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. There will always be people who put in more effort or spend more. Just focus on serving Hashem. Stop minding other people’s business.

  2. I have a way to build themes for Purim mishloach manos in cheap way. we don’t need put more than four item into mishloach manos. and we have simple dress to lead our family. I use find things for Purim like empty box or bottle and use it. I change into mishloach manos. We find many diff way to save some money to lead design the thing in simple way.

  3. Have you ever heard the expression “let it go”? No one is forcing any themes on anyone. If it isn’t your thing don’t do it. Please stop trying to make it seem as if doing something special for your kids is wrong. If this is the big thing for a family for the year you really shouldn’t be so uptight about it. Enjoy the day and all the adorable themes that you are inevitably going to be subjected to. A Freilichin Purim!

  4. I am sure there are lots of strong feelings about this one. My strong emotion is “Woe to us – that we are so worried about what other’s think. That we spend so much time and energy measuring ourselves, our families and our stuff according to others.” If we were all a bit more confident, many of our issues would be solved. Mishloach manos with a theme is great – if it makes it extra fun for you. Not if you are doing it because of pressure to be like your neighbors and it makes you cranky the entire month before Purim. While Mishloach Manos is an outstanding example of this – I think the main issue is that we have to know what works for us – within halacha. What works for our family and our pocket book and feel good about doing the right thing.

  5. I like getting expensive, themed shalach manos so please don’t discourage it. The real problem here is not the creativity or expense, but obvious insecurity. Let’s all try to be more confidant human beings and enjoy the toil of those just trying to show off without feeling the need to one up them.

  6. Everyone should do what they feel is right for their family. For us, we all enjoy planning a theme. We start thinking of next year’s theme on shushan purim and all my kids are very into it. They all give ideas and eventually one resounds with everyone. It binds us together as a family unit and we love it. If another family dosn’t enjoy it, then they shouldn’t feel like they have to be like us. Every family’s unique. We are both working but our salary is similar to that of a Rebbi. This is what we choose to spend our money on. Maybe someone else chooses cleaning help or buying each child 3 yom tov outfits. It’s a personal decision. You might feel I spend too much on shalach manos according to your standards but I”m sure I would feel there is something you spend more on than I would. It happens to be that we actually spend less on our themes because we only have to put 2 or 3 things in as opposed to those who don’t have themes and sometimes put 4-5 things in. Some times one of my older kids will want to do their own personal theme for their friends and that’s fine. The point is that some families enjoy it and it makes their purim so much more fun. Why is that a problem?

  7. Gut Gezugt !! Worst part is that 90% of the “garbage” given in the name of food (thats what the mitzva is) is exactly that – garbage.
    What happened to the home-baked kugels and challah or even cake? Why not something that can be eaten at the seudah or on the Shabbos thereafter? Surely not chocolate wafers, candies, jelly beans, potatoe chips, and other assorted nosh.
    Oh – forget it – I don’t think you understand any way (from the responses received so far).
    Just have a freilichen Purim!!!

  8. Dearest Azoiy,

    How can you call something a friend neighbor cousin sent you ‘garbage’?? Do your kids hear you say that about someone else’s gift??

    Did you ever get a wedding gift you didn’t particularly care for? Did you say “This challah cover is garbage”???

    I’d be hurt if I heard you talking about my shalach manos gift that way.
    Maybe write your real name so I know not to spend time, money and effort on an obviously ungrateful person. I know far too many people who don’t recieve Shalach Manos on Purim.

  9. I have so many people to give but i turn into limit how many people i going give. I am going give only the most important people that how i limit giving out. I have name list limit 60 or less instead giving out over 60. I know lot people love our theme but it need be limit. This how we save money and limit.