The third “thing” we are to do to celebrate Purim is by “giving gifts to the poor” (or Matanot LaEvyonim). If we are following in the footsteps of our Master, Yeshua, then charity, social justice, and giving to the poor and needy will be an integral part of our lifestyle. On Purim, we are encouraged to make a deliberate, concerted effort to give two gifts to those in need.
Purim has a lot to say about community. It was not one, or just some, of the Jews who were threatened with annihilation by Hamen’s scheme — it was the entire community as one! This is what Mordecai tells Esther…
“Do not think in your soul that you will escape in the king’s household more than all the Jews. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place—but you and your father’s house will perish. Who knows whether you have attained royal status for such a time as this?” — Esther 4:13-14 (TLV)
So, if the entire community in unity is the focus of Purim, then the benefit of the entire community should be in our thoughts on this day. Caring for those in need, along with justice and mercy, are indeed the weightier matters of Torah — the ones that our Messiah referred to so often and demonstrated through his life. It is fitting for us, on Purim, to shift our focus to this kingdom priority.
In Esther 9:22, we read that “These were to be days of feasting, celebration and sending presents of food to one another and giving gifts to the poor.” Because things come in two’s on Purim, it is traditional to give two gifts to someone in need on Purim. Even if you are, yourself, in need, it is expected that you will do this too — because we can always find someone whose need is greater than our own. If nothing else, you can place two coins in a collection box as a special offering for those in need.
At B’rit this year, we’ll have a tzedakah box set out on Purim, so that anyone who is will can contribute. Look for it in the foyer. All donations made on Purim will be designated for a special benevolence projects. Purim provides the perfect opportunity for us to refocus on our mission of Tikkun Olam.
Read the next article in the series: Party!!! — It’s a Rule!
Read the previous article in the series: Food in Baskets
Read the first article in the series: Purim: The Four Things