Readers’ Matzav: Mishloach Manos Letters


mishloach-manosDear Sir Mishloach Manos Rant,

Regarding the “rant” regarding “Mishloach Manos Cards,” I would like to begin by quoting something that was written in the article:

“This is in addition to the fact that part of the Purim day spirit is receiving and giving dozens of mishloach manos to various people. I remember, as a child, that I relished accepting and opening each mishloach manos we would get. I loved going around and giving out our mishloach manos and usually receiving a dollar for serving as a shliach. What priceless memories! As a child, few activities were as exciting as mishloach manos. As many as we gave and got, I loved each and every second of the experience.]”

As great as we are, it is all oh-so difficult to see past ones own personal predisposition. You sir are writing from your gut. Rightfully so, and you do so, so very eloquently. However, it is a fair argument to assume that your entire perception is completely reflective of your own personal experience.

Now that being said, I would like to present two objectional perspectives.

Klal Yisroel is innovative. Within the strict confines of Halacha we have never shirked form adapting to the circumstance of our time and need. For instance, the very recent advent of Lebidike Yeshiva Bochurim sitting and learning Purim night. (Instead of other more conventional and customary methods of Purim activity.) This is a huge revolution.

As well, Mishloach Manos has certainly evolved far beyond what even you can recall as a child. B”H, for that. Yet the question begs: The Mitzvah according to the Halacha, and ascribed to us in the Gemara, speaks of two items being sent to one person. By virtue of the fact that the Gemara records various situations of our Amoroyim sending just two items to one other person , would seemingly beg the question- from where and just how did the concept of sending so much stuff, to so many people, actually creep into our yearly lives?

I cannot delve through our entire history since Bayis Shaini’s beginning, to honestly answer my last question. However, I would like to venture an assumption.

Upon giving two items of Mishloach Manos to one person, an individual has fulfilled his obligation. It is a special, beautiful Midah to be generous- that is for certain. Yet I wonder aloud- does this generosity define you throughout the year? Is perhaps this special Purim generosity at the expense of your entire yearly generosity?

Perhaps a wonderful, beautiful way of expressing generosity and the obvious Hakaras Hatov to the recipient of your Mishloach Manos, can and should be a beautifully handwritten and though-out letter, or card, that might just last far beyond a Mishloach Manos. Such a concept, innovative- yes- might just bring far more Ahavas Achim and Sholom, then a Mishloach Manos ever could.

Do to financial constraints I have personally been sending “Purim Letters” to over 30 friends these last 2 years, and while the Post Office prices have crept up, the expense of each letter- and the difficult effort of writing each meaningful one, has certainly been offset, by the heartfelt responses of those lucky enough to receive my letters. Most of those letter-recipients have even called me, and for the one time all year, have difficulty expressing themselves to me in appreciative response to that which I have wrote them.

They all- every single one of them have a unifying theme in that which they tell me regarding these letters: “It meant far more to me receiving your letter than (all) the Mishloach Manos I receive.

Why don’t you try it? Then next year you can respond with a “rant” about the reaction you might receive.

With Ahavas Achim, from Lakewood, NJ.

Oh. PS- if you wish, pay your child a set amount “Purim Gelt” for each letter he is willing to bring to the mailbox to mail.

A Freilich Purim.

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  1. Beautifully written! IY’H the writer should have the financial ability to send many elaborate mishloach manos (but continue to send Purim letters instead).

  2. The inyan of mishloach manos is to increase ahavah, achvah, rei’us…..etc. This cannot be done through the US postal service. There is no chiyuv to give elaborate baskets (IIRC Rema has a letter bemoaning what was going on in Crakow(?) even during his time). Letters are nice if you want to feel good yourself, but have nothing to do with Purim.

  3. To all Matzav readers…..Opinions are just that – an opinion. Halacha is not an opinion it is a fact. 2 foods to 1 person = Mitzva. cards and letters = no Mitzva.

    Simple! Nothing more need be said.

    (Vchol harmabeh – Harey ze Meshubach)

  4. If the mitzva is to give to one person, what’s wrong with using your funds to give cards indicating that tzedoka has been given, or writing a letter to say “a freilichen Purim”? No one is trying to be yotzai the mitzva of mishloach manos that way, nor are the people giving 100 baskets doing 100 mitzvos.At this point in time, people send mishloach manos to anyone beyond the first to say, “I’m thinking about you”. The cards and letters do that as well.