Mishloach Manos-What is one to send-Must one send two different blessings?
One needs to send at least two gifts of meat or other foods to one person. [Today the custom is to send sweets as Mishloach Manos. There is no requirement that the gifts be of two different blessings. Regarding if one can give two of the same foods – see Q&A.]
Sending drinks: A drink is considered a valid gift. Hence one may send two drinks or a drink with a food.
Sending non-food items? Only foods are considered valid gifts. One may thus not send clothing or money as one of the two gifts. [However once one has fulfilled the Mitzvah of giving Mishloach Manos to one person, he may send whatever he wishes to others.]
Must the foods be ready to eat? Both foods sent must be ready to eat without any further preparation. Sending raw meat is invalid, as it is not ready to eat. However there are opinions who rule raw meat is valid.
A mourner: A mourner is not to send foods of festivities, such as sweets and superfluous delicacies. Rather he is to send meat [and simple foods of the like].
May one give two of the same foods as Mishloach Manos?
Some Poskim rule that the gifts should be made up of two different foods. Other Poskim however rule that there is no need to have two different foods, and one even fulfills his obligation if he gives two serving portions of the same food, even if they were not cut to two pieces. There is no need for the two foods to consist of two different blessings.
Summary of laws of Mishloach Manos:
- Who is obligated to send Mishloach Manos? Both men and women are obligated in the Mitzvah of sending Mishloach Manos. Men send to men and women to women. Married women are to be stringent to give Mishloach Manos on behalf of themselves, in addition to the Mishlaoch Manos sent by their husband. All family members must send their own personal Mishloach Manos and cannot rely on their parents, even if they are still being supported by them and live in their home. Children above the age of Chinuch are likewise to be educated to give Mishloach Manos. If one is in doubt as to whether the child has reached the age of Chinuch one is to be stringent. A mourner is obligated to send Mishloach Manos however he is not to send foods of festivities, such as sweets and superfluous delicacies. Rather he is to send meat [and simple foods of the like].
- When is it to be sent? Mishloach Manos must be sent on Purim during daytime. It is best to give Mishloach Manos after Shacharis in order so the blessing of Shehechiyanu count also for this Mitzvah. One who sent Mishloach Manos on the night of Purim does not fulfill his obligation. Likewise, one who sent Mishloach Manos on Motzei Purim does not fulfill his obligation.
- How many people is one to send to? One is to send to at least one person. One who sends to more than one person is praised for doing so.
- Who should the gifts be sent to? The gifts may be sent to any Jew whether wealthy or poor. However, men should only give to men and women to women. However, Matanos Laevyonim may be given from a man to a woman and vice versa. One may not send gifts or Mishloach Manos to a mourner.
- What gifts is one to send? One needs to send at least two gifts of meat or other foods to one person. Both foods sent must be ready to eat without any further preparation. Sending a drink with a food is also valid. One may not send clothing or money, as only foods are considered valid gifts. Sending raw meat is invalid as it is not ready to eat. Today the custom is to send sweets as Mishloach Manos. There is no requirement that the gifts be of two different blessings. If possible, each food should contain a Kezayis [by foods] or Revius [by beverages]. If this is not possible it is proper that both foods together contain a total of a Kezayis. At the very least each gift is to be worth at least one Peruta. One who does not have what to send is to switch his meal with his friend and by doing so he fulfills the obligation.
- Must one send the gifts through a messenger? Practically, the custom is to send the gifts through a messenger. The custom is to appoint one’s children to deliver the Mishloach Manos and Matanos Laevyonim in order to educate them in Mitzvos.
 Michaber 695/3
 The reason for two gifts: The reason for why by Mishloach Manos one is to give two presents while by Matanos Laevyonim one can give one present is because Mishloach Manos is given to even the wealthy, and the wealthy do not view a single present as a real gift. Matanos Laevyonim however is given to a pauper who values even a single gift. [Ran brought in Elya Raba 694/6; Bigdei Yesha; Kaf Hachaim 694/8] Alternatively: One is required to send two gifts as this corresponds to the two gifts that Esther received from Achashveirosh, Haman’s house and the signet ring. [Elya Raba 695/8]
 Shiyureiy Kneses Hagedola on Tur 10
 Shlah; M”A 695/11; Elya Raba 695/9; Peri Chadash; M”B 695/20
Other Opinions: Some Poskim rule one must send two foods while drinks are invalid. [Afrakasta Deanya 25] See Teshuvos Eliezer [brought in Yagdil Torah Yerushalayim 13/113] that perhaps one should not send Mashkeh as it is not considered a Mana [important item] however if it is within an enclosed bottle then perhaps it is considered important.
 So is implied from M”A and M”B ibid, however some rule one does not fulfill his obligation with two drinks. [See Piskeiy Teshuvos 695 footnote 61]
 Custom of the Rabbeim: The Tzemach Tzedek would send a bottle of wine to the Divrei Nechemia as one of the two Manos. [Teshuvos Eliezer brought in Yagdil Torah Yerushalayim 13/113; Otzer Minhagei Chabad 151] The Rebbe Rashab was accustomed to send a small cake together with a bottle of wine. [Otzer Minhagei Chabad 141-142] The Rebbe would likewise send a Mezonos food [Haman Tashen] and a bottle of Mashkeh. In later years the Rebbe added fruits to the package. [Ozter Minhagei Chabad 147] The Rebbe would send Mishloach Manos to a number of Admorim which would consist of a bottle of Benedictine and some fruits. [ibid 150]
 Terumas Hadeshen 111; Taz 695/4; Elya Raba 695/9; M”B 695/20; Kaf Hachaim 695/35
Other Opinions: There are opinions that rule one may send non food items as gifts for Mishloach Manos. [See Kaf Hachaim ibid; Beis Shearim 380; According to the reason of the Manos Levi one fulfills his obligation with non-food products. Piskeiy Teshuvos 695/17]
A mourner: Many Poskim bring down that a mourner, which is not to send festive foods as Mishloach Manos, is to rather send meat or money. [Mateh Moshe 1017; Sefer Chassidim 713 brought in M”A 696/11; M”B 696/18] Vetzaruch Iyun!
 Divrei Yisrael 1/222 that it is accustomed to send Sefarim to others as Mishloach Manos, and so records Mahariy Asad 206.
 Mahril; M”A 695/11; Hagahos Maharsham 695; Chayeh Adam 155/31; Kitzur SH”A 142/2; M”B 695/20; Kaf Hachaim 695/35; Aruch Hashulchan 695/15
 Peri Chadash, brought in M”B ibid being that it is readily able to be cooked.
 M”A 696/11; Maharil; Sefer Chassidim 713; Mateh Moshe ibid; Chayeh Adam 155/37; Derech Hachaim 3; M”B 696/18; Kaf Hachaim 696/33
Sending money: Many of the above Poskim bring down that the mourner, which is not to send festive foods as Mishloach Manos, is to rather send meat or money. [Mateh Moshe 1017; Sefer Chassidim 713 brought in M”A 696/11; M”B 696/18] Vetzaruch Iyun as we rule that one does not fulfill his obligation of Mishloach Manos with money. [See Terumas Hadeshen 111; Taz 695/4; Elya Raba 695/9; M”B 695/20; Kaf Hachaim 695/35]
 Aruch Hashulchan 695/14; Ashel Avraham Butchach 695 leans to be stringent. The Aruch Hashulchan ibid interprets the statement of the Michaber ibid of two pieces of meat to refer to different tasting pieces of meat.
 Afrasakta Deanya 25; Tzitz Eliezer 14/65; Rosh Yosef Megillah 7a [of P”M] leans to rule it is allowed. From the Michaber [which brings the wording of the Rambam] it says “such as two portions of meat” implying that one may give two portions of the same food.