I am a Sephardic Rabbi and I write about contemporary halakhic issues.
Tuesday, 8 March 2016
Collecting for Matanot La'Evyonim
It happens every year, everyone is really excited about what food they will be sending their friends for Mishloach Manot and what costumes they are going to wear at the Purim Party (by the way the Hassan costumes will be legendary) but most of us pay less attention to the Mitzvah of Matanot La'Evyonim.
One of the four mitzvot of Purim is Matanot La'Evyonim - gifts to the poor. These contributions to the poor allow them to celebrate Purim just like we do and helps them out with their day to day needs. The mitzvah of Matanot La'Evyonim – providing the equivalent of a Purim meal for two individuals on Purim day – was always understood by our rabbis as being even more important in priority than the monies spent on mishloach manot and personal seudot. Therefore, one should spend less money on mishloach manot and more on matanot la'Evyonim. I encourage you all to be generous.
Once again, SBH is looking to raise funds for needy families in our community. We are collecting funds for the Nathan Etkin Chesed Fund. This Chesed Fund has already helped many families with saving homes from foreclosure, paying rent when a job is lost, paying health insurance premiums, debt reduction structure planning, certified financial counseling, money for weddings and everyday needs like groceries, utilities, and helping families make Purim, Pesach and other Holidays.
How can you help?The holiday of Purim is around the corner. And as we say at SBH, “Purim, Purim lanu, Pesach en la mano” – Purim is here, Passover is near.
This time of year brings two wonderful opportunities to help:
1. We will be accepting Purim Matanot La’Evyonim donations starting now and until March 22nd, 2016, so we can distribute those funds in a timely fashion. You can make those donations by either sending a check to the SBH office with the word “Purim” in the memo line and the checks made payable to the Nathan Etkin Chesed Fund, or by making arrangements with me directly prior to March 22nd.
I can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that sending in money early for Matanot La’evyonim is the best way of fulfilling this mitzva and I will be acting as your shaliach in this matter. Of course, we will also accept donations up until the day of Purim as well.
2. Rabbi Morton & Leya Moscowitz have established the “Chasdei Shmully” fund in honor of Rabbi Shmully Moscowitz, zt”l. This fund, part of the larger Seattle Chesed Fund, ensures that local families have enough food to feed their children and provides dedicated assistance for major Jewish holidays. In order to help financially struggling families with the significant costs of Passover, congregants are encouraged to give to this fund specifically. Donations for Pesach should be mailed to the SBH office by April 8th, 2016 so we can make our distributions. Please write “Chasdei Shmully Matzah Fund” in the memo of your check.
Please note all checks whether for Purim or for Pesach need to be made out to The Nathan Etkin Chesed Fund and NOT to SBH.
The Chesed Fund functions with total respect for the person in need, and all requests are handled with dignity and confidentiality. It partners with Jewish Family Services when the need becomes more long-term. A dollar donated is a dollar distributed. The Chesed Fund is a registered 501(c)3 organization, and all gifts are tax deductible.