Purim Laws and Customs

The FAST of ESTHER | Wednesday, March 20th

The Fast of Esther starts at dawn on Wednesday, February 20th, at 5:33 AM and lasts until nightfall, 7:36 PM. Nursing and pregnant women need not fast at all.

If one wishes to wake up early and eat before the fast begins, one should have that in mind before going to sleep. Otherwise, going to sleep constitutes, by default, an acceptance of the fast and even if one wakes up before dawn, one may not eat.

The Torah is read at Shacharit and at Minchah. In addition, there is a special Haftorah read at Minchah.

It is also customary to give three half-Shekels (half-dollar coins) to Tzedakah at Minchah on the day of the fast. We will have coins available.

Wednesday, March 20 & Thursday, March 21st

1. Hear the Megillah; at night (3/20) and during the day (3/21).

2. Mishloach Manot; send at least two food gifts to at least one friend on 3/21. (Note: we do not give Mishloach Manot to Aveilim, people who are in their year of mourning after the passing of a loved one, G‑d forbid. Instead, in cases where the Avel is married, you can give the Mishloach Manot to the family, which includes the Avel's spouse.)

3. Mattanot LaEvyonim; give money for tzedakah to at least two needy people on 3/1. You can give Mattanot LaEvyonim here and Chabad will make sure that your tzedakah is distributed to needy families on Purim day. It is preferable that more money be spent on Mattanot LaEvyonim than on Mishloach Manot.

4. Eat the festive Purim meal on 3/21. Preferably, this should be a meat meal.