פורים תשע"ט

Halachic Digest


Compiled by Rabbi Yoseph Vigler & Rabbi Mendel Zirkind

Edited by Rabbi Y. Zirkind ע"ה

Comments welcome and appreciated



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לעלוי1ק בן הרב אליעזר צבי זאב צירקינד ז”ל


חודש אדר


  • “משנכנס אדר מרבין בשמחה”. The entire month we add simcha, since in this month מידת הדין was overturned into רחמים.  We increase happy activities, even with music and dancing throughout the month.

  • Lawsuits or court-related matters with Goyim are best in Adar as the mazal of Yidden is strong.

  • Adar is an auspicious time for weddings.


ד' פרשיות

  • The Shabbos before Purim (ויקרא) we lain Parshas Zachor to remember what Amalek did to us.

  • On Shabbos שמיני we lain Parshas Para.

  • The following Shabbos (Rosh Chodesh Nissan) we lain Parshas Hachodesh.

  • There are varying customs whether we say אב הרחמים on Parshas Zachor and Para.

  • Those weeks we do not add the extra parsha of ד’ פרשיות to the reading of שנים מקרא.   

  • If the מנין forgot the extra Parsha by Shacharis, there are various opinions if it could be read before mincha


Shabbos Zachor

  • Hearing Zachor (and Para according to some) is d’oraisa and effort is made to hear it with a Minyan..

  • Even those who allow children under bar mitzvah to be called for maftir, don’t allow it for Parshas Zachor.

  • Men refrain from המוציא, מזונות (and alcohol) more than a K’beitza (58 grams) before hearing laining.

  • If you missed Zachor, you could have in mind to fulfil your obligation at Purim laining.

  • Some say you may even have in mind to be Yotzeh when we read Zachor later in the year in כי תצא.

  • Some hold that the חיוב  extends to women too and they should also be present in Shul.

  • Women who tend to kids and cannot attend Shul may read Zachor in a Chumash. Other women and girls should go to Shul to hear Parshas Zachor.

  • Having a special laining for women only is a dispute amongst the Poskim; ask a Rov.

  • You can make a special laining for an individual man who didn’t hear laining (without saying a Beracha), since his chiyuv is definitely דאורייתא.

  • If one doesn't have a minyan, at least lain Parshas Zachor from a Chumash (or Sefer Torah) with the trop.

  • Since מצוות צריכים כוונה have in mind to be Yotzeh remembering Amalek when listening to Zachor

  • A Megillah scroll is not muktzah on Shabbos if one wishes to practice laining.


Wednesday, 13 Adar, תענית אסתר

Beginning of the Fast

  • After going to sleep the night of the Taanis, even if you wake up in the middle of the night, you may not eat (but you may drink) - unless you declared your intention to do so before going to sleep or if you are always accustomed to wake up and eat.

  • Even if one didn’t go to sleep yet, it is forbidden to start eating המוציא or מזונות or alcoholic beverages (more than a Kebitza) from a half hour before Alos.

  • However, if one did eat after waking up, bedieved, as long as it is still before Alos, one could still say Anenu.

  • The fast begins at alos hashachar, 5:33am in NYC.

  • No brushing teeth / mouthwash, (unless one is very sensitive, and he should be careful not to swallow).


Who does not fast?

  • One who is ill and mothers within 30 days of birth, pregnant and nursing women - need not fast.

  • There are leniencies for those who find fasting difficult. A Rov should be consulted.

  • One should not seek an excuse not to fast, in order not to be Porash Min Hatzibur.  

  • Even those who don’t need to fast should not eat for pleasure (e.g. meat, wine, nosh).

  • If there is a bris, the father of the boy, the mohel and the Sandak, can eat after the bris.

  • A Chosson and Kalla during the 7 days of Sheva Berachos need not fast.



  • Slichos are said even by those who are not fasting.


מחצית השקל

  • מחצית השקל is given before Mincha.

  • The Gabbaim prepare 3 half shekel (half dollar) coins. Some use half dollar coins of 9.6 grams of pure silver.

  • It is best to pay the value of the silver - approximately $5 for 9 grams although the amount fluctuates.

  • If one doesn’t have silver half dollar coins, one could substitute with any regular half dollar coins.

  • If half dollar coins are unavailable, three one dollar coins (or bills) could be used.

  • Some say it is best to distribute the funds to the poor, especially Talmidei Chachamim.  Others allocate it to a Beis Medrash, a “miniature בית המקדש”, and thus closest in comparison to the original Machtzis hashekel.

  • Since Haman offered 10,000 silver coins to the king to kill us we preempt him by giving coins away for tsedaka.

  • We give specifically THREE half shekels to represent

  1. The three times the word "Truma" is mentioned in the Possuk.

(b) The three days that Ester and the people fasted.

  • Those over 20 give. Preferably from bar mitzvah.

  • Some hold that even a woman is obligated but the custom is for the husband to give on her behalf.

  • The prevalent custom is for every father to give separate 3 coins for each of his male (and some even for the female) children, and if his wife is pregnant, to give for the unborn child as well.

  • It is best to educate kids to give Machatzis Hashekel from their own money.

  • If a father gave for a child one year, he must continue every year, unless he expressly stipulated otherwise.

  • If the father, at any point, stops giving on behalf of his children, they are obligated to start giving themselves.

  • The money for Machtzis hashekel should not be from Ma’aser.



  • The parsha of ויחל is read.

  • Since it is Erev Purim, we omit Tachanun and Avinu Malkenu.

  • The minyan says Anenu in Shma Kolenu.

  • Anyone not fasting for whatever reason does not say Anenu.

  • If you forget to say Anenu, you say it after "אלוקי נצור", before the second "יהיו לרצון". 

  • If you forgot totally, you don’t go back and repeat Shmoneh Esrei.

  • You should only accept an aliya if you are fasting.


Fast ends

  • In NYC, the fast ends at 7:35pm.


Earliest time for Megillah

  • In extenuating circumstances eg when laining for someone who is ill, one may lain, with the brochos, from 4 minutes after sunset ie 7:11pm in NYC

  • When there is absolutely no other choice one may lain, with the brochos, from plag hamincha 5:55pm in NYC

  • This heter only applies where there is no choice. Anyone who is able to, should have in mind to hear the megillah again at the right time



Dressing up

  • Yom Tov clothing are worn on Purim.

  • Children are encouraged to get into the spirit of Purim by dressing up in costumes.

  • To dress up as or act as Haman is not constructive for chinuch.

  • Wearing the opposite gender's clothing, while the Ramah is matir, many Poskim say not to.

  • Be careful as some costumes may contain Shatnez. (Especially hats or military costumes from Eastern Europe).


ועל הניסים

  • ועל הניסים is added in Shmoneh Esrei.

  • You do not lechatchila skip Ve’al hanissim to catch up to answer Kedusha or Modim.

  • If you forgot ועל הניסים and remembered before Hashem’s name in the bracha  הטוב שמך ולך נאה להודות, go back.

  • If you already said Hashem’s Name, do not go back. But before the second יהיו לרצון add the following: "הרחמן הוא יעשה לנו ניסים ונפלאות כמו שעשה לאבותינו בימים ההם בזמן הזה". And then continue “בימי מרדכי...”

  • Likewise in bentching, if you forgot ועל הניסים – if you remembered before saying “Hashem” in the bracha על הארץ ועל המזון, go back. If not, then before הרחמן הוא יזכנו, add the following: "הרחמן הוא יעשה לנו ניסים ונפלאות כמו שעשה לאבותינו בימים ההם בזמן הזה". And then continue “בימי מרדכי...”

  • If you forgot ועל הניסים totally in bentching or in Shmoneh Esrei, you do not go back.


Megillah laining

  • If you haven't yet given מחצית השקל, you may still do so now before Megillah at night or before the reading of Megillah by Shachris.

  • Before reading the Megillah three brochos are said על מקרא מגילה, שעשה ניסים, שהחיינו.

  • The megillah should be opened and folded like a scroll (איגרת) to remind us of the miracle.

  • At the Minyan, the בעל קורא should read standing. If one is weak he may lean on the Bimah. Also, the Minyan is allowed to be מוחל their honor and allow the בעל קורא to sit. If one is reading for individuals, he is allowed to sit, but the brochos need to be said while standing.

  • The people listening should stand while the brochos are being said.

  • One who is being Yotze should not answer Baruch Hu u’varuch Shemo, but answer amen.

  • The megillah should be lained with “trop” notes.

  • Special care must be taken to read properly. A mistake that changes the meaning of the word, invalidates the Keriah. One should also beware of  words that have a קרי וכתיב and those that are read twice with variations.

  • The entire megillah has to be heard.

  • If you missed even one word, you have to hear the reading again from the part that you missed.

  • Therefore, if you missed a word, even if you don’t have a kosher Megillah, read it by heart or from a printed megillah until you catch up to the Chazan and continue listening.

  • One should follow along in a Megillah, so that if he misses a word he can make it up, However he should not verbalize the words. (If he has a Kosher Megillah, he can verbalize the words if he does not disturb others).

  • A microphone may not be used for Megillah because the voice is mechanical, not the voice of the Baal Koreh.

  • If you find a פסול in the Megillah during laining you may continue bedieved -  as long as the majority of the megillah is kosher

  • If one who heard the Megillah already is laining for others, preferably one of the listeners should say the Brachos but change the first Bracha to לשמוע מקרא מגילה (and have in mind anybody else there).

  • If a man is laining for a group of women, it is best for a woman to make the brochos and have the others in mind. She would say לשמוע מקרא מגילה. (Some hold that each one should say their own brocho).

  • Some make noise every time Haman's name is mentioned, while others only do so only when Haman’s name is mentioned with a title (e.g. בן המדתא, המן הרע).

  • After the laining the chazan says the bracha הרב את ריבנו. Some roll the Megillah before or during the bracha; others say the Bracha first. We then say שושנת יעקב and ואתה קדוש followed by kaddish without תתקבל and Alenu.

  • The megillah is optimally read in a Minyan. If this can't be done, one could read for even one person who didn’t hear. However the brocho “הרב את ריבנו” should be said only in a minyan.


Seudah by night

  • Purim night, there is no חיוב of a Seudah but it is desirable to have one, with a set table and lit candles.

  • Some are מקפיד not to eat meat tonight.

  • Some eat on Purim (food made from) seeds to commemorate the seeds Ester ate to avoid eating Treif.


Laining by day

  • One should not eat before the Megillah. In case of need, one may eat other foods, but not המוציא or מזונות (or alcoholic beverages) more than a K’beitza.

  • When the Baal Koreh bentches the bracha of  שהחיינו before the Megillah, everyone should have in mind to be  יוצא with this שהחיינו all four mitzvos of Purim – Megillah, Seudah, Mishloach manos and Matanos la’evyonim.

  • There are varying customs if the Sefer Torah is returned to the Aron before the Megillah or after ובא לציון.

  • We hear the Megillah while wearing Tefillin.


Purim day

  • Everyone, men and women, is מחוייב in all mitzvahs of Purim. I.e. to hear the Megillah both by night and day, and משלוח מנות, מתנות לאביונים, סעודת פורים which have to be done during the daytime of Purim.

  • Encourage and help other Jews to fulfill the Mitzvos of Purim.

  • We don't do manual labor on Purim, (unless it's needed for Purim).

  • A goy may work for you on Purim


משלוח מנות

  • There are two primary reasons for Shalach Manos –

  1. To ensure that everyone has everything they need for Purim. We give to wealthy people too, so that there is no embarrassment involved

  2. To prove we are one, באחדות , contrary to Haman’s accusation that we are divided

  3. You give two foods (at least a כזית each) or a food and drink (at least a רביעית) ready to eat, to at least one person (according to some, who is over Bar/Bas Mitzvah).

  • It is best to give (to at least one person) a sizeable Shalach Manos, that contains food (at least) the size of 3 Kebeitza (172 gram).

  • There is no limit to how many people one may give to.

  • Men should only give to men and women to women.

  • A husband and wife, each have their own individual obligation to give Shalach Manos and Matanos L'evyonim.

  • The mishloach manos need to be given on the day of Purim. There are varying opinions if one is יוצא if it’s sent before and it arrives on Purim.

  • Ideally, one should not give shalach manos directly rather give it through a שליח , so that it is regarded as sending (Mishloach means sending). Your Shliach who takes the shalach manos can even be a child. However using a שליח is not מעכב.

  • Some say that you are not Yotze the mitzvah Manos if you are giving it in return for a favor once received. You should at least give to one person just for the sake of the mitzvah.

  • If you are buying new dishes (just) to send along with Shalach Manos, the one who receives it should טובל it. Notify them that it needs to be Toiveled.

  • You do not send to an אבל (within 12 months of a parent’s passing רח"ל or within 30 days for other relatives). A Rov who is in avelus may receive Shalach Manos.

  • However, the אבל  must fulfill the mitzvah of Shalach Manos by sending to someone else. (His shalach manos should not be too fancy though).

  • Children should be taught to fulfill the mitzvah themselves and give to other children


מתנות לאביונים

  • You give to at least two poor people.

  • The minimum amount is a quarter to each poor person. It is best to give (to at least 2 poor people each) enough money with which they can buy bread the size of 3 Kebeitza (172 grams).

  • The minimal amount of Matanos L'evyonim should not be given from Maser money.

  • Although it is a Mitzvah to send Shalach Manos to many friends, it is better to increase in Matanos l'evyonim more than Shalach Manos

  • Men may give to women and vice versa.

  • The more you give the better.

  • כל הפושט יד נותנים לו – Whoever stretches his hand is given money.

  • According to some, one is Yotze by giving money before Purim, if the money reaches the recipient on Purim.

  • If there are no poor people around, make a Shliach to give for you, or designate the money on Purim for the poor and give it to them after purim.


Seudas Purim

  • The prevailing custom is to have the Seudah after Mincha.

  • It is proper to learn a little Torah before the Seudah.

  • The main part of Seudas Purim should be by day, even if it continues into the night. At the very least begin the Seudah before sunset.

  • There are varying opinions if there is an obligation to eat bread (or meat) by this seudah.

  • If you wash, then even if the Seudah ended later that night, you would still say ועל הניסים  in bentching.

  • However, if you davened Maariv during the Seudah, you no longer say ועל הניסים  in bentching.

עד דלא ידע

  • Simchas Purim is עד דלא ידע. One should still drink responsibly and only out of יראת שמים.

  • Purim Torah does not mean mockery or false Torah chas veshalom. Rather it means dwelling on more superficial concepts that enhance the simcha.

  • One should make sure not to forget to bentch, and to Daven Maariv.

  • All four mitzvos of Purim may be fulfilled until sunset, or bedieved till Tzeis.


שושן פורים

  • No תחנון

  • We increase in festivity and Simcha


Seudas Purim in Yerushalayim (for those who have the zechus to be there)

  • Purim is on Friday in Yerushalayim

  • Because of Shabbos, the seudah should be held before Chatzos (11:50am) in honor of Shabbos.

  • If this is not possible, begin the seudah before the tenth hour (2:49pm).

  • If this is also not possible one may begin until lichtbentchen

  • If the seudah continues into Shabbos, we do פורס מפה ומקדש as follows:

  • After candle lighting, stop eating

  • Cover all Challah and bread

  • Say שלום עליכם and אשת חיל

  • Make kiddush. Don’t recite the brocho of hagefen if you already drank wine during this meal

  • Eat challah (kebeitza or at least a kezayis) but don’t recite hamotzi again

  • When you bentch say על הניסים AND רצה

  • Daven Kabolas Shabbos and Maariv


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