"Shabbat Zachor" ("Shabbat of Remembering") 9 Adar(Feb. 24, 2018)
This is the only Shabbat each year that every man and woman is obligated(according to most authorities) by Torah law to go to the synagogue. On this day, a section of the Torah, called "Zachor" (in Hebrew, "Remember") is appended to the weekly Torah reading. By hearing it read publicly on the Shabbat immediately preceding Purim, we fulfill the Torah commandment in it: "Remember what Amalek [the ancestor and inspiration of Haman, the villain of Purim] did to you". (Deut. 25:17-19)
Fast of Esther 13 Adar, Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018
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, Feb. 28 - March 1, 2018)
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. (If you don't encounter anyone that qualifies, you can click here and Donate to Emuna Outreach and Rav Shalom Arush will perform the mitzvah in your behalf on Purim day.)
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 2, 2018)
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!