Understanding the significance of Matanot L’evyonim

Matanot L’evyonim

In the Jewish tradition, giving back to those in need is an important aspect of living a fulfilling and meaningful life. One way to do this is through the practice of Matanot L’evyonim, or giving charity gifts to the poor. This tradition holds great significance and has the power to make a positive impact on both the giver and the receiver. In this article, we will explore the meaning and importance of Matanot L’evyonim and how it can help us connect with our community and fulfill our spiritual obligations.

What is Matanot L’evyonim?

The Meaning of Matanot La’evyonim

Matanot L’evyonim translates to “gifts to the poor” in Hebrew. It is a practice that dates back to ancient times and is rooted in the Jewish belief of tzedakah, or the obligation to give to those in need. In the book of Esther, it is written that on the holiday of Purim, it is a mitzvah (commandment) to give gifts to the poor. This tradition has been carried on throughout the generations and is still observed by many Jews today.

The Practice of Matanot L’evyonim

On the holiday of Purim, it is customary to give mishloach manot and at least two gifts to two different poor individuals. These gifts can be in the form of money, food, or other necessities. It is also common to give to organizations that support the poor and those in need. The gifts should be given on the day of Purim itself, but it is also acceptable to give them a few days before or after the holiday.

The Significance of Matanot L’evyonim

Fulfilling Our Spiritual Obligations

In Judaism, giving to those in need is not just a kind gesture, but a spiritual obligation. The Torah teaches us that we have a responsibility to help those who are less fortunate than us. By giving Matanot L’evyonim, we are fulfilling this obligation and connecting with our faith in a meaningful way.

Connecting with Our Community

Matanot L’evyonim is not just about giving to the poor, but also about connecting with our community. By giving to those in need, we are strengthening the bonds within our community and showing that we care for one another. This act of kindness can bring people together and create a sense of unity and compassion.

Practicing Gratitude

In our fast-paced world, it can be easy to take our blessings for granted. By giving Matanot L’evyonim, we are reminded of how fortunate we are and how important it is to show gratitude for what we have. This practice can help us cultivate a sense of appreciation and humility, which are important values in the Jewish faith.

Making a Positive Impact

Charity gifts have the power to make a positive impact on both the giver and the receiver. For the receiver, it can provide much-needed support and assistance. For the giver, it can bring a sense of fulfillment and purpose. By giving Matanot L’evyonim, we are not only helping those in need, but also improving our own well-being.

How to Incorporate Matanot L’evyonim into Your Life

Giving Back on Purim

The holiday of Purim is the perfect opportunity to practice Matanot L’evyonim. As we celebrate the victory of the Jewish people over their enemies, we can also remember the importance of giving to those in need. Take the time to research organizations that support the poor and make a donation in honor of the holiday.

Giving Back Throughout the Year

While Matanot L’evyonim is traditionally practiced on Purim, there is no reason why we can’t incorporate this practice into our lives throughout the year. Consider setting aside a portion of your income each month to give to those in need. You can also volunteer your time at local organizations that support the poor and help make a difference in your community.

Teaching the Next Generation

As parents, it is important to teach our children the value of giving back and the significance of Matanot L’evyonim. Involve your children in the process of giving and explain to them the importance of helping others. This will not only instill important values in them, but also create a sense of empathy and compassion.

Matanot L’evyonim in Action

Charity Gifts in Israel

In Israel, the practice of Matanot L’evyonim is taken very seriously. On Purim, it is common for people to dress up in costumes and go door-to-door collecting money for the poor. This money is then distributed to those in need, ensuring that everyone has a chance to celebrate the holiday with joy and abundance.

Matanot L’evyonim in the Modern World

In today’s world, technology has made it easier than ever to give to those in need. There are many online platforms and apps that allow you to donate to organizations that support the poor and those in need. You can also use social media to spread awareness and encourage others to give back.


Matanot L’evyonim is a beautiful tradition that holds great significance in the Jewish faith. By giving charity gifts to the poor, we are fulfilling our spiritual obligations, connecting with our community, and making a positive impact on the world. As we celebrate Purim, let us remember the importance of giving back and continue to practice Matanot L’evyonim throughout the year.

For further reading please check out this Chabad resource: https://www.chabad.org/holidays/purim/article_cdo/aid/5846239/jewish/Matanot-Laevyonim-FAQs.htm


  1. What Gifts Do You Give to the Poor on Purim?

    Gifts to the poor on Purim, known as Matanot La’Evyonim, involve giving charity to at least two needy individuals. These gifts are typically in the form of money or food, ensuring that everyone can partake in the Purim celebration. The objective is to spread joy and unity within the community, reflecting the holiday’s spirit of generosity.

  2. How to Fulfill Matanot La’Evyonim

    To fulfill the mitzvah of Matanot La’Evyonim, donate directly to at least two people in need or through a trusted organization that ensures the gifts are distributed on Purim day. The donation should be enough for the recipient to afford a Purim meal, embodying the spirit of communal celebration and support.

When they have nowhere to turn, who will be there for them?