FAQs

Ta’anis Esther this year will be Wednesday, March 4. What time does the fast begin and when does it end?

The fast begins when one goes to sleep at night, unless one plans to wake up early to eat before the fast begins. If one planned to wake up early,…

Who is obligated to give a Machtzit Hashekel and when should it be given?

When the Temple stood in Jerusalem, there was an obligation in the month of Adar for every adult male to contribute a half-shekel coin toward the purchase of the upcoming…

Can one fulfill their obligation of Purim seudah (festive meal) on the first night of Purim?

The mitzvah to eat a seudah on Purim is specifically in the day. However, it is proper to eat a partial seudah at night as well [1], and it is…

What is the earliest/latest time that one can read the Megillah on the day of Purim?

The Megillah can be read anytime during the day of Purim, from sunrise until sunset [1]; however, to show our enthusiasm for the mitzvah it is proper to read the…

If I began my Purim seudah during the day, but it did not finish until after tzeis ha’kochavim, do I still recite Al Hanisim in bentching?

Yes. However, there is an opinion that if one already davened Ma’ariv, then they should no longer recite Al Hanisim in bentching. Therefore, to avoid this question, it is proper…

What are the guidelines for mishloach manot?

Both men and women are required to fulfill the mitzvah of mishloach manot. One must send two different portions of food or drink to at least one other Jew. The…

What are the restrictions for an aveil (one who is in their year of mourning the loss of a parent or thirty days of mourning the loss of other close relatives) regarding sending and receiving mishloach manot?

Everyone is obligated to fulfill the mitzvah of mishloach manot, including one who is in mourning. However, because these gift baskets are associated with an extra happiness, which is an…

What are the guidelines for matanot l’evyonim?

Every Jew is obligated to give gifts to two needy individuals. All men, women and children over the age of bar mitzvah are obligated in this mitzvah, even if they…

How should one conduct himself with respect to drinking on Purim?

While there are different halachic opinions regarding drinking on Purim, clearly, the safety of you and those around you takes precedence. One should exercise proper discretion. The OU does not…

Which items are considered pat (bread-like items) with respect to Pat Yisrael?

The minhag (custom) applies to breads, cakes, pies, pretzels and crackers. (In technical terms, it applies to all pat habo bikosnin. (For an in-depth explanation of pat habo bikosnin, see the…