Sunday, March 9, 2014

Zecher Lemahatzit Hashekel

Zecher Lemahatzit Hashekel
Day: Sunday
Date: March 9, 2014
Parshat: Tzav, Zachor
Source: Yalkut Yosef: 692

Anyone who has not given the zecher lemahatzit hashekel before Purim should give it before the Megila reading. One should be careful not to refer to the zecher lemahatzit hashekel as mahatzit hashekel. One should give an amount of money equal to the value of 9 grams, or about 1/3 of an ounce, of pure silver. This means that the amount we are required to give fluctuates from year to year. As of this writing it is approximately seven dollars. While giving cash or a check are fine, ideally one should give it using three coins since in Parshat Shekalim it says "terumat Hashem" three times. In most synagogues these coins are available to purchase for the price of the zecher lemahatzit hashekel. Someone who can't afford to give the value of the silver can give an actual half shekel coin. Anyone over twenty is required to give the zecher lemahatzit hashekel. Some Poskim say that once a child reaches bar mitzvah he also required to give it. One should ideally also give a separate one for each child in the household. Therefore the father of a family of five should ideally give five times the value of 9 grams of pure silver. One for himself, one for his wife, and one for each of the children. If he is not able to do so he should give the half shekel for himself and he should give a little more (even just a few cents) for the rest of his household.

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