- The Mitzvah: Every Jew is obligated to give at least two presents to two paupers, [one present to each pauper].
- Who is obligated? Both men and women are obligated in the Mitzvah of Matanos Laevyonim. Married women are to be stringent to give Matanos Laevyonim on behalf of themselves, in addition to the Matanos Laevyonim sent by their husband. All family members must send their own personal Matanos Laevyonim and cannot rely on their parents, even if they are still being supported by them and live in their home. Children above the age of Chinuch are to be educated to give Matanos Laevyonim. If one is in doubt as to whether the child has reached the age of Chinuch one is to be stringent.
- May men distribute Matanos Laevyonim to female paupers and vice versa? The gifts may be sent to any Jew whether male or female. Thus, a man may give to a woman that is a pauper and vice versa. It is permitted for even food to be given as Matanos Laevyonim from a man to a woman and vice versa.
- When on Purim is one to distribute the Matanos Laevyonim? Matanos Laevyonim is to be given on Purim during daytime. One who sent Matanos Laevyonim on the night of Purim does not fulfill his obligation. [Based on Kabala it is to be given after the Megillah reading, as opposed to beforehand. However, others write it is to be distributed before Davening.] One may send Matanos Laevyonim to a pauper before Purim if the charity will arrive to him on Purim. If, however, it will arrive before Purim, one does not fulfill his obligation.
- To how many paupers must one give present? One is obligated to give at least two presents to two poor people, one present to each pauper. It is a greater Mitzvah to increase in giving Matanos Laevyonim than to increase in Mishloach Manos.
- What must one give each pauper and how much must it be worth? The present should initially consist of something which can be readily used by the pauper, such as food or money. One is obligated to give one present to each of the two paupers. Some rule that as long each present contains the equivalent of a peruta worth he has fulfilled his obligation. However other Poskim 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, then each present given must consist of three Kibeitzim. Practically, one is to be stringent like this latter opinion.
- Who is a pauper? Practically, anyone who cannot afford today’s normal monthly expenses is considered poor and may be given Matanos Laevyonim. Likewise, anyone who has extra necessary expenses that he cannot afford, such as heavy medical bills, or the marrying off of children, is considered poor in this regard.
- What is one to do if there are no paupers available? If there are not any [Jewish] paupers available in one’s vicinity to distribute to them Matanos Laevyonim, then one is to set aside the money and give it to a pauper when the opportunity presents itself.
- Distributing charity on Purim to all those that request: One is not to be particular regarding distributing Purim money. Rather all those that spread open their hand to request donations are to be given.
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