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Latest Question & Answer

Because the time of putting Talis & Tefilin is later nowadays do I put them on right before or right after I say Yishtabach (I want to put them on the first chance possible). If i forget to make the bracha and don't remember till later in the day /evening, what do I do?

In this case we put on tefilin after Yishtabach. If one does not make a beracha on a mitzvah the mitzva is still fulfilled. If one is still wearing tefilin you may move the tefilin and make a beracha [ED. Note: As we prepare to launch our new site, BJL will be partnering with the Star-K on Ask the Rabbi and Kashrus Questions. Rabbi Ari Storch is no longer answering these. This question has been answered by a Star-K Rabbi]

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Giving Machatzis HaShekel

It is the custom to give (just) before Purim,  half of the standard monetary unit in use  in one's local place and at the current time.  in memory of the half-shekel that was given in (every) Adar,  in order to buy the (animals for the) public sacrifices.  It's customary to give three (times the) half (monetary) units  because in Parashat Ki Tisa,1 it writes  the word ''Terumah'' three times.2  One gives (this money) in the evening, before the Megillah reading,  and it is distributed to the poor.  A minor is exempt (from this donation),  but if his father gave on his behalf one time,  (he is) obliged (to continue to give) always.  (Concerning) a thirteen year old boy,  some (authorities) say (that) he is obligated (to donate),  and some (others) say that he is exempt until he is twenty. (KSA: 141:5)
 1) Ex. 30:11.
 2) ''Terumah'' means a donation. From Rosh Chodesh Nissan onwards, the animals used for all the communal sacrifices in the Temple, had to be purchased using money collected that year. Therefore, one month before, on Rosh Hodesh Adar, announcements would be made to remind people to donate the half-shekel, so that animals could be purchased with the ''new'' money before Nissan. The reading of Parashat Shekalim just before (or on) Rosh Hodesh Adar also serves as a reminder of that mitzvah.