The Laws of Purim


Tanit Esther (Fast of Esther)

Wednesday, Feb 28, 5:25am until after the Megillah reading

  • Both men and women, boys who have reached age 13, and girls after 12, must fast
  • Sick and elderly people are not required to fast.
  • Pregnant women who experience discomfort because of the fast may eat.

Zecher Lemachatzit Hashekel

  • Sephardim should give $5 per person before the megillah reading to tzedakah as a remembrance of the half a shekel given annually in the Bet Hamikdash at this time, to fund public sacrifices.
  • The Ashkenazi custom is to give three half-dollars to charity before the reading of the Megillah.

Megillah Reading

Wednesday, March 4, 6:00 p.m.

  • Both men and women are required to hear the Megillah read from a kosher Megillah - both on the night and on the day of Purim. Preferably, one should hear the Megillah read in the synagogue, or at least in the company of ten people to advertize the miracle. If that is not possible, one may read the Megillah him/herself or hear it from someone else privately. Children should be educated in hearing the Megillah, but they must be instructed to remain quiet so that the adults can hear every word.
  • Three berachot are said before reading the Megillah and one berachah after reading it. The berachah after the Megillah is said only if a Minyan is present.
  • One must hear the entire Megillah in order to fulfill the Mitzvah. If one missed hearing even one word, one does not fulfill the Mitzvah. If one misses a word, one should read from the Chumash or kosher Megillah the word he missed and the following words until he catches up to the one reading the Megillah.
  • One who is following the Megillah in a Chumash should not read aloud with the one who is reading the Megillah, but should merely follow the reading silently.
  • It is best if one follows the reading in his own kosher Megillah so if a word is missed one can make it up from their own Megillah.
  • The Al Hanissim is recited in the Amidah and in the Birkat Hamazon. If one omits it by mistake, one does not repeat it.

Join the Celebration!

Wednesday, February 28

Following the Megillah reading, join us the celebratory Seuda and contest for children. Send in a donation to be a sponsor.

The Mitzvot of Purim Day

Thursday, March 1

  1. The Megillah is read again during morning services at approximately 7.15 a.m. It may be read, when necessary, any time from sunrise (or if in great need, from seventy two minutes before sunrise) until sunset, with the berachot. Second megillah reading for everyone at 9:00 a.m.
  2. Matanot Laevyonim. It is a Mitzvah incumbent on both men and women on Purim to give a monetary gift or food to at least two poor people. This monetary gift should be enough to buy a decent lunch.
  3. Mishloach Manot. It is a Mitzvah to send at least two types of food or drink to at least one person on Purim Day. These foods must be ready to eat and must require no further preparation. The foods must be sent and received on Purim Day itself. The two foods must be two different kinds of food (such as two kinds of fruit, or cake and fruit, etc.).
  4. Seudat Purim. It is a Mitzvah to eat a substantial meal on Purim day before sunset. One should try to invite friends and relatives to enjoy this Seuda in a festive manner. One should drink wine at this meal, since the miracle of Purim came about through wine (Vashti was killed when Achashverosh got drunk, and Esther revealed Haman’s plot to Achashverosh at a wine party). One, however, should not imbibe to a point that he may, G-d forbid, say or do something contrary to Torah principles. It is good to nap after this meal.

Mincha on Purim day is at 5.30 pm