What is the accepted amount of money to be given in order to fulfill the mitzvah of matanat l’evyonim

1. as an adult
2. as a child – mitzvah of chinuch

Answer:

1. Although Mishnah Berurah (696:2) writes, in the name of Ritva, that a perutah for each evyon is sufficient, some have stated that today’s perutah cannot purchase anything, and therefore one would not fulfill the mitzvah with a solitary perutah (Rav Elyashiv). Therefore one must give a “small amount”. Machazik Beracha writes (in the name of Zera Yaakov 11) that the matanah should be enought to purchase a basic meal, which consists of “three eggs”–meaning, a small amount of bread. It is preferable, however, to give an amount that would be sufficient to give the poor person joy. In Israel, this would be approximately 20 shekels.

2. Authorities dispute whether or not the obligtation of chinuch applies here, because the child does not have any money (Eishel Avraham writes that it doesn’t; Peri Megadim and Beis Yaakov write that it does). However, giving a perutah, or a small amount, would be sufficient even for the stringent opinion, and there is no need to give an amount that will bring the poor person joy.

Tags: gifts matanos la'evyonim Purim

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