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In Melbourne Shabbat begins Fri 10 Apr 2020 05:41 PM and ends Sat 11 Apr 2020 06:40 PM

Hilchos Purim

ג' אדר ה' אלפים תשס"ט


In the period between the destruction of the First Beis Hamikdosh in Jerusalem by the Babylonians (586 B.C.E.) and the Return to Tzion (later that same century), the Persians defeated the Babylonians and became ascendant in the Middle East. Most of the Jewish people, recently exiled from the land of Israel by the Babylonians, or previously exiled by the Assyrians, now lived in the huge Persian Empire. Megilat Esther relates how the Jews are threatened with annihilation by Haman, advisor to King Ahashverosh, for the moral steadfastness of Mordechai, but are miraculously saved by Hashem through Queen Esther’s intervention. The Jews are victorious over the enemies and their welfare is advanced.

PARSHAS ZACHOR (Shab 7th March)

Parshas Zachor (Deuteronomy 25:17) is read on the Shabbos prior to Purim. It is a Biblical obligation for all males above bar mitzvah to hear the reading of Parshas Zachor in the presence of a minyan.

Women should make every effort to hear the laining as well. Those listening to the reading of Zachor must have in mind to fulfil their obligation through the ba'al koreh. The latter must have in mind that the listeners will be yotze through him.


The Fast of Esther commemorates the fast assumed by the Jewish people prior to battle. The fast is normally observed on Adar 13; or Adar 11 (Thursday), when Purim occurs on Sunday. Every healthy person should fast on Ta’anis Esther. Avinu Malkenu and Tachanun are not recited during Mincha except when Ta’anis Esther is commemorated on Thursday, 11th Adar.

Machatzis Hashekel: It is customary for every male above the age of 20 (or 13 according to various opinions) to contribute 3 half dollars to tzedakah (commemorating the half shekels contributed to the Temple at this time of the year) prior to Mincha or on the morning of Purim day. A special plate is left in the Mizrachi shules for this purpose.

PURIM NIGHT (Mon 9th Mar-Adar 14)

Krias HaMegilah: All adults (post bar/bat mitzvah age) and children having reached an educable age, must hear the Megilah in Shul in the presence of the largest minyan possible.

The night’s reading may commence immediately after tzais hakochavim (halachic nightfall) and may be read until dawn.

The morning reading may commence with sunrise and may be fulfilled until sunset.
· Al Mikra Megilla
· Sheasa Nissim
· Shehechiayanu
Both the reader and listeners should stand during the recitation of the blessings.
The listeners must concentrate to fulfil their obligations and the reader must do the same on their behalf. NO talking may be done throughout the reading. One not possessing a KOSHER Megilah should not read along with the reader, but should listen in silence. It is customary to create noise when the name of Haman is read. Children should be brought to the reading of the Megilah assuming they can sit properly and not disturb the minyan.

PURIM DAY (Tue 10th Mar-Adar 14)

Purim Dress: Since Purim has so many of the “simanim” (tell-tale signs) of Yom Tov e.g. A Hallel-like expression of thanks expressed through reading the Megilah (Tractate Megilah 14a), Kri’as HaTorah and Seudah (in distinction to Chanukah), our Purim attire should be appropriate as well.

Shalach Manos: On Purim day every adult Jewish male and female must send at least two varieties of food requiring no further preparation to another individual. The foods may be canned, solid, liquid, etc. Shalach manos delivered on Purim night, does not fulfil one’s obligation. Two or more people may send a single shalach manos during the day assuming the amount sent is double the usual quality and worth. Shalach manos should be delivered via messenger if possible.

One who is in mourning is required to send Mishloah Manos, but may not receive from others.

Matanos La'evyonim: Please remember that on Purim day every adult (male & female over bar and basmitzvah age) must give money or food to at least two needy individuals. This amount should be sufficient for the recipient to purchase a Purim Seudah meal consisting of meat and wine/beer. The Poskim state that more money should be spent on Matanot La’evyonim than on shalach manos and one’s on Seudah (Mishnah Berurah 694:3). Please give your matanos la’evyonim to the office this week so that it can be distributed as required on Purim.

Seudas Purim: The festive meal is normally begun after Minchah and should be concluded primarily during the day, before sundown. (Rema, Orach Chaim 695:2)
The meal should be celebrated in a Yom Tov fashion: meat, wine, candles, etc. Birchas Hamazon, recited after dark but before ma’ariv having been davened, should include Al Hanissim.

Prayers: Al Hanissim is inserted into the S'hmoneh Esrai and Birchas Hamazon. If one forgot to recite it in its proper place (as specified in all siddurim) and recited the berachah following them, he does not return to the beginning nor repeats the Amidah.

Drinking: Whereas it has long been customary within Klal Yisroel to become intoxicated on Purim, drinking was never permitted to legislate or sanction behaviour unfitting for B’nai Torah. Therefore one must regulate his alcoholic intake and that of those around him. Sleep brought about by moderate wine intake fulfils this obligation. (Rema, Orach
Chaim 695, se’if 2)


· Yahrzeit for a relative who passed away in either Adar 1 or Adar 2 (in a year containing two Adars) is commemorated in Adar.
· The period of mourning by a child concludes after twelve months, even if the previous year had two Adars. Therefore, if some suffered a loss,חו"ש , of a parent in Adar 1 last year, the 12 months would have concluded in Shvat this year and the 11-month kaddish would have concluded in Tevet.

For a fairly thorough (but much more theoretical) treatment of the sources on which Purim is based see Rav Brofsky's Laws of Purim I, Laws of Purim II, and Laws of Purim III, on this website.


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