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Monday, Adar 13, 5783 (Hakhel Year) / March 6, 2023


Today, the 13th of Adar, the day before Purim, is called Taanit Esther - Fast of Esther.


Purim is tonight (Monday night) & tomorrow, Tuesday.


The Megilah is read twice during Purim; tonight (Monday night) after the evening service and again tomorrow (Tuesday), during the morning service.


Today at the Mincha service it is customary to give three half shekels (or the currency of one’s country) for charity. This is called “Machtzit Hashekel.” Charity plates are usually put out in synagogue so that everyone can perform this important mitzvah.


The Megilah is read from a Kosher Megilah, which was written by a scribe on parchment. But unlike the Torah reading, the Megilah is folded out in a few layers and looks more like one is reading from a letter rather than a Torah. This is because the Megilah is called, “The letter of Purim.”


Q.Why is the miracle of Purim, which took place over two thousand five hundred years ago, so special and important to this day?


A.  Haman wished to annihilate the entire Jewish people. He influenced Achashveirosh, King of Persia, to decree, "To destroy, slay, and exterminate all Jews, young and old, children and women, in a single day... and to plunder their possessions..." Had it not been for the miracle of Purim, this evil decree would have, G-d forbid, wiped out the entire Jewish nation, who all lived under his rule.


Thus, the miracle of Purim is an everlasting miracle. We are here today because of the miracle of Purim. The miracle of Purim is as real today as it was then. G-d watches over His people all the time, as King David said, “G-d doesn’t slumber nor sleep for He watches over the people of Israel.” At times we see G-d’s miracles when there is a decree against us. But most of the time He watches over us in a way that we don’t even recognize the great miracles He performes for us. It’s the times when we don’t realize these miracles that is the greatest of miracles.


Remember to perform the five mitzvot associated with Purim: 1) To hear the reading of the Megilah.This mitzvah applies to Purim night (Monday night)andPurim day (Tuesday).


2) Reciting the Al HaNisim prayer, in which we thank G-d for the great miracle of Purim.  It is recited during the Amidah prayers and in the Grace-After-Meal (Birkat Hamazon).


3) Mishloach Manot - sending gifts.  On Purim day (Tuesday), remember to send gifts of ready-to-eat kosher foods to at least one friend. The more the better.


4) Matanot LaEvyonim – charity to the needy. On Purim (Tuesday), give charity to at least two poor people.


5) Seudat Purim - Purim meal.  During the day of Purim (Tuesday) we eat a festive meal as befitting the celebration of this great miracle.