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Have a question? Send it in! Questions are answered by Rabbi Bartfeld.

Blog Image: AskTheRabbi.jpg
# 1274 Give Me a Break
Q. How much is this year the minimum amount for Matanot Laevyonim and for the (half coin) Machatzit Hashekel?

A. On question 507 on this forum we wrote: “Horav Shlomo Miller Shlit’a advises to give at least a dollar for matonos loevyonim, (a Zichron Binyomin dollar is also good). The reason is that you can acquire a roll of bread and something in it, to be used for a minimum seudah.” That still stands today.

As far as machatzis hashekel we wrote, “if possible you can give seven (Canadian) dollars, the approximate value of the silver in that half a shekel coin today.” (March 2014, the price of a silver Troy ounce was then $19.7 usd. - on March 7, 2017 the price is $17.6 usd.)

On question 1024 in this forum we wrote: “Rema (O.H. 694: 1) rules that we donate besides Matonos Laevyonim, also Machatzis Hashekel, but the amounts differ. Mishna Berura (694: 2) asserts to follow the opinion of the Ritvo (Megila 7b) that one fulfils the matonos laevyonim obligation even with two prutos (one prutah per indigent) or its equivalent in food. (“shaveh Prutah”) The value of a perutah according to the opinion of the Chazon Ish is 1/40 or .025 of a gram of silver, and according to the Masoro it is .0182 of a gram of silver (Masores Hashekel p.119) At today's (Adar 5776) price of silver (about $0.50 U.S.D. per gram) it would result in $0.0125 or $0.0091, a bit more or less than a penny. Although one fulfills one’s obligation with a prutah, nonetheless, Poskim write that it’s proper to give each poor person a significant and meaningful gift (Maharsho – Megila ibid.) Others maintain that it should be enough to purchase three egg volumes of bread (Sha'arey Teshuvo 694, see also other opinions on Nitey Gavriel – Purim 33:2) Yeme Mishteh VeSimcha (p. 244 – published in 5766) quotes Rav Elyashiv zt'l as saying that even though one fulfills one’s obligation with a prutah, nonetheless, it’s proper to give each poor person about 5 shekalim which is an amount which would make the poor person happy. Halichot Shlomo (chap 19, note 62) quotes Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt”l as having said that in order to fulfill all opinions one should give an amount which is significant by the giver and by the taker’s standards. In question 507 in this forum we wrote that Horav Shlomo Miller Shlit'a advises to give at least a dollar (Canadian) for matonos loevyonim, (a Zichron Binyomin paper equivalent dollar is also good). The reason is that you can still acquire a roll of bread with something in it, to be used for a minimum seudah. The Rov maintains that on this year, although the Canadian dollar has decreased in value, the above still stands.”

A machatzis hashekel is the value of 9.6 grams of silver lechumra and 7.5 grams in leniency. The price of silver was yesterday (March 8, 17), approximately $0.76 Canadian per gram. So the value of machatzis hashekel is between $7.30 to $5.70.

Horav Shlomo Miller’s Shlit’a opinion is that you can use the lower figure.

Rabbi A. Bartfeld as revised by Horav Shlomo Miller Shlit"a


Posted 3/10/2017 1:22 PM | Tell a Friend | Ask The Rabbi | Comments (0)

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