The Matzav Shmoooze: 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 put in a chocolate bar .79 (krm sale) a sanpple .55 (when bought on sale by the case) and a wafer .10 (when bought in bag of 40) cost of bag .08. Total $1.52 per mishlaoch manos.

    No need for more.

  2. I heard a funny story of a woman who was going crazy with the mishloach manos themes and everything and her husband said
    ‘you know, you don’t have to go through all this hassle, the halacha says you only need to give a few things to a few people’
    She replied ‘how dare you mix religion into this!’

  3. Dear Confused,

    Is there a project, hobby, or activity in which you engage and that you enjoy ?

    If not, I really pity you.

    If yes — whatever it is — I think you and all those others who do that are taking it to an extreme!

    Have we lost our minds? How can someone do that?!

    May Hashem give you happiness, and the sechel to look in the mirror.

  4. All good points. However, perhaps we should tone down everything, like weddings, bar mitzvahs etc. Only wear low-price, affordable, non-fashionable clothing. No fancy jewelry etc. The list goes on. So, why only mishloach manos themes?

  5. In my family, sometimes do a theme, sometimes not, but my children know two things: One, my cap is $2 per shalach manos; two, they can deliver to 7 friends each(they make extras for those who come to us). We make a total of 60-70 Shalach Manos.

    I gave up years ago on spending multiple hours on Purim day running around town delivering shalach manos to every single person we know.

    Shalach manos – beyond the ikar mitzvah, which I fulfill with a bottle of wine and a bar of chocolate for my rav – is for the kids. I drive them in their costumes to their friends’ houses, carefully planning the route to avoid driving down any street twice. As for my and my wife’s friends – they get when they deliver to us. The whole thing take less than two hours.

    Then I’m back home where I can greet people who come over, join them (if they’re not driving) for a drink, start my seudah early, even learn a little!

  6. Please take a breath. There are women who enjoy doing themes and these are fun to get and enjoy. Ours are fat simpler and I have never felt bad about it. Our smachot are simpler and there is nothing wrong with that.

    If someone gives millions to tsedaka and wants to spend the gifts hashem gave them on smachot, great. If this makes anyone feel pressured to live beyond their means, then there are far bigger issues to be discussed.

  7. The best way to protest this excess is to wear modestly priced or home-made costumes and send out modest mishloach manos packages (contents sized to be consumed on Purim, not saved and later dumped with the chometz).

  8. It seems like you have actually lost your mind you’re on a rampage about everything everyone does on purim take it easy there aren’t too many mothers losing sleep over mishloach manos just enjoy your purim and relax.

  9. I don’t understand your problem. No one is forcing you to do anything elaborate for mishloach manos.

    If you’re feeling “pressured” to keep up with your neighbors, that’s your problem. Let them do their thing and you do yours.

    There have been years when I have been unable to do a “theme” mishloach manos because of financial or time constraints. And so, in those years, I did a simple mishloach manos. And when I had more money and more time to be creative, we did a themed one.

    And you know what? No one really remembers beyond next week anyway. So, you simply give yours, let them give theirs, and that’s that.

    The Wolf

  10. welcome to the generation of peer pressure. &

    the evil act of Pride & arrogance, where each person needs to act & show off richer then the next but really can’t afford it. & then wants to know why they have no money for their next child’s wedding or Bar Mitzva…

    Remove yourself from these evil acts of todays generation & be guaranteed success & happiness by Hashem

    Have a freilichen purim ahead

  11. The only egotistical one is you who thinks other people need your permission to ‘go big’ with shalach manos. This is the one mitzva a year where women feel they can actually put their personality into it. Everything else is all about the men but mishloach manos we feel is totally our domain. I’m not doing a theme but I have many friends/relatives who look forward to Purim for months bec they have so much fun making the shalach manos. there are many women who thrive on themes and it’s selfish to try to take it away from them.