Monday, March 13, 2006

tzedaka on purim

There are different levels of giving tzedaka and one of the highest forms is where the giver does not know who he is giving to and the receiver does not know who he is receiving from. A lot of communities have organizations that handle this, in our community it is called keren chesed. You give them money and they make sure poor people get the money. It is 100% voluntary organization and 100% of the money goes to the people who need it.

I was discussing matanos le'evyonim with the rabbi last night and I asked him if this form of tzedaka was appropriate on Purim. There is a big discussion among the rishonim about the purpose of mishloach manos, whether it is to help someone with their seuda or to increase good will among people. If it is to increase good will then giving anonymously will not fulfill the mitzva but if it is to help with the seuda then it will fulfill the mitzva. However, there is no discussion that I have seen about the purpose of matanos le'evyonim. Does that have the same criteria, in which case the poor person must know who he is receiving from and the giver must know to whom it is being given? The rabbi wasn't sure. I figured I'll ask the gabbai tzedaka, who is probably an expert on these matters and he'll be able to tell me the best way to give this year.

We also discussed mishloach manos, and the best thing to give is something that can be eaten as part of a meal and not just candy and bisli. I wanted to share an inexpensive high quality way of doing this.

Buy a cheap roast and a cheap bottle of brandy. I got a little more then a kilo for 30 shek (and that was mehadrin) and a 20 shek bottle of brandy. Marinate the roast in the brandy at least overnight. That will tenderize and flavor the meat. Cut it steaklet size strips and bbq. You can get 15 or so steaklets out of it, adding about 2 shek per shaloch manos to your package. You should cut the meat with an electric knife. It makes it much easier.

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