Thursday, March 05, 2009

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Mishloach Manot and the Poor

Click Here for The Mystical Paths Purim Campaign

The following is picked up off Hirhurim, sent out by a group of rabbi's to their community. Edited for brevity and removal of communal references, with comments added in (parens)...

Dear Friends:

As you well know, we are in the midst of a financial crisis unprecedented during our lifetimes. We must take stock of the circumstances and react to the new realities in a responsible way. The phenomenon of so many of our friends and neighbors (and fellow Jews in Eretz Yisroel) experiencing hardship deserves our attention and consideration.

Philosophically, it is perhaps the time to remember what we all know to be true. Our material possessions are a gift to us from God who divides "the pie" as He sees fit. Those of us who are the beneficiaries of His generosity must use our share to care for our families and to help others less fortunate.

A good time to put this lesson into practice is Purim. The Mitzvah of matanot la'evyonim "gifts to the poor" should be given special emphasis. We should fulfill mishloach manot "presents of food" in the simplest way, two food items (one cooked or baked and a beverage) to one friend (Chabad custom is to two friends, containing two brachot - one being a drink).

Instead of spending large sums of money on fancy mishloach manot packages, consider what you have budgeted to be given to Matanot Le'Evyonim (gifts to the poor) and charities which are helping the poor.

...If we reflect seriously on sharing what God has bequeathed us in the most productive and altruistic way, then we could spread the joy of Purim to those who are going through hard times.

Great thoughts by Rabbi's Billet, Topp, and Glatt. If you wish to help the poor in Eretz Yisroel - which according to many authorities have the same priority as your local community, we recommend:

The Mystical Paths Purim Campaign
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Yad Eliezer

Colel Chabad

Lama'an Achai - Beit Shemesh

Eizer L'Shabbos - Safed

Many blessings for Purim!

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