“And the same month that had been transformed for them from one of grief and mourning to one of festive joy, they were to observe them as days of feasting and merrymaking, and as an occasion for sending gifts to one another and presents to the poor.” (Esther, chapter 9, verses 20–23)
The recipient of charity – gifts for the poor
Why should a person send many gifts and meals to the poor and what is the importance of this mitzvah? If you ask a warm-hearted person, he certainly won’t tell you what he gives to charity in secret; on the other hand, he will be happy to tell you that gifts to the poor on Purim are a source of satisfaction, after all is there any greater mitzvah than bringing joy to poor people, orphans and widows? As it is said, “A person who makes these wretched people happy is compared to the Divine spirit itself.”
You shall rejoice in your festival and you shall have nothing but joy
And on that day Mordechai sent his dispatches to all the Jews in all Ahasuerus’s countries because, by sending presents to one another and gifts to the poor and a festive meal in which all the Jews would take part in the month of Adar, he wanted to emphasize the Jews’ victory and their having been saved in Shushan the capital. In time, Mordechai’s request became an obligation that requires everyone to give two presents to two needy people at least.
The importance of gifts to the poor
From here we learn that the most important part of the mitzvah of giving to the poor on Purim is to give to two people – as it is said: “Two gifts to two poor people.” A person can choose to give gifts that are either cooked food or money, where the aim is to carry out the mitzvah of Matanot Le’evyonim – gifts to the poor.
In conclusion, the mitzvah of Matanot Le’evyonim enables the poor of the nation to celebrate the Purim feast as part of the Jewish people. The importance of Matanot Le’evyonim is greater than everything else, as they enable widows, the poor and those people whose situation is most difficult, who are dependent on charity every day, to rejoice, in order to be part of the unity of the Jewish people.
Maimonides says that a person should give generously to the poor and scrimp on his own festive meal, and the most important thing is to bring joy to one Jew who wants to accept the charitable gift and experience the atmosphere of the festival of Purim.
Life decrees give and take, for this is how the world was created, that each person will have an influence and will also receive from others, and whoever does not do both is like a tree without fruit. (Rabbi Yitzchak of Zidichov)
To donate gifts for the poor that will be distributed on Purim, click here or dial Chasdei Naomi’s call center: 9723-6777-777