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Purim- Machatzit Ha'shekel
 

**Purim Schedule with Rabbi Mansour**

Saturday Evening, March 3rd- Motzae Shabbat/ Purim Night
All on the basement level of Har HaLebanon
Minha Shabbat               5:15 PM
Seudat Shelishi              5:45 PM
Rabbi Mansour’s Lecture 6:00 PM
Arbit                             6:45 PM
Megilah                         7:10 PM
Purim Party                   10:00 PM (Men Only)

Sunday, March 4th- Purim Day
All on the basement level of Har HaLebanon
Daf Yomi                       7:00 AM
Shacharit                       8:00 AM
Megilat Esther                8:30 AM
Seudah following Shacharit
Minha Gedolah               1:00 PM

 

Today’s halacha….

There is a widespread custom to donate a "Machatzit Ha'shekel" (literally, "half-shekel") before the reading of the Megila on Purim night.  When Purim occurs on Motza'ei Shabbat, and thus people do not have money with them in the synagogue on Purim night, one should make this donation during the previous week, preferably on Ta'anit Ester, which is observed in such a case on the Thursday before Purim.

 

The Machatzit Ha'shekel donation commemorates the mandatory half-shekel tax that was given during the times of the Beit Ha'mikdash.  Since this donation today is purely commemorative, one must ensure when donating the money to declare, "Zeicher Le'machatzit Ha'shekel," that this donation serves to commemorate the actual Machatzit Ha'shekel donation that was required when the Temple stood.  One should not declare simply, "Machatzit Ha'shekel," which would give the impression that he donates the actual half-shekel tax, which applied only during the times of the Mikdash.

 

The required amount for Machatzit Ha'shekel is 9 grams of silver or the cash equivalent thereof.  This year, silver sells for $14 an ounce, or $4.5-$5 for 9 grams.  Preferably, one should donate three times this amount, in light of the three references to the word "Teruma" ("donation") in the Torah's presentation of the Mitzva of Machatzit Ha'shekel (Shemot 30:13-15).  Thus, it is preferable to donate $15.  Furthermore, although this Mitzva applies – strictly speaking – only to men aged 20 and above, it is customary to make a donation on behalf of all members of one's family, including women and small children.  Nevertheless, a person with limited funds, who finds it difficult to make such a large donation for Machatzit Ha'shekel, may give only $5, as is required on the level of strict obligation.

 

The money donated for Machatzit Ha'shekel does not count towards one's Ma'aser Kesafim – the traditional donation of one-tenth of one's income to charity.

 

Hazon Ovadia- Purim, Pages 101-108.