What constitutes a poor person? If someone is a student, and they are living off of loans without a current income, are they considered poor and could one fulfill the mitzvah of Matanos L'Evyonim by giving charity to them?

  • Depends on their parents & the customary practice in their locale. In terms of the definition found in the Torah, “poor” also refers to those who are poor in Torah & mitzvot. But Evyonim usually refers to those who are actually, materially disadvantaged. – Yaacov Deane Mar 1 '18 at 2:34
  • And in case no one has offered it, happy Purim! A time of miraculous redemption for our people. – Yaacov Deane Mar 1 '18 at 2:36
  • A recent MY question mentioned a rule that anyone who comes by asking for tzedaka on Purim, you give to. In other words, you don't attempt to verify anything whatsoever; you assume he is poor. I'm assuming that this applies to even someone whom you know is rich. Even if he comes by, you give him. Perhaps, something unknown has occurred, or maybe he's planning to give to someone else. If he's lying, that's his problem with G-d; not yours. – DanF Mar 1 '18 at 15:26

Shulchan Aruch, OC 694:3:

אין מדקדקין במעות פורים אלא כל מי שפושט ידו ליטול נותנים לו ובמקום שנהגו ליתן אף לעכו"ם נותנים:

We're not particular regarding money of Purim, but rather, anyone who sticks out their hand to take, we give him. In a place where the custom is to give to even non-Jews, we give them.

So, when you ask if people with certain criteria

are considered poor and could one fulfill the mitzvah of Matanos L'Evyonim by giving charity to them?

the answer is that those criteria are unnecessary as pertains to Matanos L'Evyonim.

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  • 6
    Who you have to give to and who you fulfill the Mitzva with are different categories. – Double AA Jan 20 '19 at 21:09
  • @DoubleAA You have to give מעות פורים, and we see that you don’t check to ensure that whoever you’re giving it to is an עני. What more do you want? – DonielF Jan 20 '19 at 22:12
  • 2
    I'll say it differently: it's possible you have to give someone without that gift counting towards your minimum requirement for the day. – Double AA Jun 19 '19 at 21:06

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