By Margie Pensak
Star-K Kosher Certification website’s tag line reads, “Kosher–It’s Just Not About Milk and Meat.”True to its word, the non-profit agency’s latest non-food related initiative is providing a public service to readers whose local forecast may be putting a damper (no pun intended!) on their Purim.
According to STAR-K Kashrus Administrator Rabbi Dovid Heber, based on the psak of STAR-K Rabbinic Administrator HaRav Moshe Heinemann, “If you are worried about the snow, with regard to delivering Shaloch Manos, the following ideas are acceptable: Bring the Shalach Manos before Purim Day (e.g. on Purim night) to a neighbor of the recipient and ask them to deliver it on Purim Day for you. If necessary, you can deliver Shalach Manos early Purim morning, for example, in Baltimore (where 6+ inches are forecasted) before the snowfall is expected to be heavy. This can be done even before Shacharis and Megilla [There is an inyan to have Shalach Manos in mind when hearing Shehecheyanu on Purim Day at Megilla, but if necessary it is still okay to give during the day before hearing Megilla and forego this hiddur].”
In Baltimore, for example, one can be yotzai Mishloach Manos after sunrise (after 6:35 a.m. on Purim) and bishas hadchak after dawn (after 5:23 a.m.). If you don’t want to knock at such an early hour, put your name on the package and leave it by their door, as long as they will take it on Purim Day (i.e. they are home and will know to get it at their doorstep). It must be given before sunset on Purim Day (6:03 p.m.). Those residing in other locales, should check local times and plan accordingly.
Rabbi Heber also notes: “If you give out your packages on Purim night or on Friday (Shushan Purim), they are “gifts” and not “Shalach Manos.” If you have no option but to do this, insure that each person in your family gives on Purim Day at least one Shalach Manos package (i.e., two different, appropriate for a gift, and ready to eat food items) to at least one person. If you are unable to leave your home due to the snow, ask a child to deliver it for you or ask a recipient who can come to your house in the snow to pick up the Shalach Manos that you have prepared.”
Matanos L’evyonim can be given to your Rav or local tzdaka organization (e.g. Ahavas Yisroel in Baltimore) before Purim Day as long as you stipulate that the money should be distributed to the needy on Purim Day, adds Rabbi Heber. “If a person did not do this and is homebound on Purim unable to get the funds to the needy, call your Rav, Ahavas Yisroel, or local tzedaka oragnization to make arrangements for distribution of your Matanos L’evyonim on Purim Day. Bishaas hadchak if there is no other viable option, one should set aside cash for the needy on Purim Day and have it distributed after Purim.”