Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Matanot Le'evyonim

Matanot Le'evyonim
Day: Tuesday
Date: March 11, 2014
Parshat: Tzav, Zachor
Source: Yalkut Yosef: 694

There is a special mitzvah on Purim day to give gifts to the needy. This is called matanot le'evyonim. This mitzvah can be fulfilled by giving money, meals, or any other food and is fulfilled by giving one gift each to two needy people. It cannot be fulfilled by giving clothes or linens. Technically one may give a cent to each and he will have done the mitzvah. However a Gd fearing person should give generously at least enough for some bread and something to go with it to each person. One may give a needy couple food and thereby fulfill his requirement since they are two people. One may even fulfill his requirement by giving to needy children. On Purim one should not calculate the amount he gives or figure out whether to give each person who asks or not. Rather, anyone who asks should be given money. It is better for a person to spend more on matanot le'evyonim than on any other mitzvah of the day, including mishloach manot and the Purim meal. Very often people are focused on giving elaborate baskets and  spend hundreds of dollars on them, while they figure out the minimum amount they can get away with for matanot le'evyonim. One who does not do so, and instead gives generously is compared to the shechina about which it says: "who revives the spirit of the lowly, and who revives the heart of the fallen." (Isaiah 57: 15). The minimum amount should not be given from Maaser anything more than that may be.

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