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Matanot L'evyonim and Machatzit HaShekel 2021

Monday, March 1, 2021 17 Adar 5781

All Day

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Matanot La'Evyonim:

We are obligated to perform the Mitzvah of “Matanot La’Evyonim” on Purim day which is the distribution of monetary gifts to two needy people.
As the CORONAVIRUS pandemic drags on, there are members of our community who have been affected economically either by job loss, decreased hours or decreased salary.  In order to address those needs, we will be directing a portion of the Matanot L’evyonim funds to those in our community who are in need.  
We will also continue to support the fund that we have traditionally worked with.
As I have written in years past, I am fortunate to know an individual who has made it his mission to fight poverty in Jerusalem. Every penny that is received in donations is distributed. There is NO overhead and they take NO money to cover their expenses. This is 100% tzedakah.
While there is not specific requirement as to how much to donate, it is preferable that it be enough for a person to purchase enough food for a Purim meal.
It is also preferable to spend more on Matanot La’Evyonim then on the Purim feast or Mishloach Manot.

Half Shekel:

It is customary to donate money before Purim as “a commemoration of the Half-Shekel” which was donated for the upkeep of the Beit Hamikdash.
This money is customarily collected on the eve of Purim before reading the Megillah, 
There are various customs as to how much money should be donated for the fulfillment of this practice. 
Some suggest that the amount be equal to the weight of the half shekel that was collected when the Beit Hamikdash stood - approx. 10 grams. Today that amounts to about $9. 
Others suggest that it should be three times that as the word “Teruma (donation)l” appears three times when discussing this donation.
Still others say that one should give three coins of half the currency of where one lives. In our case, three half dollars. 
Please select how much you would like to give for this Mitzvah. The funds are used to support the needy.
There are various opinions about the optimal time to give the machatzit hashekel. Although the Mishna Berura cites an opinion to do it before the morning reading of Megillat Esther, the more prevalent minhag is to give it before (or after) Mincha on the day before Purim, which is usually Ta’anit Esther. (Eretz Chemdah)
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Fri, February 26 2021 14 Adar 5781