12 Adar II 5771 – Mar. 18, 2011 – Perashat Sav
Maghen Abot – e”H Ribi Mordekhai Lebhar s”t
Halakhot of Purim
13. Giving Zekher leMa’ha’sit Hasheqel
The minhag was to simply give as remembrance to the mahasit hasheqel an amount corresponding to half the value of the local unit of currency, e.g. in Morocco, half a riyal or dirham, and in Canada, half a dollar, and not the value of a half sheqel’s weight in pure silver. (1)
Ribi David ‘Obadia writes that the preferable minhag is not to buy three silver coins from the gabai of the synagogue in order to perform the misva. (2) However, some suggest that since it is known that one is buying the coins in order to fulfill the misva, it is given with full intention of acquisition.
(1) See Ribi David ‘Obadia (Nahagu Ha’am, Purim). This is in contrast to what the Kaf Hahayim writes that the custom is to give according the the value of silver, see Hazon ‘Obadia who writes that this is the prevalent custom nowadays, however, many Aharonim do not mention this stringency, see Bet Yehuda ‘Ayash (Siman 693) who writes that one only has to give half a coin of the common currency, we are mahmir to give three coins as theTora uses the word “Teruma” (“donation”) three times in the section dealing with the Mahasit Hasheqel, and the first time Bené Yisrael paid the “Mahasit Hasheqel,” when they constructed the Mishqan, they donated three half-sheqels. It is therefore preferable to pay three half-dollars for the “Zekher Lamahasit Hasheqel” to commemorate this initial “Mahasit Hasheqel” donation.
(2) See Raibi David ‘Obadia (ibid.) who writes that the reason for not engaging in this practice is that the transaction is a farce, as the gabai only sells the coins to the congregants to be given to sedaqa as mahasit hasheqel, and he sells the same three coins to each congregant. These are not true business transactions according to halakha and the result is that the congregant has not actually bought the coins, which also means that he has not fulfilled his obligation of giving them to sedaqa as he cannot give what is not his. See alsoBe-ur Halakha to Orah Hayim 694:1.
14. A Mourner on Purim
One is forbidden from publicly expressing signs of mourning on Purim (1) as on Shabat, though some write that if Purim is the first day of one’s mourning period he may show his status as a mourner publicly. (2) Accordingly, a mourner is required to send Mishloah Manot on Purim. However, one who is not in mourning may not send MishloahManot to a mourner, as it is forbidden to greet a mourner. (3)
(1) Though Maran in Orah Hayim (696:4) rules that all the halakhot of mourning apply on Purim, in Yoré De’a he rules that on Purim while a private expression of mourning is permitted; a public show of mourning is forbidden. The minhag follows his ruling in Yoré De’a; see also his writings in Bet Yosef Orah Hayim 696.
(2) See Ribi David HaKohen Skali of Debdou (Qiriat David Hana Heleq 2, Chapter 88).
(3) See Ribi Refael Barukh Toledano (Qisur Shulhan ‘Arukh 524).
Netibot Hama’arab – e”H Ribi Eliyahou Bitton s”t
Customs of Purim
28. On Purim some have the minhag to bake breads with an egg in the middle and eat them at the se’uda (demonstrated below) in order to have bread and fulfil the se’uda of Purim according to halakha which is a very important misva. The reason we add an egg is to remind a mourner to guard his seriousness even on Purim, it is also for us to remember the Bet Hamiqdash even in our greatest joy.
Our Holy Sages, Hazal, teach us that “One who studies [at least] two laws daily is guaranteed a portion in the world to come.” -Masekhet Meghila 28b