Readers’ Matzav: Mishloach Manos Gone Mad


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


  1. I agree with you a thousand percent..the themes are way out of line..the prices these things cost as well add up..eveyone always tries to outdo the next family and i just laugh at these stupidities and always say, why cant they just be simple..i always tell my husband instead of doing something lavish for purim, lets buy nice things for the kids for pesach..and we have Baruch Hashem have successfully done this for over 9 years..

  2. maybe it is like that in Brooklyn, where you live. Where I live, out of town, and from all my siblings, in Lakewood, Brooklyn, and Baltimore, everyone is trying to make it as simple as possible. We all try to find something nice and simple – a small veg platter, cookie and milk, small kugel with pickle etc……. Don’t go with the flow -do what you want and don’t worry about other people – if that is what they want to do, let them. Why does it have to bother you.

  3. i don’t think people are spending so much these days. mine costed less than $2 and looks classy.. and of course, those kids who don’t want to dress up as a theme, dont! i don’t think it is exactly the way you put it.
    it used to be as above, but not so much these days.

  4. Some people are talented and creative, others are not. Kol hakovod to those who are talented and can afford the theme based Shaloch Manos. Personally, I am just as happy with the donuts/chocolate milk packages as I am with someone’s over the top “theme” package. Why? The mitzvah of shaloch manos is to foster the idea of friendship. Just by getting the package my friends have shown that myself and my family mean something to them. I remember the days when shaloch manos meant a paper plate, some Hershey’s candies (yes i know it’s chalav stam), a fruit and of course several hamantashen (remember them?).

  5. The problem is not Mishloach Manos gone mad. The problem is I have to live up the Jones – no different than agonizing over driving the nicest car or the house you live in. If you have money, so buy a nice car. If you have talent, kol hakovod to use it for mishloach manos. If you don’t have it – know your place and don’t blame anyone else for using the talents they have.

  6. Forget about the Joneses. If someone thinks so much less of you because you dont dress your kids a certain way then chances are, much as they be nice and friendly to you, they aren’t your type and you wouldn’t want to associate with people like them anyhow. Someone should start a new system to have people trying to spend as little per Mishloach Manos as possible.

  7. Its a valid point. The purpose of Mishloach Monos is to increase friendship. Forcing a girl to dress up a Mickey mouse (not minnie) to match an expensive theme, and give to fewer people- while not enjoying the Yom Tov, may not be utilizing Purim to the full extent…

  8. we are a stiff necked people and sometimes if we wanna make something with more THOUGHT for our dear friends and neighbours stiff! We arent a people of force but we can be a people of pressure so just put the pressure in a nicely done pressure cooker cos Im hungry! and Ill see ya at the suda 😉

  9. This letter cannot be real because Klal Yisroel is a haapy nation and the letter writer here although she signed the letter as “Confused” she should have signed it “Bitter” or “Angry” or “unhappy” but not confused – you are not confused you just need a good laugh to feel better.

    Stop complaining! I do the teme for years and it never yet cost me more then 3.50 per Mishloach Manos. I don’t do it for the WOW I do it because its fun, because my kids get into it, because it is a project we work on as a family. We host the seuda have about 35 people sit to eat when we start and well over 150 people who stop in and out. We have a small home in terms of actual size but a huge heart – i mean home – in terms of excitement. My wife does all the cooking and baking, she loves it and the kids love it and everyone is involved.

    I have written this before and it is worth repeating here. IT IS ALL IN THE ATTITUDE!! Make it fun and great and it will be. Make it hard and difficult and it will be. Be happy while you are getting ready for Purim and you will be. Be mad and miserable and you will be.

    Don’t blame others for your bad attitude. You and only you can adjust it. Certainly don’t try to find fault in those who look forward to really being Besimcha on a day set aside to really be Besimcha. Ivdo es hashem Be-what? you fill it in because its your life!

  10. Nothing wrong with creative people using their talents for a mitzvah once a year. No ones forcing you to do anything extravagant.
    I personally think all the complainers have some insecurity issues- why else would they be so hurt and care so much if another person wants to make a nice shalach manos?

  11. Stop looking at what your neighbors do, and just do what makes you comfortable. If they want to be creative, and their children are happy to be mice, why should it bother you? No one is looking at your mishloach manos and your children as critically as you are looking at theirs.

  12. Woooooooooow People Relax!!! Bottom line, you do your thing and don’t worry about other people!!!! That is exactly the problem that everyone thinks that they need to compare to someone else. The fact that this post exists shows that people can’t worry just about themselves and they have to look at other people. Worry about yourself and stop looking at otehr people!

  13. I actually like the three blind mice idea, except for the cookies – they gotta do better than that. Seriously, though, what’s wrong with allowing people’s creativity to shine out? There are plenty of themes that can be done cheaply, and there are also plenty of people who won’t care if you just give Mishloach Manos for the sake of the Mitzvah. Do whichever way you want – you get the same points upstairs – not more, not less.

    #14: I agree with #5, but didn’t write it.

  14. #17: I guess #s 5 and 14 are able to think for themselves and go beyond peer pressure. And, they use correct grammar. These are goals you might want to consider.

  15. I am feeling a bit overwhelmed and sick with how much money I have spent, however as I stand in line prepared to slpurge on this “last” purchase I keep gritting my teeth justifying it saying “this is l’shaym mitzvah right?” The money will come back right?

    I mean I didnt spend tons but more than is comfortable for us. My only other choice would have been to bake starting 2 weeks ago bake and bake and wash, and clean and flour and eggs every where and freeze and freeze. So i said forget it. I am buying this year. I bought low cost items and made creative attractive arrangments. But Next year im yirtze hashem maybe I can have the strenght to limit it to 10 people instead of 40.

  16. Businesses are trying to capitalize as usual, and producing ever more elegant and expensive shalach manos. And the masses follow like sheep. On the other hand, I think it reduces simchas purim, especially for the children, if we are pressured to only give to 2 people. The baskets should be small and simple, but the act of exchanging shalach manos creates a wonderful atmosphere of achdus and friendship, so why not give to as many as you can afford?

  17. If you have a positive self image, you will comfortably do what you feel is right and ignore everyone else. If not, then trying to get everyone else to change is pointless.

  18. Themes do not have to be expensive. I do them almost every year – not the costumes, just the mishloach manos – and it usually comes out cheaper than it would if I bought all the stuff. But I enjoy it and so do my kids – so why not?