Beth David to distribute Purim gifts through JFS

 One of the mitzvot of Purim is to deliver gifts to the poor on the day of the holiday, which occurs this year on Thursday, March 1. Rabbi Zev Silber of Beth David Synagogue will distribute gifts to local needy through Jewish Family Service and to Israeli poor through the Od Yosef Chai charitable organization.
According to Silber, “The mitzvah requires that a minimum of two gifts be given to at least two poor people, and that the gifts should be large enough to gladden the heart of the person who receives them. Purim, being a holiday dedicated to simcha (joy), requires that all Jews can rejoice. The poor rejoice when they have the means to sustain their lives, leading to the importance placed on this mitzvah.
“Even though the practice has emerged to spend much more on extravagant gifts to one’s friends and on the Purim feast, this is a mistake,” Silber continued. “Our tradition clearly teaches that one should spend the bulk of his Purim budget on gifts to the poor. Indeed, our sages teach that whoever gladdens the soul of the poor orphans and widows is likened to the Shechina, the Divine Presence.” In order to facilitate the performance of the mitzvah, one may give money prior to Purim to an agent to distribute the funds on Purim day.
To participate in the mitzvah, donations may be sent by Thursday, February 22, to Beth David Synagogue, 39 Riverside Dr., Binghamton, NY 13905. Donors are asked to mark their checks as “Purim charity” and specify whether they wish the money to be distributed locally or in Israel. For more information, call Silber at 722-9274.