Monday, March 09, 2009

Mishloach Manot -- Interesting Applications

By: Rabbi Ari Enkin

In honor of my Rebbe, Rav Ephraim Greenblatt, shlita (cf. the footnotes) on the Yartzeit of his Rebbe, Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt"l

In order to properly fulfill the mitzva of mishloach manot it is essential that both the one giving the mishloach manot is aware of who the recipient is and that the recipient knows who the sender is.[1] A food item which is actually a combination of other items together (i.e. falafel –bread, salad, balls, etc) is considered one food for the purposes of mishloach manot.[2] Although, as a general rule, only ready-to-eat foods are admissible for mishloach manot,[3] one is permitted to send frozen foods, especially if it is known that the recipient owns a microwave.[4] One does not fulfill the mitzva of mishloach manot by sending medicine - even pleasant tasting medicine.[5]

Click here to read moreOne who invites another person, or even an entire family, to one's Purim seuda should not rely on the food one serves to the guests during the meal in order to discharge the mitzva of mishlo'ach manot.[6] Also, there are those who suggest that the two food products should each be given in separate container, rather than in the same package,[7] though common custom is not to be particular about this.[8] One who sends meat products to a vegetarian for mishloach manot may not have fulfilled the mitzva.[9] So too, one should not send someone foods which are known to be hazardous to the recipeint's health.[10] One can send two portions of the same food for mishloach manot.[11]

The mitzva of mishloach manot is incumbent upon men and women alike,[12] and parents should prepare supplementary mishloach manot parcels for their children to distribute.[13] Although it is ideal for everyone to send their own mishloach manot packages, it is also permissible for several people to get together and send a single combined mishloach manot package. Those who choose to send such a group mishloach manot package must ensure that the recipient is aware of all those who contributed to the package, and that the package contains enough food to have sufficed for the individual mishloach manot requirements of each of the senders to properly fulfil the mitzva.[14] One is permitted to send any kosher foods as part of the mishloach manot package, even if they are foods which one personally chooses not to eat due to a chumra.[15]

While the issue is somewhat debated, the consensus is that one cannot fulfill the mitzva of mishloach manot by sending cigarettes, Torah-related materials (food for the soul), or even money with which the recipient can buy food.[16] There is a minority opinion that allows for women to send clothes to other women as mishloach manot.[17] It is also questionable whether or not one fulfills the mitzva of mishloach manot by giving to children. One who sends a mishloach manot package before Purim, ensuring that the recipient receives it on Purim, will still fulfill the mitzva of mishloach manot.[18] One does not fulfill the mitzva of mishloach manot if the recipient is drunk when receiving the mishloach manot package. The mitzva of mishloach manot is also not fulfilled if the recipients are not home when the mishloach manot package is left at their door and only return home once Purim has ended.

Simchat Purim!

....................and thanks again to Steg!


[1] Kesav Sofer O.C. 141, Rivevot Ephraim 4:176
[2] Rivevot V'yovlot 4:1
[3] Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 142:2
[4] Rivevot Ephraim 6:387
[5] Rivevot Ephraim 7:324
[6] Rivevot Ephraim 8:388:2
[7] Rivevot Ephraim 2:189:10
[8] Teshuvot V'hanhagot 2:346
[9] Rivevot Ephraim 6:387
[10] Rivevot Ephraim 2:189:9
[11] Rivevot Ephraim 4:173:57
[12] Rema, OC 695:4.
[13] Pri Megadim, Eishel Avraham 695:14.
[14] Rivevot Ephraim 1:459:2. Some authorities require that the package contain at least two foods on behalf of each of the participants. Others suggest that even two foods may be sent if the foods reflect the quality and financial value of the number of participants.
[15] Rivevot Ephraim 1:459:3
[16] Tzitz Eliezer 9:33, Nitei Gavriel 28:1.
[17] Nitei Gavriel 28:2.
[18] Be'er Heitev 695:7, Shraga Hameir 4:44:3

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