The Mitzvah of Matanot La’evyonim

The Daily Halacha Moment - The Mitzvah of Matanot La’evyonim 🤝💵


״כל השונה הלכות בכל יום - מובטח לו שהוא בן העולם הבא״ (נידה עג ע״א, מגילה כח:)


“Anyone who studies Halachot every day is guaranteed that he is destined for the world-to-come” (Megilla 28b, Niddah 73a)


Question:

What is matanot la’evyonim?


Answer:

The Gemara (Megillah 7a) writes one is obligated to give a gift to each of two poor people on Purim day. This is codified as Halacha by the Rambam, Tur/Shulchan Aruch (694:1). [1]


Matanot la’evyonim must be given during the day, preferably after the Megillah reading. If one gave it at night, he must give it again during the day. [2]


One may fulfill his obligation by giving the matanot la’evyonim to a poor person or someone else collecting money for a poor person before Purim day, and stipulating that the recipient should not take legal possession of the gift until Purim day. [3]


The gift may be either money or food. [4] One may not give objects or clothing. [5]


Sources:

[1]. Shulchan Aruch 694:1. See also Moed LeChol Chai 31:94 and Pele Yoetz, “Erech Purim,” which praise those who give a lot of charity on Purim day. Yalkut Yosef, Purim, p. 599 lists several reasons for giving matanot la’evyonim on Purim. Some of the reasons include: Since Purim is a day of rejoicing and being happy, we give charity to the poor so that the poor may also have a joyous day. Another reason is to enable the poor to afford a Purim seudah. Another reason is that Purim was established as a day to compensate for not giving charity the rest of the year. The Ritva on Megillah 7a writes that the primary purpose of matanot la’evyonim is to give people joy, which is also the reason one should give charity to anyone who asks. Another reason mentioned is because we are trying to reenact Bnei Yisrael’s actions from the Purim story, when they gave matanot la’evyonim as a sign of rejoicing for their salvation.

[2]. Magen Avraham 695:3; Kaf HaChaim 695:50; Mishnah Berurah 695:22; Chazon Ovadia, Purim, p. 169.

[3]. Aruch HaShulchan 695:17; Yalkut Yosef, Purim, p. 619; Divrei Yatziv, O.C. §293 & §298.

[4]. Rambam, Hilchot Megillah 2:16; Chazon Ovadia, Purim, p. 166. See Yalkut Yosef, Purim, p. 626,

which states that one may even give bread as a matanah.

[5]. Chazon Ovadia, Purim, p. 166.

See Laws Of The Holidays - Nacson p. 602-603.


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