Thursday, March 09, 2006

Gifts to Friends and the Poor

Mishloah Manot and Matanot La'evyonim

Q: Regarding the mitsvah of sending gifts to friends and to the poor on Purim - can this mitsvah be fulfilled at night, or must it be performed during the daytime only?

A: Both the mitsvah of Mishloah Manot (gifts to friends) and Matanot La'evyonim (gifts to the poor) are halachically viewed as component parts of the mitsvah to rejoice on Purim. Through sharing food with our friends and providing for the needy, we add a dimension to their happiness as well as our own. The mitsvah to celebrate on Purim applies only during the day, not at night; this is why the festive Purim meal, for example, is specifically held on Purim day. Thus, if the mitsvot of Mishloah Manot and Matanot La'evyonim are to accomplish their objective of enhancing our Purim joy, they must be performed when the mitsvah to celebrate is in effect - namely, during the daytime.

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