Project Genesis

Mitzvos (Commandments)


Matanot La’evyonim - Giving to the Poor on Purim

Question: My question is about giving to the poor on Purim. Now, I am fairly poor myself, and my family is having hard times as it is. Would it be appropriate to donate an item like food, clothing, or something else that would be useful (that my family isn’t using), instead of giving money?

Answer: The mitzvah of giving to the poor on Purim is based on the following verse in the book of Esther:

“Mordechai….sent letters to all the Jews…charging them…to observe them as days of feasting and gladness, and sending delicacies to one another, and gifts to poor people” (Esther chapter 9, verses 16-19).

As you can see from the verse, it says “gifts,” which includes things other than money (but doesn’t, of course, exclude giving money). The minimum requirement is to give, on the day of Purim, one gift each to two different poor people.

I hope this answers your question.


Rabbi Ari Lobel

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