Rabbi Smason – Shabbos/Purim Letter 2021

Dear Members and Friends,

I am pleased to inform you that based upon guidance from our medical advisors, we will be able to accommodate a total of twenty (20) individuals at Shabbos morning services beginning this coming Shabbos, February 13. On Shabbos mornings we will also begin the use of a brief health-screening questionnaire card with a fold-down tab. Upon entry to the shul, each person will be presented with a card to affirm the questions on the screening form.

With Purim just two weeks away, we are looking forward to a joyous and meaningful Purim. I’m also pleased to inform you that based upon guidance from our medical advisors we will be able to accommodate a total of thirty (30) NHBZ members for each of the Megillah readings. A Megillah reading will take place on Thursday evening, February 26, and Friday morning, February 27. For those wanting to attend our Megillah readings, reservations are a MUST.

Please contact Jeff Miller at jeff@nhbz.org or at 314 991-2100 x 2 to let him know if you would like to attend the evening and/or morning Megillah readings. The reservation deadline is Tuesday, February 23 at 5:00 P.M. We will also have a brief health-screening questionnaire at both of the Purim Megillah-reading services.

We do hope to accommodate all those interested in attending our Megillah readings. In the event that more than 30 individuals pre-register for a Megillah reading, a random selection will be made to determine those who can attend. In the event any members might be unable to attend a Megillah reading due to capacity restrictions, those members will have first priority to attend our other Megillah reading.

Regarding children under the age of 13 (boys) and 12 (girls), we must ask that they be registered only as ‘alternates’ in the event we do not have 30 registrations for our Megillah readings. Since hearing the Megillah on Purim is a halachic obligation for adults, any adult NHBZ member will have first priority to attend.

We also plan to broadcast both of our Megillah readings by Zoom. If an individual is unable to attend a live Megillah reading, he or she can rely upon the opinion that one can fulfill the mitzvah of hearing the Megillah read by Zoom.

The Purim Seudah (festive meal) can be fulfilled in the morning (Friday), but in any event, should be completed by 2:30 P.M. Regarding the mitzvah of Mishloach Manos (gifts of food), one can fulfill the mitzvah by leaving a Mishloach Manos package on a person’s porch if it is a safe and secure area and the recipient will receive it on Purim provided that the recipient is made aware of the identity of the giver.

Please keep in mind that the mitzvah of Mishloach Manos only requires the delivery of two separate food or drink items to one person. Therefore, although in most years it is considered praiseworthy to give Mishloach Manos to many people during this year one may rely upon fulfillment of the essential mitzvah to give Mishloach Manos to one individual.

Matanos L’Evyonim (Tzedaka on Purim Day) can be given in advance to those who will be distributing gifts to the poor on Purim from Matanos L’Evyonim funds. As in past years, I will be distributing Matanos L’Evyonim both locally and through the worthy organization of Od Yosef Chai. If you would like me to be your proxy to distribute Matanos L’Evyonim, please make sure your check arrives at the synagogue no later than Wednesday, February 24. The check should be made out to ‘The Rabbi’s Fund’ with a notation ‘for Purim Tzedaka.

Parshas Zachor will be read at shul on Shabbos, February 20. For those not able to attend, hopefully, we will all be able to be in shul this summer to listen to Parshas Zachor again at the conclusion of Parshas Ki Teitzei (8/21/2021), at which point someone who did not previously hear it live should have in mind to fulfill the obligation again at that time.

If you have any questions about Purim or any other matter, please feel free to contact me at Pepshort613@gmail.com or 314 749-5271

Rabbi Ze’ev Smason