Readers’ Matzav: Mishloach Manos Gone Mad

23

mishloach-manos3Dear Editor,

I am writing in regard to the ‘mishloach manos syndrome,’ the extravagance and pressure that has gotten out of hand. Priorities are misplaced, while spouses and children suffer due to Mommy’s sleepless nights and egoistic drive to evoke the coveted ‘Wow!’ reaction from relatives and friends.

It is a sad scenario of a mitzvah taken out of proportion and to a wrong extreme. Wrong motive, wrong action, wrong outcome.

Once we’re at it, let me mention that people should realize that the Kiddush at their next son’s bar mitzvah doesn’t have to cost $10,000 so that people talk about it for months after. My mishloach manos doesn’t have to dazzle the 250 people on our “list.”

To be honest with you, I’ve never really been a big fan of mishloach manos themes. I’m from those who always said that our theme is “mishloach manos.”

What about Purim costumes? Why should we be embarrassed to have less money to spend on costumes, especially those of us whose husbands are learning or earning a typical rebbi‘s salary? Do we need the costumes to go along with the theme of the mishloach manos?

How about the person whose children dressed up as the Three Blind Mice? They were going to give out Mickey Mouse lollypops, cheese, and runny chocolate chip cookies. The last idea was going to be a little more complicated and slightly corny: “See how they run.”

Have we lost our minds?

And what if, chas veshalom, your youngest daughter doesn’t want to dress up as a blind mouse, but as Queen Esther?

Hashem help us.

Confused in Flatbush

23 COMMENTS

  1. I have seen a massive positive change in the past few years. People have downsized their mishloach manos in recent years. Most of the mishloach manos I received last year, had 2 items nicely wrapped. Kol Hakovod to all those who do not live their lives to impress others.

  2. The mitzvah, I believe, is to give Mishloach Manos to ONE other person…not ONE HUNDRED others. This year, any extra money that would be spent on the 100 others should instead be donated to the surviving Fogel children’s tzedakah fund. You can do this online at the National Council of Young Israels’s website:

    https://www.youngisrael.org/securecontent/donate.cfm

    Where it says “Donation Information” scroll down to “Fogel Family Emergency Fund” (its the last choice on the drop-down menu).

  3. We have undoubtedly lost our minds, but the question is what should you do about it.

    One answer, which I think is fairly proactive, is to write an article for matzav.com. Perhaps, someone will read this and give a second thought to your words. Perhaps.

    However, whenever I see the shtus in the velt, I at least try to ask the Ribono Shel Olam what am I doing wrong. When I’m bothered by other peoples’ hurried tefillos, I usually don’t have to look past my last Ashrei or Alainu (or a lot of other tefillos).

    Honestly, I applaud you for writing this. My words are not written with a biting tone. I hope that comes across. I agree with you. So, . . . lovingly don l’chaf z’chus. It’s been a long and bitter galus. People have lots of stresses and challenges, and we all deal with them in our own (sometimes crazy) ways. Give simply. Look at where you can be more simple.

    A freilichin!

  4. No, nunu, let them become normal. Misloach Monos is meant what it is supposed to be, and not a sick meshugas of “themes” and competition in dressing up, and in sending the most expensive nosh that only benefits the dentist and the grocery.
    A can of tuna, grapejuice, are just fine. And the best ‘shalach monos are those that are given to be eaten by the Purim seuda!
    Mothers out there: save your money for tzedaka. There are plenty of people in your community, yes, in your own community, that have no money for food! have rachmonos on them. Stop wasting precious money.

  5. I cannot speak for anyone else but myself. if someone is creative and enjoys the “theme shalach manos” kol hakovod, please let them continue. Just don’t look down on those of us who are not creative or cannot afford an elaborate shalach manos. The whole point is to spread ahava and reyus, not to arouse kinnah.

  6. Because of financial restraints, we give one per household member. We include a baked good and a beverage and a few other items, depending on what I want to cook or bake that year.

  7. yes you may be right but what is the difference between this and weddings, vorts, kiddushim etc. Sukkos, pesach etc. Everyone is always trying to outdo – if that is their goal in life let them do it. You do what you feel is right and don’t look at others. Enjoy

  8. What is wrong with a theme? It shows creativity. Personally, our family has a different Torah Theme for the last 22 years. It shows you sat down and thought about it. This is what Torah is all about: Hachana.

  9. I AM SO SICK OF EVERYONE MINDING EVERYONE ELSES BUSINESS. THE HALACHA IS TO BE MARBEH MISHLOACH MANOS AS WELL. IF YOU CAN ONLY BE MARBE ONE THEN BE MARBEH MATANOS LEVYONIM. LET PEOPLE HAVE THEIR THEMES AND ENJOY THEIR DAY. DON’T TELL THEM TO GIVE IT TO FOGEL, JAOANES BACHURIM ETC… THAT IS THERE BUSINESS. I HAVE GIVEN THEM MONEY AND STILL ALLOW MY WIFE TO ENJOY HER SHALACH MANOS GIVING. SHE WORKS VERY HARD AND LOOKS FORWARD TO IT. YOU DON’T LIKE IT SO YOU DON’T GIVE IT. STOP TRYING TO EASE YOUR MIND BY TELLIMNG EVERYONE ELSE WHAT TO DO.

  10. While I agree with all of the above 100%, there is one more factor that I would like you all to consider. There are some of us that are very creative and artistic but don’t usually have a chance to express that creativity and use the talent that Hashem gave.
    I do make a theme with the mishloach manos and costumes, and I make a card with my kids in costume and a cute poem. However, I wouldn’t spend more than I feel I could/should just to fit my theme, but I make it work. I enjoy it and I don’t always get to do this kind of thing.
    My point is, when you see a “themed mishloach manos” don’t just roll your eyes and consider this person shallow/competitive/spending too much.
    (And yes, I do try to use my creativity for the benefit of chesed and other mitzvos).

  11. Every year we send out cards in the mail with the following statement (the nusach changes slightly each year):
    —————————-
    GRAMMEN:
    It’s Purim, Tof Shin Samech Ches,
    which will put us through the ultimate test:
    To follow the words of the Rambam, about Mishloach Manos
    who says it’s surely better, to give evyonim matanos.
    ???? ???? ?????? ?????? ???????, ??????? ??????? ?????? ??????
    ???”?, ?”? ???’ ????? ??’ ?”?
    In your honor, a
    donation was made to
    Kupa Shel Tzedaka
    —————————-

  12. Rambam,

    Your idea is even worse. Do I care that a donation was made in my honor on a tzedakah card? Now if you give me the s’char for that tzedakah giving, that is the ultimate gift and well worth it but that’s no implied in your letter..

  13. Since when did Yiddishkeit become such a massive KVETCH scene?? This is one (of many) mitzvos that is light and enjoyable and spreads Purim cheer; people have a great time thinking of and seeing other people’s adorable (or not so adorable) themes. If you feel pressured to spend more than your budget allows, or to stretch yourself thin to impress everyone else, THAT’S YOUR PROBLEM, not the people who are enjoying Purim’s fault.
    I don’t do themes, my shalach manos costs around four bucks each, for twelve people… I love seeing everyone else’s cute ideas and feel touched that people thought of me and my family and made the effort to come see me on Purim. I ooh and aah over their kid’s costumes and they over mine, and that, my friends, is what Purim’s all about. Donating money instead of shalach manos is quite ludicrous, actually.
    Does that increase ahava v’achva??? Giving matanos l’evyonim is beautiful, but it’s got nothing to do with mishloach manos.
    Lighten up, everyone! Stop looking at what everyone else is doing and make Purim enjoyable for your own families.
    It’s attitude!!!!
    A Freilichen Purim!

  14. 1. most theme shalach monos actually have very little food so stop carping about the wasted food.
    2. most theme shalach monos cost much less than a decent non theme shalach monos. as the giver and the recipient you are happy with the cheap junk because it creatively fits into the theme whereas when you get a cheap box of chocolates and a small bottle of grape juice you are really not excited.
    3.why does everyone keep yelling about how many other people give? to quiet who gives one per household member, what do you do about your block? do you not reciprocate when they send you? because if you live on a frum block that usually adds up to a nice number of shalach monos.
    4.children enjoy giving something they think is nice. I have gotten some incredible junk that fit into a theme and the children who deliver who are not necessarily little children, beam with pride at their or their mother’s creativity. the children who deliver some junk thrown in a box know the difference.
    Maybe all you complainers are the ones who don’t understand the enjoyment because none of you was ever machsiv the mitzvah of mishloach monos.
    finally to all you who complain about how much I spend on shalach monos, what do you do with elderly relatives, parents and teachers and rabbeim? Do you not remember these people with appropriate shalach monos and gifts? i find that these add up to as much as i spend on my theme although i send many less of those. Purim can be used as a time to show respect and hakoras hatov to those who deserve it so PLEASE stop looking at what everyone else does and enjoy what you do and what you get. Why does it bother you to get something that will make you smile if only for a minute?

  15. nebach. the whole idea behind this mitzva is to increase friendship and love with others. in essence about the other person. but nebuch todays society is so wrapped(pun intended) up in “self” that its so far reaching-into our mitzvos and how we perform them. let these blogs not get out of hand and start going sensitive and maybe do matonos levionim more as rambam states. i will dan lcaf zechus that it started from good intentions. but sadly we misssing the boat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. This year, for family, a small wrapped food basket personally delivered. For close friends, we sent a personalized card, with one kosher food item included. In the card, we also noted that a donation was made for tzedaka.

    Tzedaka never is wrong, IMO anyway.

    http://www.cardgrowth.blogspot.com

  17. Wow! Too much time on everyone’s hands. I wonder if any Mitzva D’oryasa, ben adam l’chavero gets this much ink. It is a Mitzva that is tangible and allows for leeway in its kiyum, so enjoy it. During this time of both spiritual tragedy and the most immediate physical tragedy in Itamar, shouldn’t we try to do a Mitzva with Simcha.
    So, enjoy and have a Freilichen Purim. And by the way, those of you that are giving Hamentashen in a crystal dish, that is a bit over the top.

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