What Are Mishloach Manot?

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Rabbi Lawrence
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mishloach manot

On Purim one of the special mitzvot we perform is giving food gifts to friends. The reason we perform this mitzvah is to bring joy to others and to generally increase happiness among Jewish people on Purim. What better way to make friends happy than to give them food packages!

By doing this we add unity to our people and this in turn allows the Jewish people to be judged favorably in heaven.

We also do this, say Chazal, to ensure that people have sufficient food for the special meal they eat on Purim.

To fulfill this mitzvah one needs to give at least two types of foods to at least one person, but you may of course give as many portions to as many people as you wish. Still, says the Chafetz Chaim, it is better to give more money to the poor, which is another mitzvah of the day, than to over spend on food for friends.

One should send foods that are ready to eat, and do not require cooking. Raw meat or fish should not be sent, but cooked dishes, or ready to eat packaged items like cookies, should be sent.

Two different types of food or two different types of drink, or a food and a drink should be given.

Many people are unaware but the quality of the gift should fit the status of the recipient and the giver. A wealthy person should send nicer packages to others. If one has a wealthier or important friend like a rabbi they should be given better packages than say someone who is less wealthy or esteemed!