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Exchanging Gifts of Food Between Friends

Exchanging Gifts of Food Between Friends

Helpful Hints on How To Exchange Gifts of Food on Purim Day


· It is obligatory to send a gift consisting of at least two items of food to another person. This obligation pertains to both men and women. This mitzvah should be fulfilled on the day of Purim.

· To fulfill this obligation, one must give food which can be consumed without further preparation such as cooked meat or fish, baked goods, fruits, candy, wine, or other beverages. The obligation cannot be fulfilled by giving money.

It is praiseworthy to send gifts to as many friends as possible. It is preferable, however, to be more generous in gifts to the poor than to friends.

· Poor people are also obligated in this requirement. If one has nothing which he can give, he should exchange his own food with that of his friend and they will both thereby fulfill this mitzvah.

· It is proper that the gifts should be substantial enough to convey a feeling of respect. Thus, one should be careful not to send something so inconsequential as might insult the recipient.

· It is also proper that these gifts be delivered by a third party rather than by the donor personally. Although the general rule is that it is preferable to fulfill a mitzvah personally rather than through an agent, this obligation is different. The phrase mishlo'ach manot used in the Megillah implies that this mitzvah is best performed through an agent. (Mishlo'ach means sending.) Nevertheless, if one delivered these gifts personally, he has fulfilled the obligation.

· Mourners are not obligated in this mitzvah. However, some authorities maintain that they should send gifts, provided that they are not a source of joy.

Excerpted from: The Book of Our Heritage. Published and copyright by Feldheim Publications.
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