Why do we need 2 foods in our Mishloach Manot?

Thursday, 25 February, 2021 - 9:40 am

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The happiest day of the year is tomorrow!

Of course, we do not keep the joy to ourselves. We share it with others through the 4 Mitzvot of Purim: Mishloach Manot, donations to the poor, reading the story of Purim from the Meguila and a festive meal.

Every Mitzvah has various details that we need to follow so that it counts as a Mitzvah. For instance, for Mishloach Manot, we need to give 2 different foods, ready for consumption, to at least one person, man to man and woman to woman, on the day of Purim (this Friday 26/03). If we give a kilo of flour to someone, even though it is a useful gift, it will not count as Mishloach Manot, since it is not ready for consumption. The same applies if we give 2 chocolates: it does not count, since it needs to be 2 different foods.  

These details have a great significance. When we study the symbolism of the Mitzvot, we understand better why each detail is important.

The Mishloach Manot represent the “gifts” we give to G-d, that is, the actions that connect us to Him. These “gifts” must be ready for consumption. This means that they need to happen on a practical level. Nice feelings and thoughts are not enough…

In the same way, there must be 2 different kinds of “foods”, that is 2 different kind of actions. If we serve G-d only with one kind of actions, how can we be sure that the reason we do it is indeed to serve Him? Let’s take for example someone who studies the Torah, and someone who is very generous. Maybe this is only a product of their character?

We can judge it by looking at the other facets of his life. If he does other actions that fit with a different character, we know that his motive is indeed the service of G-d. If the scholar also gives practical help to other people, and if the donor also spends time learning Torah, we will know that the study of the first and the charity of the second are truly for the sake of G-d, and not simply because it comes naturally to them.

This Purim, let’s not forget the Mishloach Manot, the regular ones, but also the spiritual ones!

Happy Purim and Shabbat Shalom!


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