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Mishloach Manot - Definition of Mishloach Manot

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Definition:

Mishloach manot are gifts of food that Jews send to each other during the holiday of Purim. “Mishloach manot” literally means the "sending of portions" in Hebrew and this mitzvah is meant to ensure that everyone has enough food to enjoy the traditional Purim feast. It is also seen as an opportunity to strengthen relationships among people. The custom comes from the biblical Book of Esther, where the Purim story is recounted. Esther 9:22 reads: "as days of feasting and gladness, and sending portions of food to one another, and gifts to the poor"

In order to fulfill the mitzvah one must send at least two different items of food to one person. Any kind of food can be sent so long as it is ready to be eaten immediately. For instance, fruit or baked goods that are ready to eat would be acceptable but raw meat that requires cooking would not be appropriate. Drinks are also acceptable. Often mishloach manot take the form of gift baskets that contain an assortment of edible goods. Anyone bar or bat mitzvah age is required to fulfill this mitzvah, though of course younger children should be encouraged to participate in the custom.

Often synagogues will make mishloach manot baskets that can be ordered and sent to people. There are also online companies that deliver them, or they can be made at home. Mishloach manot should be delivered during Purim day.

In addition to the food, a second part of the mitzvah of mishloach manot involves making two donations to charity. Many Jews will fulfill this portion of the mitzvah by contributing funds to an organization.

Pronunciation: meesh-low-ach mah-note
Also Known As: mishloach manos, shalach manos, shalach manot, Purim baskets
Examples:
We send mishloach manot to our friends, relatives and the poor during Purim.
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