 pm to allow parents to switch off.  Please see the special Halachik note below about this reading.

(3)  Delivering Mishloach Manot: Mishloach Manot is specifically a daytime Mitzvah, thematically connected to the Purim Seudah (festive meal). If you need, for reasons of convenience, to deliver some of your Mishloach Manot on Saturday night (or earlier in the week), please ensure that you deliver at least ONE on Sunday itself, to properly fulfill the Mitzvah.

Please Note: BDJ Mishloach Manot are very meaningful and convey the spiritual value of warmth that we as a shul family hold dear. But they do not officially fulfill the mitzvah of Mishloach Manot. This is the reason that they may be delivered to you during the week preceding Purim, depending upon the schedules of our volunteer drivers.  (P.S. - Have you signed up to deliver yet?) It is essential that in addition to the BDJ Mishloach Manot that you send, that you also deliver at least one Mishloach Manot gift to another Jew on Purim day. This package should contain at least two types of food that are ready to be eaten. The reason for this is because Mishloach Manot must be sent איש אל רעהו, 'one person to another'-- meaning not through an organization or in partnership with others.

(4) Matanot L’evyonim: Halacha calls for these monies to be distributed to the poor on Purim day itself. To facilitate this, we will again be sending the Matanot L’evyonim contributions that you have made through the online form, to Yad Eliezer in Israel, which will distribute these funds in Israel on Purim. 

(5)  Purim Seudah: The Purim Seudah does not need to be completed before sundown on Sunday (7:13 pm), but it does need to be significantly underway by then (best to start at least a half hour before sundown). This shouldn't be as much of an issue this year but if it is, be sure to have at least a small afternoon meal which includes bread (and meat, if you are a meat eater) before sundown.  

(6)  Mincha/Maariv: Anticipating that many people will be starting their Seudah somewhere around 5:30 pm, we have adjusted the Mincha and Ma'ariv times for Purim day. Mincha will be at 4:45 pm, and Ma'ariv will be at 8:00 pm.  

(7) The Minhag of Machazit Hashekel: It is customary, prior to (or on) Purim, to remember the mitzvah of the half-shekel that was performed at this time of year when the Temple stood in Jerusalem. The half-shekel was the annual contribution for the purchase of the communal offerings. The customary procedure is the following: First, place (at least) $1.50 in the plate. Then, lift 3 of the half-dollar coins, symbolically purchasing them. Finally, return the 3 half-dollar coins to the plate. This final step symbolizes the giving of the half-shekel. Many have the custom of giving the half-shekel for each one of the members of their families

AN IMPORTANT NOTE FROM RAV YOSEF REGARDING MEGILLAH

 As you will notice on the Purim night schedule, one of the three scheduled readings will be done by our dear friend Sara Smith. A word of halachik background is appropriate.

The Shulchan Aruch rules that men may fulfill their obligation through a women’s reading of the Megillah. This is based upon the Talmud (Megillah 19b and Arachin 2a-b) which rules that women and men are equally obligated in the reading of the Megillah, and that women may therefore discharge the obligation of men in this regard. Among the Rishonim (medieval authorities), this is the halachik position endorsed by Rashi, Rambam, Meiri, and Or Zarua. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef endorses this position as well.

The Shulchan Aruch also cites an alternative opinion which holds that a man cannot fulfill his obligation through a woman’s reading. This opinion is based on a Tosefta which doesn’t explain the basis of its ruling. Some understand the Tosefta as being uncomfortable with the propriety of such an arrangement, and others posit that the Tosefta is assuming that while a man is obligated to read the Megillah, woman are only obligated to hear it being read.

This disparity in obligation would preclude a woman being able to read Megillah for a man. Tosafot, Mordechai and others rule in accordance with the Tosefta. And while this difference of opinion persists, leading to a general practice that men are the readers when there are men among the listeners, there is a substantial group of Achronim (later authorities) who rule that the Tosefta’ s position only pertains to the daytime reading of the Megillah, through which the essential Mitzvah of Megillah is fulfilled. The nighttime reading, according to these Achronim, is done in order to achieve “pirsumai nissa” (publicly declaring the miracle), which is an obligation that falls equally upon men and women (as is does, for example, regarding Chanukah lighting). These Achronim therefore rule that even according to the second opinion cited in the Shulchan Aruch, men may fulfill their obligation at night through a woman’s reading.

Needless to say, there are those who disagree with the position of these Achronim as well, and men should make their own decision as to which of the readings they would like to attend. To be clear though, I feel very comfortable offering Sara’s reading as a valid halachik option. 

Sun, March 3 2024 23 Adar I 5784