begins in the evening of Monday 09 March 2020
and ends in the evening of Tuesday 10 March 2020
Fast of Esther: Monday 09 March 2020
Starts 4.51am - 6.35pm
Megillah Reading - Monday 09 March
Maariv in the Shul followed by 1st Megillah reading @ 6.30pm
Early Megillah Reading - Tuesday 10 March
Shacharit 6.30am, followed by
Megillah reading in the shul approx. 7.00am
Late Megillah Reading - Tuesday 10 March
Megillah reading 9.15 with breakfast at the Rabbi and Gila's house
Coronavirus: Purim guidance from the United Synagogue approved by the Chief Rabbi
Monday, March 9, 2020
Coronavirus continues to pose a threat and we expect to receive further government advice during the week. Please do follow the national advice as it develops and also see NHS guidance and government travel advice.
Additional advice in a United Synagogue context
Previous United Synagogue guidance remains in place (click here to read). However, given that it is Purim tonight, and given the importance of hearing the megillah, we would like to offer further guidance to help our communities celebrate as safely as is reasonably possible. Please do share this with your members.
Where more specific guidance is needed or you wish to discuss the points raised below, we encourage you to speak with your local Rabbi, who should be your first point of call for any questions.
a. There is a mitzvah for everyone to hear the megillah twice – once in the evening (tonight) and once during the day to be completed by sunset tomorrow.
b. Megillah readings are going ahead in our communities and if you are well, you should attend.
c. If you are unable to attend on account of legitimate Coronavirus considerations (as set out in Government guidelines and the previous United Synagogue guidance), and if you are unable to read the Megillah for yourself or have it read for you at home, you can listen to the reading, both tonight and tomorrow on a telephone or through a livestream. For the few people in this situation, the US will be livestreaming the megillah this evening around 6.30pm on its Facebook page. We will also livestream a reading tomorrow morning at 11.00am. We will announce any changes on our Facebook and Twitter page. Please note: this facility should only be used by people who meet these criteria.
2. Matanot L’evyonim, Gifts to the Poor
a. One of the three other daytime mitzvot of Purim is Matanot L’evyonim, the giving of charity to people in need.
b. Someone who is in isolation cannot do this and should appoint a shaliach – messenger – to do this for them. This could be a friend, community or family member.
3. Mishloach Manot, Gifts of Food to Friends
a. Mishloach Manot, literally, ‘the sending of portions’, are gifts of food given to friends on Purim. You can give as much as you like, but the minimum to fulfil the mitzvah is to give two different food items each to afriend. The foods should be ready-to-eat and
b. As with Matanot L’evyonim, someone who is in isolation cannot do this personally and should appoint a shaliach – messenger – to do this for them. This could be a friend, community or family member.
4. Purim seuda, Festive meal
a. The final mitzvah of Purim is a seuda, a festive meal. This is traditionally enjoyed with friends and family.
b. Someone who is self-isolating cannot join a seuda and so should make one at home for themselves.
Despite the circumstances, the United Synagogue wishes you and your communities a Purim sameach and we pray for a refuah sheleimahfor those who are unwell.
At WPS for Young Families
Date: Sunday, 08 March 2020
Please join us for a fun family-friendly Purim Party at Woodside Park!
This is FREE event but for security reasons and so that we have an idea of numbers, please book by clicking on the link below
To book please click here
WPS Persian Purim Party
Date: Monday, 09 March 2020
... Prize for the best dressed Persian Fancy dress
Cost £5 per person
To book please click here
MISHLOACH MANOT: Every year, there is a huge surplus of Mishloach Manot left over from Purim. We want to see that food going back into the community - where it is needed most. If your community gives their surplus Mishloach Manot to GIFT it will enable us to provide all our families with a year’s worth of nosh in addition to their weekly healthy food bag. This food will make its way to over 250 local households that GIFT helps out on a weekly basis.
On Wednesday to Friday 11th – 13th March we have a food collection at our warehouse in Hendon and on Sunday 15th March we have created drop off points across the community Golders Green / Edgware / Borehamwood where people can donate their surplus food.
MATANOT LE’EVYONIM: We would also like to make you aware that GIFT has set up a texting service where money raised will go directly to Matanot Le’evyonim on the day of Purim. Many of our recipients are in dire straits.
Please text ‘LOTS20 £10’ to 70191 (You can do this any time from now until Purim 12 noon) or you can donate online at www.jgift.org/purim or you can do a Shul collection.
Purim Parcel Delivery 2020 - Volunteers Required
Once again Woodside Park Cares would like to send Mishloach Manot parcels to members of the community. This is a great opportunity to connect with our members and to let them know that we are thinking of them. The parcels will be available for collection from the Shul shortly but can be distributed any time before Purim. If you are able to help, please contact Karen on firstname.lastname@example.org
The name Purim comes from the word pur ("lot"). This refers to the lot which Haman cast to determine the date on which to annihilate the Jews. In His great compassion, Hashem saved the Jews and turned their distress into a great salvation.
The 14th of Adar was set a day of feasting and joy, and thankgiving to Hashem for his deliverance.
There are four mitzvot of Purim - 1) Reading the Megillah, 2) Seudat Purim, 3) Mishloach Manot and 4) Matanot L'evyonim.
Reading the Megillah
Megillat Esther describes the events surrounding Haman's decree against the Jews and the manner in which Hashem saved his people. The Megillah is read as an expression of our gratitude to Hashem for his kindness towards His people, hence, we do not say Hallel on Purim as the reading of the Megillah serves as our praise.
The Megillah is read twice, once at night and once in the morning. A kosher scroll which was written on parchment must be used.
One must hear every word when the Megillah is read. If one did not hear a few words, he should immediately read them from the text in front of them, or recite them by heart. In this case, one must recite the Megillah until he reaches the word the Reader is reciting. This is because one must read every word of the Megillah in the correct order. One must not talk when the Megillah is being read, this is because not only does it disturb the reading for oneself but it also might disturb the reading for others and stops them from fulfilling the mitzvah. For this reason we must also be careful in how we 'bang' to wipe our Haman's name since we must ensure we do not bang over any other word of the Megillah or continue to bang once the Reader has carried on in case we miss any words.
Three blessings are recited before reading the Megillah:
Asher kideshanu b'mitzvotav vetzivanu al mikra Megillah ("Who has commanded us to read the Megillah")
She'asah nissim la'avoteinu bayamim ha-heim bazman hazeh ("Who performed miracles for our fathers in those days at this time")
Shehechiyanu - Sephardic Jews only recite Shehechiyanu before the Megillah at night.
When reciting the blessings and reading the Megillah, the Reader must intend to exempt all the listeners, and those who are listening must intend to fulfil the mitzvah of reading the Megillah. Another reason why we must not talk during the reading of the Megillah is because we will cause a disturbance (hefsek) in our fulfilment of the mitzvah as from the time we hear the blessing until the time we complete the mitzvah there must not be any separation - just like with Shofar on Rosh Hashanah or washing for Hamotzi.
When recites (or hears) the blessing of Shehechiyanu before the morning Megillah reading, he should intend for it to apply to the other special mitzvot of the day as well.
The blessing 'harav et riveinu' ("Who pleads our cause") is recited after the Megillah is read with a minyan.
In the Megillah itself, the Megillah is decribed as the 'letter of Purim' (Esther 9:26), therefore, it is customary for the Reader to fold the Megillah like a letter (i.e. one section on top of the other), before beginning to read the scroll. Those who follow along in a scroll during the Megillah reading do not have to do this.
Even though the mitzvot of Purim are positive mitzvot which are bound by a time limit, Women must still observe these mitzvot since the women were also included in the decree of annihilation and in the miraculous salvation. (So there should be no talking in the Ladies Gallery either!)
Al Hanissim, Kriat HaTorah and tefillah on Purim
Al Hanissim, with the paragraph 'Bimei Mordechai...', is addd in the blessing of Modim in the Amidah and in Nodeh Lecha in Birkat Hamazon.
'V'atah Kadosh' is recited after the Megillah is read at night. This year, since Purim is on Motzai Shabbat, we also recite 'Viyhi Noam' before 'V'ata Kadosh.'
Haman was a descendent of Amalek, therefore 'Vayavo Amalek' (Shemot 17:8-16) which tells of how Amalek first attacked the Bnei Yisrael after the exodus from Egypt, is read from the Torah before the morning Megillah reading.
Tachanun and Lamnatzeach before U'va Letzion are not said on either Purim or Shushan Purim.
Purim is a "day of feasting and joy." It is a mitzvah to make a festive meal during the daytime. It is customary to begin the meal after Mincha. One must make sure that most of the meal is eaten during the day. If the meal lasts into the night, Al Hanissim is still recited in Birkat Hamazon.
The Seudat Purim is celebrated amidst great joy, with more wine served than usual. Our Sages said "One must drink (wine) on Purim until he cannot distinguish between 'Blessed be Mordechai' and 'Cursed be Haman.' This does not mean, however, excessive drinking of wine so that one might come to undesirable behaviour; or that he might forget the required brachot or prayers. It is sufficient to drink a little more than is his usual habit, and to take a nap. He thereby fulfils the precept of the Sages: For one who sleeps does not know the difference between a curse and blessing.
During this meal one should praise and thank Hashem for His deliverance and compassion during the time of Haman's decree. It is proper to study Torah before the meal begins.
It is a mitzvah to send gifts of food to fellow Jews. These gifts are called Mishloach Manot. This mitzvah increases friendship and unity among Jews. The mitzvah of Mishloach Manot should be performed during daytime.
It is obligatory to send a gift which consists of at least two types of food to another person. One can only give foods that are edible or drinkable without further cooking or preparation. One may therefore send cooked meats or fish, pastry goods, fruit, sweets, wine and other drinks. Whilst it is good to send portions to as many friends as possible, it is preferable to give more gifts to the poor than to friends.
Even a poor person is required to fulfil the mitzvah of 'Mishloach Manot.' If one is unable to do so directly, he may exchange his own food for that of his friend; both of whom would then fulfil their obligations.
The mitzvah of Mishloach Manot may not be fulfilled with money, clothing and the like, but only with foods or beverages.
It is also a special mitzvah to give gifts to the poor on Purim. This mitzvah is called matanot l'evyonim. We do this mitzvah by giving gifts to at least two poor people, the gift should be either money or food.
The Rambam writes:
"It is preferable for a person to give many gifts to the poor rather than to make an extravagant meal or send many portions of food to his friends..." (Hilchot Megillah 2:17)
This article has been adapted from Shaarei Halacha by Rabbi Zeev Greenwald and ou.org