Fast of Esther 13 Adar, Wednesday, March 20, 2019
The fast starts before dawn and ends after dark, and entails no eating or drinking. There are special services at synagogue both morning and afternoon. The money saved by not eating should go to charity; the time, to Torah-study and mitzva-performance.
Purim 14 Adar (Wednesday Night - Thursday, March 20-21, 2019)
1. Megilla - Hear a public reading of the Scroll of Esther in the evening and again during the day.
2. Matanot L’evyonim - "Gifts for the Poor": Give money to at least two needy individuals.
3. Mishloach Manot: Send (via a third party) a gift of two or more kinds of ready-to-eat foods and/or drink to at least one friend (not a relative).
4. Se’udat Purim: Celebrate at a festive day-time meal with bread, good food, and plenty of red wine. The Talmud and Codes of Law instruct us to drink until we can no longer differentiate between "Blessed is Mordechai" and "Cursed is Haman"! (A few authorities opine that the minimum obligation is to drink only "a bit more than what one is used to". Looking ahead to Passover night, perhaps the quantity implied is 4 cups plus!).
5. Add "Al HaNissim" to the daily Standing Prayers and to the Blessings-After-Meals. (See daily prayerbook in the Thanksgiving/Modim section of the Standing Prayer.)
Shushan Purim 15 Adar (Friday, March 22, 2019)
Inhabitants of cities that were important enough to be surrounded by walls at the time of the Jews' entrance into the Holy Land at the time of Joshua celebrate Purim one day later than everyone else (see Esther 9:17-19). The prime example is that of Jerusalem. Be careful this year to complete all the mitzvoth of Purim, including the festive meal, well before sundown and the beginning of Shabbat.
Be sure to pass this post on to whoever needs it! Happy Purim preparations!