What to give each pauper

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What must one give each pauper and how much must it be worth?

One is obligated to give one [1] The present should initially consist of something which can be readily used by the pauper, such as food or money.

How much must the present be worth? One is obligated to give one[2] present to each of the two[3] paupers. Some[4] rule that as long each present contains the equivalent of a peruta[5] worth he has fulfilled his obligation. However other Poskim[6] rule that the present must contain a minimum worth of three Kibeitzim of food [165 grams]. Meaning if one gives money, it must be enough money for each pauper to buy three Kibeitzim worth of food. If he gives food, than each present given must consist of three Kibeitzim. Practically one is to be stringent like this latter opinion.[7]



May one use Maaser money for Matanos Laevyonim?[8]

The minimal amount required to fulfill the Mitzvah of Matanos Laevyonim may not be given from money set aside for Maaser. However any additional amount that one gives to a pauper may be distributed from Maaser. Some[9] rule that the money given to the first two paupers may not include any Maaser money, and only when distributing to more than two paupers can one use Maaser money for the third pauper and onwards.


Does the accustomed Purim gift money given to a Rav, Rebbe, Melamed, on Purim count for Matanos Laevyonim?[10]

No.[11] This applies even if the above mentioned people are poor.


If one gave two presents to a single pauper does he fulfill his obligation?

Some Poskim[12] rule he has fulfilled his obligation. Others[13] rule he does not fulfill his obligation until he gives a present to two paupers.


If one gave two presents to a pour couple is it considered to have been given to two paupers?

Some Poskim[14] rule a poor man and his wife are considered two paupers, and thus if one intends to fulfill his Mitzvah by giving them the presents, his obligations are fulfilled. Other Poskim[15] however rule that every family is considered like only one pauper, even if they contain many members in the family.


If one gives Matanos Laevyonim to poor children does he fulfill his obligation?

Yes.[16] If the child understands he is being given money as a Purim gift the giver fulfills his obligation.[17]


Does one fulfill Matanos Laevyonim if on Purim he pays up his dues to a charity pledge?[18]

If the person already vouched to give the money to charity, then it may not be considered one of the two recipients required to receive charity on Purim, and he must rather give a present to two other paupers.


May one give Matanos Laevyonim on condition it will be returned [Matana Al Menas Lehachzir]?[19]

This matter requires further analysis.


If one distributed the half Shekel donation to paupers on Purim does he fulfill his obligation of Matanos Laevyonim?[20]



If one decided to give a certain amount of money for Matanos Laevyonim may he retract his decision and give less?[21]

One is obligated to distribute whatever amount he decided originally, as the money has already become sanctified towards charity. This applies even if one did not verbalize his decision.


What is one to do if he has nothing extra available to give to a pauper?[22]

He may give money, or food from his meal to the pauper, and have the pauper give him money, or a meal, back in return.


May one ask another person to give Matanos Laevyonim on his behalf and he will repay him when the money is available?[23]

Yes. One may ask someone to give a donation to two paupers on his behalf and he will repay it at a later date.


[1] M”B 694/2 based on P”M 694 M”Z 1; Kaf Hachaim 694/6

[2] The reason: The reason for why by Mishloach Manos one is to give two presents while by Matanos Laevyonim one can give one present is because Mishloach Manos is given to even the wealthy, and the wealthy do not view a single present as a true gift. Matanos Laevyonim however is given to a pauper who values even a single gift very much. [Ran brought in Elya Raba 694/6; Bigdei Yesha; Kaf Hachaim 694/8]

[3] The reason: The reason for why by Mishloach Manos one is to give to only one person while by Matanos Laevyonim one is to give a present to two people, is because Mishloach Manos is given to the wealthy and hence it suffices to give it to one person, however Matanos Laevyonim is given to paupers and hence one is to increase the amount of people it is given to. [M”A 695/12]

[4] Ritva Megillah brought in M”B 694/2; Kaf Hachaim 694/7; See Ashel Avraham Butchach 695; The Peri Megadim [brought in M”B 694/2] writes he has not found an amount written anywhere.

[5] How much is a Peruta? The Peruta was the smallest form of currency in the times of the Mishna and Talmud. It was a copper coin. Its silver worth is the weight of half a barley which is about .025 grams. Thus the worth of a Peruta is 0.025 of a gram of silver [1/40th of a gram]. Some opinions say one must also include the amount of tax levied on this amount of silver. In accordance to the current price of silver [$0.57 per gram-January 2015] the worth of a Peruta is 1.4 cents or 6 [5.7] Agurot. Each year one must verify anew as to the worth of silver.

[6] Zera Yaakov 11 brought in Machazikei Bracha 694/2; Shaareiy Teshuvah 694/1; Ben Ish Chaiy Titzaveh 15; Kaf Hachaim 694/7 and 11

Other Opinions: Some Poskim rule it is to be the size of one Grogeres [Pischeiy Teshuvah 694]

[7] Kaf Hachaim 694/7 concludes the custom is to be stringent in order to fulfill ones obligation according to all

[8] M”A 694/1 from Shlah 260b; Mahril 56; Elya Raba 686/4; M”B 694/3; Aruch Hashulchan 694/2

[9] Rav Yaakov Blau in Tzedaka Umishpat 6 footnote 37 brought in Piskeiy Teshuvos 694/7

[10] Aruch Hashulchan 694/4

[11] The reason: As this is considered like a debt and one does not fulfill Matanos Laevyonim by paying back a debt.

[12] Poskim brought in Kaf Hachaim 694/9

[13] Shaareiy Teshuvah 694/1

[14] Binyan Olam 36 brought in Kaf Hachaim 694/10

[15] Aruch Hashulchan 694/2; Hisorerus Teshuvah 3/47

[16] Ben Ish Chaiy Titzaveh 16; Aruch Hashulchan 694/2

[17] Kaf Hachaim 694/12 [not mentioned in Poskim ibid]

[18] Based on M”B 694/7; Kaf Hachaim 694/13

[19] P”M brought in Biur Halacha 694 “Litein Lepachos”

[20] P”M brought in Biur Halacha 694 “Litein Lepachos”

[21] Rama Yoreh Deah 258/13 [The Rama ibid brings a dispute in this matter and rules like the stringent opinion.]; M”A 694/4; M”B 694/6; Kaf Hachaim 694/30

[22] Mateh Yehuda 694; P”M 694 M”Z 1; Yifei Lev 2 694/17; Ben Ish Chaiy Titzaveh 15; M”B 694/2

[23] Kinyan Torah 3/103


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