Laws of Purim

  1. The day before Purim is a fast day “Taanit Esther.” We do not eat or drink from dawn to dark.
  2. At night, we read the Megillah, immediately after dark.
  3. One should not eat a meal before the evening Megillah reading, however eating a snack (not bread) and drinking is permitted.
  4. The Megillah is repeated the next morning on the day of Purim.
  5. Men, women, and children are required to hear the Megillah reading.
  6. It is required to hear or read the Megillah with the correct pronunciation of each word, or you must have it repeated.
  7. It is ideal to hear the Megillah in a Minyan, a group of ten men, although it is OK to read it alone.
  8. If you missed a few words or even a few Pesukim, you can read it quietly to yourself and continue listening to the Megillah reading (be sure not to fall behind). This cannot be done for the beginning and end of the Megillah.
  9. If for some reason you couldn’t hear the entire reading, you do not have to start again from the beginning. Just have someone read from the point where you left off.
  10. During Prayers and Birkat Hamazon we say “Al Hanissim.” If you forget, prayers need not be repeated.
  11. Mishloach Manot is the requirement for each person to give two food items to a friend on Purim day. Anything edible will do the trick.
  12. One can deliver the Mishloach Manot himself or send it with someone else.
  13. One can send Mishloach Manot in the mail before Purim as long as it arrives on Purim.
  14. Matanot La’Evyonim is the requirement for each person to give two items to two poor people. This can be done by giving money to a charity organization that will distribute the money to poor people on Purim day. Any amount is good.
  15. There is an additional requirement of having a Seudah on Purim. This refers to a party celebrating the miracles of Purim. As a component to this party one should eat bread, have an enjoyable feast, and one should be happy. Included in this happiness there is the requirement to drink wine until we are so intoxicated, that we cannot tell the difference between the cursing of Haman and the blessing of Mordechai. At the same time, we must not bring ourselves to an intoxication that may cause us to transgress any sins, that may make us sad rather than happy, or that may be unhealthy. In our present time, this fine line is almost impossible to achieve. It is recommended that we limit our alcoholic intake to a minimal and controlled amount, in order to become somewhat carefree and happy, yet not to, God forbid, have the opposite effect, of transgressing a sin.