Dear Friend,

Weeks before Purim, the holiday spirit fills my home, as bits and pieces of costumes come on and off my children; Purim tunes fill the air; and the little voices beg for just one more hamantash. The dining room table has become Mishloach Manot central, covered with baskets and boxes, ribbons and wrappings, to be used in preparing the gifts of food sent on Purim. As Purim draws closer, various delicacies join the chaos. My kids eagerly help me prepare the packages, ready for delivery on Purim day.

Each year as I tie bows and plan the best route through town, one particular Purim memory comes to mind. I was a child of eight or so when I brought the brightly-colored package to my classmate’s quiet home. It was the only one that she received that day. I knew that my chocolates and fruit brought her true Purim joy and told her that someone cared. Mishloach Manot are sent as expressions of friendship and unity, and my friend’s shining eyes taught me what this mitzvah is all about.

As you prepare your Mishloach Manot, consider adding one more person to your list, someone to whom your gift will make all the difference.

Happy Purim!

Rochel Chein
responder for Ask the Rabbi @

P.S. Did you ever give or receive a gift that touched your heart deeply? Please post a comment and tell us about it.

P.P.S. This week, US-Israel relations are on our minds. Here is the Rebbe’s advice from 24 years ago to a prime minister of Israel.