As we will discuss, there is a mitzvah to be joyful on Purim, and giving gifts is one way we can create such an atmosphere. To begin:
- When has someone brought you a feeling of joy?
- What did they do and how did they do it?
- Has this joy ever come from someone unexpected?
Towards the end of the Purim story, after Haman's plan has been overturned and the Jews of Shushan are saved, the Scroll of Esther describes how Jews would celebrate the holiday of Purim for generations to come:
- In the passage above from the Scroll of Esther, how many Purim-inspired mitzvot do you count, and what are they?
- Why do you think those mitzvot are associated with Purim specifically?
- From a first read of verse 22, how do you understand the interpersonal Purim rituals known as "Mishloach Manot" ("gifts to one another") and "Matanot le-Evyonim" ("presents to the poor")?
- Take a peek at "Translations" in the sidebar.
- How do the various translations of verse 22 understand these rituals differently? (Compare the "The Metsudah Five Megillot" translation, for example!)
Think about what it might look like to provide money or food to others.
- How can Mishloach Manot and Matanot le-Evyonim help contribute to the joy of the holiday?
- What kinds of important bonds could giving create, especially in a time of social distancing?
Here are two videos to help you start thinking creatively about giving Mishloach Manot and Matanot le-Evyonim this year:
We have seen what we are asked to give and how we are to do it, and the video highlights a few recipients of our giving. The Megillah, however, doesn't specify to whom we should give.
- Who in our communities might be particularly appreciative of us sending them a gift during this time?
- Which populations have been particularly vulnerable to the economic consequences of the pandemic? Are there certain groups whose vulnerabilities have been exploited?
- How might you help others through Matanot le-Evyonim this Purim? Who do you want to help, and how?