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What restrictions are there for Avelim on Purim?

  QUESTION:

Do Avelim send Mishloach Manot or Matanot l’evyonim? If not why not? If there’s a restriction, does it include E-cards with gift certificates attached that are basically donations to a worthwhile cause? What other restrictions are there for Avelim on Purim?

 ANSWER:

Prohibition of eulogizing and fasting:

The 14th and 15th of Adar are days of feasting and gladness, therefore eulogizing and fasting are forbidden to everyone, in both open and walled cities. A  Aveil during the Shiva (first week) period should not show signs of mourning in public on these two days of Purim. He should not sit on the floor or remove his shoes – but rather practice only those aspects of mourning that are done in privacy, as on Shabbat. Despite the prohibition of mourning on Purim, the day itself counts as one of the seven Shiva days

The Reading of the Megillah:

If the Aveil is able to assemble a Minyan (10 adult males) in his home for prayers and the reading of the Megillah, he should do so if possible. Otherwise, he is permitted to go to the Synagogue to hear the reading of the Megillah, at night and the following morning. If he is in Synagogue for Shabbat services he should stay on for the reading of the Megillah immediately after Shabbat.

 

Gifts to the Poor and Mishloah Manot (Purim food parcels):

There is a Mitzvah to send a gift of two types of food to at least one friend on the day of Purim, as the Megillah says, ‘And sending portions, one to another.’ The portions should be ready to eat, and appropriate for consumption at the Purim feast, since one of the purposes of this Mitzvah is to help augment people’s Purim feasts. This is called “Mishloah Manot” (lit. sending portions).

A mourner, even during the Shiva period, must observe the commandments of gifts to the poor and sending portions of food to a friend, but he should only send something necessary for the fulfillment of the commandment. In any case he should not send things which cause joy. One does not send portions of food to an Aveil on Purim during the entire period of mourning. “Mourner” refers to one who is within the year after losing a parent, or one who is within 30 days after losing a spouse, sibling or child.

Although one should refrain from directing Mishloah Manot to an Aveil, when a person has a relationship with any other member of the Aveil’s household, that person may address the Mishloah Manot to the other members of the Aveil family and send it to them.   Usually greeting another person with the greeting “Shalom” implies that life is normal and that people are in a state of joy; as such it is not appropriate to use such a greeting to someone in the year of morning; similarly, sending Mishloah Manot is a form of greeting and inappropriate to send to Aveil. (Many Sephardim are not particular about not sending Mishloach Manot to an Aveil)

One cannot fulfill the Mitzvah of Mishloach Manot by sending an e-card which is similar to a post card or greeting card with which one does not fulfill the Mitzvah of Mishloach Manot and it is not appropriate to send greetings to a mourner

 Matanot l’evyonim

 There are no restrictions for the Aveil concerning the mitzvah of Matanot l’evyonim and an Aveil can definitely send e cards with gift certificates attached. May we know only happy occasions, and experience no mourning.

 



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