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Preparations for Purim
(Continued from last week):
Helping the Public:
Reading the Megillah: When it comes to performing this Mitzvah for the public, the daytime reading takes precedence over the night. Firstly, because the public is not as aware of this reading, and secondly, because (and it is worthwhile publicizing this) it is the main reading.
In an emergency situation, one can be lenient and read the Megillah with its blessings even without a Minyan, starting from Thursday afternoon at Plag Hamincha.
“Since the two Mitzvos of Mishloach Manos and Matanos L’Evyonim are central to Purim, it is easier to observe them … Therefore it is an obligation (and a privilege) to try more … and to publicize … [in every manner: through letters, flyers, newspapers, radio, electronic media, etc]: A) the great merit of these Mitzvos. B) That it is very easy to observe them, C) that every single individual over Bar/Bas Mitzvah is obligated to keep them and, D) Moreover, even young children who have reached the age of Chinuch [and when in doubt, we are more scrupulous] should observe these Mitzvos themselves.
Many young people rely upon the opinion that this obligation can be discharged by their parents, but unfortunately there are many parents who also do not fulfill it properly. Therefore, with all due respect, Rabbis, teachers, and parents are asked to remind the children under their influence [at all schools of any kind] … to personally fulfill the Mitzvos of Mishloach Manos and Matanos L’Evyonim on the day of Purim.
• Only two types of foods are necessary for Mishloach Manos, such as an apple and a cake. Each one of them should be at least a Kezayis (=the volume of a matchbox) in size. It can also be a food and a drink, such as a piece of cake and a soft drink. The volume of the drink should be at least a Revi’is (=86g).
• Matanos L’Evyonim can be fulfilled with two Prutos – one Pruta to each poor person. Obviously, the more Tzedakah that is given, the more praiseworthy it is.
When Mishloach Manos is given to soldiers, one should be careful to give the men in the name of the Lubavitch Youth Organization and to women in the name of Nshei Chabad. In order to help them fulfill the Mitzvah themselves, they should be encouraged to exchange the portions among themselves (and if there is no other choice, this can be done with prepared food in the dining room) – each man to his fellow and each woman to her friend. At the same time, coins should be given out to them so that they will fulfill the Mitzvah of Matanos L’Evyonim.
Purim Seudah: It should preferably be held in the morning, but in a time of need (and especially when the general public has been invited and one has been helping them to keep the Mitzvos of the day and of Shabbos, with a complete separation between the men and women), it can take place until candle lighting time. Then the women light their candles there (on condition that they will also partake from the meal that follows) if possible on the table at which they have been eating.
This is followed by Pores Mapah Umekadesh. Anyone intending to eat the Shabbos meal at this point must stop eating after candle lighting. Cloths and napkins are spread over the bread on all the tables, and Shalom Aleichem and Eishes Chayil are sung. Kiddush for Shabbos is then recited. Anyone who drank wine at the meal does not make the Bracha “Hagafen” at Kiddush. Everyone then continues to eat bread (preferably more than a Kabeitzah, and at least a Kezayis), without making Hamotzi. At Bentsching, Al Hanissim and Retzeih are said, after which Kabbalas Shabbos and Maariv are recited.
13th Adar-Taanis Esther
Someone who is ill (even if his life is not in danger), a pregnant or nursing woman, and a newly delivered mother up to thirty days after birth do not have to fast.
A person who has not slept is allowed to eat until dawn. If someone has laid down to sleep and he intends to get up early to eat or drink, he should make a specific condition before going to sleep that he will eat or drink. And if he is used to taking a drink whenever he gets up, he does not need to make such a condition for drinking.
The congregation recites “Aneinu” only after Mincha. The Shliach Tzibbur says “Aneinu” (during Chazaras Hashatz) as a blessing in its own right, between the Brochos of “Go’el Yisrael” and “Refa’einu” “even if there are only three people fasting in the Shul.”
And if there are not (three people), he says it during “Shomeiya Tefillah.”
The following is said standing: Ashamnu, the Thirteen Middos, Shema Koleinu, and Avinu Malkeinu.
Our custom is to say (Selichos) after Tachanun, Vehu Rachum, and Shomer Yisrael, in the order given here.
Kavoh Kivinu / Kerachem / Elokeinu V’Elokei Avoseinu, Adam Bekum / Keil Melech, Vaya’avor / Ki Imcha / Kerachem / Elokeinu V’Elokei Avoseinu, Atoh Hakel / Kel Melech, Vaya’avor / Bimesei Mispar / Keil Melech, Vaya’avor /Zechor Rachamecha /Zechor Lanu Bris Avos / Zechor Lanu Bris Rishonim / Shema Koleinu / Hirshanu Ufashanu / Moshiach Tzidkecha / Keil Rachum Shmecha / Aneinu Hashem Aneinu /Mi She’ana L’Avraham / Rachmana D’Anei / the long Avinu Malkeinu, including Barech Aleinu Shana Tovah, Zachreinu L … [and not B …]/ Va’anachnu Lo Nayda/ Half Kaddish.
“Vayechal” is read during Shacharis and Mincha, even if there are only three people fasting.
A person who is not fasting should not be called up to the Torah, and if he is called up and he is reluctant to announce that he is not fasting as this could create a Chillul Hashem -- he should go up.
The verses, “Shuv Mecharon Apecha ….,” “Hashem, Hashem, Keil Rachum … Venakeh,” “Vesalachta La’avoneinu” are recited in a loud voice, and the Baal Koreh only reads them once the congregation has said them. When the Rebbe went up to the Torah, he would begin to say them with the congregation (and would conclude with the Baal Koreh).
When the verse, “Vayikra Besheim Hashem” is read (and also when it is read during Davening, there should be a brief pause between “Besheim” and “Hashem,” because in the verse there is the note “tipcha,” which is a pause, under the word “Besheim.”
“Machatzis Hashekel” is given to Tzedakah [especially to a Shul and a Beis Midrash, which are compared to the Mishkan and the Mikdash] on the day of the fast before Mincha. This is to commemorate the giving of the Machatzis Hashekel, which is connected to the miracle of Purim, “Hikdim Shkoleihen Lishkalav.”
Each person should give three coins worth “half” a denomination of current local currency. This custom applies to every single Jew, at least those who are aged 20 and above, or beginning from the age of 13. It is also worthwhile educating younger children to give three half shekels from their pocket money. [“There is also a well-known custom to give on behalf of the entire household.”] The parents should help them so that they can do this easily, leaving enough money for themselves and not be lacking.
Davening – “at a late hour.” Vayadber, Ketores, Ashrei, Half Kaddish. The Torah reading of “Vayechal” is the same as Shacharis, three Aliyos, with the third as Maftir, and Half Kaddish is not said afterwards.
Maftir: “Dirshu Hashem Behimatzo,” followed by the three Brochos until “Magen David,” Yehallellu, Half Kaddish.
An individual also says “Aneinu” during Shomeiya Tefillah, without the concluding Brocha, and concludes, “Ki Atah Shomaya.” If he forgot, (and he already said the Shem Hashem at the end of the Brocha) he says it without the concluding Brocha, after “Elokai Natzor,” before the last “Yihyu Leratzon.” The Shliach Tzibbur says “Aneinu” as he did during Shacharis, between “Goel Yisrael” and “Refa’einu.” Those with the custom of performing Birchas Kohanim every day do so during this Tefillah, and when there is no Birchas Kohanim, the Shliach Tzibbur reads out the blessing instead.
Neither Tachanun nor Avinu Malkeinu are recited.
The Rebbe reintroduced the ancient custom (which stems from the Mishnah) of saying “Divrei Kibbushin’ after Mincha on a public fast. “It is worthwhile remembering the custom mentioned above, and in many places this can be done. Everyone says after Mincha (or at least a few words of) “Divrei Kibbushin,” or a suitable chapter of Tehillim. In some places, due to “Tircha DeTzibura,” [or from the point of view of losing work- time, etc], this cannot be done. Nevertheless, one should at least think about Divrei Kibbushin, and since “The Merciful One desires service from the heart” especially with regard to repentance, where “the main part of Teshuvah is in the heart,” “when there is a good thought, Hashem considers it as if it was done.”
Krias HaMegillah as part of Mivtzoyim:
In a situation of great need, the Kriah can begin with the blessing from the beginning of Shkiyah (sunset). In a situation where there is an even greater need, it is permissible even from Plag Hamincha
Eating: Even after the nightfall, one should not eat before Krias Megillah. A frail person is allowed to eat some fruit or soft drinks without any limitation on quantity, as well as up to a Kebeitzah of Mezonos (and anyone who needs to read the Megillah and finds it difficult to do so because of the fast can definitely be more lenient in this regard). A sick person is allowed to eat properly, but he should ask someone else to remind him to listen to the Megillah afterwards.
The end of the time for Kiddush Levanah: tomorrow night – on Shabbos, therefore we should remember to sanctify it still tonight.
14th Adar – Purim
For Krias Megillah, on Thursday night, the eve of Purim, our custom is to wear Shabbos and Yom Tov clothes.
“In the Megillah written by the Rebbe Maharash, it states, a) not all of the columns begin with the word “Hamelech,” and b) the Ten Sons of Haman are not written in a column by themselves.
A mourner during the Shiva (R”L) period goes to Shul to Daven Maariv, and to hear Krias Megillah. If there is no Baal Koreh on the same level as him, he can read the Megillah and even recite the blessings, and he should not see any types of celebration. Purim is considered to be like Shabbos when it comes to mourning, meaning that it counts as one of the seven days, and the customs of mourning should be observed only in secret. He should not sit on the ground and take off his shoes. Regarding Mishloach Manos, see further on.
During Maariv, “Al Nissim” is said but one should not interrupt the Davening to announce this before Shemoneh Esreh [but one merely bangs on the table as a reminder]. (If a person forgets “Al Hanissim” and remembers before the “Hashem” at the end of the Brocha, he repeats it, beginning from “Al Hanissim.” If he has already said “Hashem,” he does not repeat it. However, before the final “Yihyu Leratzon” he says, “Harachaman Hu Yaaseh Lanu Nissim Uniflaos Kmo She’asah L’Avoseinu Beyamim Hahem Bizman Hazeh, Bimey Mordechai.” Afterwards, Kaddish Tiskabel is said.
“Krias Megillah, etc, should not be heard over [loudspeakers] – the telephone and radio [and any other type of electronic means of broadcast, even live] – for this is not really a person’s voice.”
Krias HaMegillah: The Rebbe would listen to the Megillah standing up. During the reading, people should stand to the right and right of the Baal Koreh. The Baal Koreh and “even those who hear the Megillah fold it up like a letter. The fold should be in three parts.” The Rebbe would recite the blessings before and afterwards with the Baal Koreh, both at night and during the day. Generally, the Rebbe would try to make the Megillah like a “letter” until the end of the reading.
The Baal Koreh should have in mind to discharge the obligations of the all the listeners, and they should also have their obligation in mind. It is forbidden to stop until after the blessing, “Harav Es Riveinu.”
Anyone who does not manage to hear a word or a verse should read it to himself at once. Even if he is not able to do so from a kosher Megillah, he should read it to himself immediately (preferably from a Chumash or from a Megillah so that he will not make any mistakes) until he catches up with the reader. By so doing, he won’t need to find another Kosher reading starting from that place onwards.
During the reading, a noise is made when the name “Haman” is read out, if it is accompanied by a description, such as “Ha’agagi,” or “Hara,” etc.
During the Megillah reading, there are two versions, “La’harog Ule’abed / Vela’harog Ule’abed (18:11), “Ve’ish Lo Amad Bifnayhem/Ve’ish Lo Amad Lifnayhem.” (9:2)
It is customary to recite four verses out loud: “Ish Yehudi” (2:1), “U’Mordechai Yatza” (8:15), “Layehudim” (8:16), “Ki Mordechai” (10:3). The Baal Koreh then repeats them. The names of the ten sons of Haman need to be read in one breath, from the words, “Chamesh Me’ot Ish” (9:6), until after the word “Aseres” (9:10). The congregation reads them first, and the children make a noise [but not when the Baal Koreh reads them!] just as when Haman is mentioned.
“The Megillah should be shaken slightly when the words “Ha’iggeres Hazos” (9:26), and “Iggeres Hapurim Hazos Hasheinis” (9:29) are read.
After the reading, the Bracha “Harav es Riveinu” is read. It is forbidden to speak until the Shliach Tzibbur has concluded the blessing.
“Shoshanas Yaakov,” “The Nusach of Shoshanas Yaakov: Arurim Kol Hareshaim, Bruchim Kol Hatzaddikim.”
Afterwards, the Megillah is put away. (Also during the day, this is done at this point.) Veatah Kadosh. Kaddish. (Yehay Shlaima). Aleinu. Kaddish Yosom. Al Tira. Ach Tzaddikim.
When the Megillah is read for women, they make their own blessing (standing up), and if not, the Baal Koreh says it for them.
The Rema ruled that one should only say the Brochos after the Megillah if there is a Minyan, but the Rebbe said the blessings on the Megillah also on his own, both before and afterwards, at night and in the morning.
“Also at night one should celebrate, and increase a little in eating,” and say “Ve’al Hanissim” during Birchas Hamazon.
During Shemoneh Esreh – Ve’al Hanissim. Tachanun and Keil Erech Apayim are not said. Half Kaddish.
Three Aliyos are read during Parshas Beshallach, “Vayavo Amalek” (Shemos 17:8-16), each of which consist of three Pesukim. Zecher Amalek – is first read with a Segol and then with a Tzeiray. Anyone who has not yet heard Parshas Zachor should have in mind that this reading will discharge his obligation to remember Amalek. Anyone who has not yet given Machatzis Hashekel to Tzedakah should do so right now.
Bris Milah: Some do this after the reading of the Megillah.
“Hearing and reading the Megillah are done while wearing Rashi Tefillin.”
The Megillah is read with three Brochos, including “Shehecheyanu,” as is done in the evening (see above). The “Shehecheyanu” is also intended for the Mitzvos of Mishloach Manos, Matanos Evyonim, and Seudas Purim.
After Krias Megillah, the blessing “Harav Es Riveinu” is said, and then Shoshanas Yaakov. Ashrei. Uva Letzion. Whole Kaddish. Then the Sefer Torah is returned and Beis Yaakov is said (and the rest of Davening) until the end.
Simchas Purim – it is an obligation to rejoice all day, as explained in the phrase, “Yemei Mishteh Vesimcha.”
During Purim day, the Rebbe would try to eat a Hamantasch filled with poppy seeds, in accordance with the custom.
One has until sunset to fulfill the Mitzvos of the day.
Mishloach Manos – two types of foods or drinks should be sent to one person, each man to his fellow and each woman to her friend. Mishloach Manos are not sent to a mourner within the first thirty days of mourning, or to someone bereaved from his parents during the first 12-month period. The mourner himself is obligated to send Mishloach Manos even during the Shiva period, but he sends food items and not treats.
Matanos L’Evyonim – One should give a Pruta to two poor people (one to each), and a man is even permitted to give to a woman. And the more that one gives Mishloach Manos to his friends and Tzedakah to the poor, the more praiseworthy that he is. And it is better to give more gifts to the poor than to have a large Purim Seudah or give a lot of Mishloach Manos to his friends, because there is no greater joy than making poor people, orphans, and widows happy. This can be compared with the Shechinah, as it is said, “To revive the spirit of the low and restore the hearts of the wretched.”
The Rebbe would give Mishloach Manos (food and drink) to three people.
Some say that Mishloach Manos should be sent through a Shliach.
The custom is to involve even the very young in all aspects of Purim. Moreover, when it comes to certain things, such as the “Graggers” and in other ways, the main “noise” is made by the making a noise at “Haman” with all of younger children, in all their characteristic innocence, vitality and enthusiasm. This is also true of the custom of wearing masks on Purim, which is primarily followed by children.
On Purim it is customary for children to wear “crowns,” for which they receive blessings.
Feasting and Celebrations:
The Purim Seudah should ideally be done in the morning (meaning to begin before midday,) because of Shabbos. If this is not possible, one should begin before the tenth (proportional) hour If this is not possible, it can begin up until candle lighting, and if there is a need one can be “pores mapah umekadesh.”
People in Jerusalem should also increase a little in joy and feasting.
“It is a good to learn a little Torah before the meal,” only a little so that one doesn’t get so involved in learning that he forgets to fulfill the Mitzvah of Seudas Purim.
“For Netilas Yodayim, Birchas Hamotzi, and Birchas Hamazon of the Purim Seudah, and saying Chassidus (a Maamar), the Rebbe would wear a ‘Soiblene Hittel” and a Gartel.*
“The joy of Purim is greater than that of Yom Tov.”
“Regarding Farbrengens over Purim, this is done with joy and “ad delo yada,” but with limits, especially regarding (Yeshiva) students, and also the rest of the Jewish people, it has been said several times that this needs to be in accordance with the limitations of Toras Chassidus. There is no need to discuss this at length because these things are known and publicized, also in print.”
“One should also make a noise and publicize everywhere, also abroad and (even more so) in Israel, the importance of trying hard to make sure that every aspect of Purim is done in a public and dignified way … with regard to ‘feasting and celebration.’ Even when each person holds a Purim Seudah in his home, with his family … they can increase in Purim joy “in public” after the Seudah at home.”
The Rebbe’s custom – “(to say) a Maamar Chassidus during the Seudah.”
The well-known decree regarding limits on drinking liquor also applies on Purim. There were times when the Rebbe during a Purim Farbrengen or on the following Shabbos,requested that at least at one of the participants, would fulfill the decree of “ad delo yada,” literally, discharging the obligation of the entire congregation.
“Purim Torah” is not an idea of mockery, as some mistakenly think. But instead of being exact and toiling to find the depth of the words, one focuses on a more external concept. This should be an idea that is linked and expressed with joy, but nonetheless it is still a matter of Torah like any other Torah concept.
At the Purim Farbrengen, the Rebbe would raise funds for “Kupas Rabbeinu.”
Towards the end of the Farbrengen, the Rebbe would mention the preparations for Mivtza Pesach, including providing Ma’os Chittim, food and clothing, so that from the day of Purim itself people would be beginning of “thirty days before the festival.”
It is customary to sing, “Hop Cossack.”
In Haifa, during regular years, the Megillah is also read on 15th Adar, because there is a doubt as to whether it is considered as a walled city.
Purim Meshulash in Jerusalem:
14th Adar: Read the Megillah at night and during the day with its blessings. After the night reading, “Veatah Kadosh” is read and Matanos L’Evyonim are given. But one does not say “Ve’al Hanissim” or read from the Torah.
On Shabbos Parshas Tzav, “Ve’al Hanissim” is said during the Tefillah and Birchas Hamazon. Two Sifrei Torah are taken out. The first one is read with seven Aliyos from Parshas Tzav, and from the second there is Maftir from Parshas Beshallach – “Vayavo Amalek” (the Purim reading). Haftarah: “Koh Amar Hashem Tzeva’os, Pekadati …” (Haftarat Parshat Zachor).
On Sunday, 16th Adar, the Purim Seudah takes place [as well as Matanos L’Evyonim] and Mishloach Manos. Tachanun is not said, nor “Ve’al Hanissim,” but it should be said in Birchas Hamazon at Harachaman (at the place for the Harachaman for Shabbos and Yom Tov). “Harachaman Hu Yaaseh Lanu Nissim Kemo She’asah L’Avoseinu Bayamim Hahem Bizamn Hazeh, Bimei Mordechai …”
Some people are careful to follow all opinions and give Mishloach Manos on 14th , 15th, and 16th Adar. They also eat a Purim Seudah on Shabbos, adding another Seudah to Purim.
* The Rebbe, Nesi Doreinu would not wear such a hat.