Bring an outsider to Boro Park on Purim, and he won't know where to look
first. Costumed children, dancing chassidim, and music-blaring vehicles
vie for attention. One has to get caught up in it all, despite the impossible
traffic. But a careful observer will note that he has not chanced upon a
typical reveling community. There's something different here, something
strangely unusual. The joy seems to come from a force unprevalent in the
general population. It has a lot to do with bags and baskets, and cash flowing
from hand to hand. It's the joy of giving.
The joy of giving is not new to Judaism. And on Purim, it reaches new heights.
People seem to be driven by one goal on Purim - to give everything they
must in order to fulfill the mitzvos of the day. They rush about the streets,
delivering mishloach manos and dispensing matanos l'evyonim - gifts to the
poor. And from the looks of the troupes of fundraisers traipsing up and
down stairs, the giving goes on inside, too.
One group of people rushing about is on a special Purim mission. They travel
all over the city, dispensing matanos l'evyonim. They are the Ezras Yisroel
volunteers. And they spend the day dispensing the funds entrusted to them.
They distribute funds to people who are truly poor - people who may not
have the means to pay for basics. Like rent. Or tuition. Even food. It may
be difficult to believe that there are really poor people living in our
midst. But Ezras Yisroel has seen it all.
They often see peeling paint, children sleeping on the floor, and icy basement
"I was horrified to find six children sitting around a broken table
eating a can of peas for supper", said one volunteer. "Their mother
explained that this week's paycheck paid for a bottle of antibiotics for
the baby." All this, in a basement in the heart of a frum Brooklyn
community! Ezras Yisroel was able to help this family and others.
Ezras Yisroel is a unique organization founded and endorsed by leading rabbonim.
It was a favorite project of Rav Avraham Pam zatzal, who not only placed
needy families on the matanos l'evyonim list, but also personally distributed
the funds to those families on Purim!
Every person on Ezras Yisroel's list is referred by a rav. That's how this
worthy organization ensures that their matanos l'evyonim funds go to true
evyonim - really poor people. That's a very important point, considering
that in order to fulfill the mitzva of giving gifts to the poor on Purim,
the money must go to evyonim.
There's another issue that Ezras Yisroel takes very seriously. The people
on their list are poor, it is true, but they are also proud. And many have
refused to accept help, although they are clearly suffering. That's where
Ezras Yisroel's creativity comes into play. When it comes to getting the
money where it is most needed, they let nothing stand in the way. The recipient
may find himself holding a cash-filled envelope, without quite knowing how
it reached him. In the general hullabaloo of Purim, he most likely won't
have much time to ponder the mystery. But he certainly will enjoy the rest
of the day much more.
You'll enjoy your Purim more, too, if you give to Ezras Yisroel's matanos
l'evyonim campaign. The Rambam says, "There is no greater joy than
the joy of gladdening the hearts of the poor, the orphaned, the widowed,
, for he who gladdens their hearts is likened to the shechinah."
In fact, the Rambam says that it is better to spend more on the mitzva of
matanos l'evyonim than on the mitzvos of mishloach manos and the Purim meal.
And certainly, you'll want to ensure that this very important mitzva is
performed correctly, by giving your gift to truly poor people, on Purim.
Ezras Yisroel delivers its gifts to the poor on Purim. That's because although
tzedakkah is always a mitzva, matanos l'evyonim can only be given on the
fourteenth day of Adar.
If you want to fulfill the mitzva of matanos l'evyonim, you can participate
in Ezras Yisroel's Purim campaign. You'll know that your money is going
to true evyonim, and that it will be delivered on Purim. And you'll also
know that because Ezras Yisroel is a volunteer organization, every cent
of your gift to the poor will go to the poor. It will never be spent on
salaries, or even on postage or office supplies. All of the administrative
costs are covered by independent donors, so that your donation goes where
you want it.
Ezras Yisroel volunteers will be conducting appeals in many
shuls. Please respond generously. The evyonim are counting
on them - and on you. Send your tax-deductible contribution
to Ezras Yisroel, 4415 14th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11219; or
fax your credit card information to 866-871-4104, so that
your gift can be forwarded to the poor, hassle-free. You can
call Ezras Yisroel at 801- 601-4644, for more information
and rabbinical endorsements. Or you may choose to make your
donation on our secure server by clicking
Make your Purim meaningful and joyous - by gladdening the hearts of the
poor, with the help of Ezras Yisroel.