What to send

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What is one to send:[1]

One needs to send at least two[2] gifts of meat or other foods to one person. [Today the custom is to send sweets as Mishloach Manos.[3] 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:[4] A drink is considered a valid gift. Hence one may send two drinks[5] or a drink with a food.[6]

Sending non-food items?[7] 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.[8]]

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.[9] However there are opinions which rule raw meat is valid.[10]

Switching gifts or meals:[11] One who does not have what to send is to switch his meal with his friend and by doing so fulfills the obligation.[12]

Does one fulfill his obligation of Mishloach Manos by having guests over for the Purim meal?[13] Yes. One who invites a guest for his Purim meal fulfills the Mitzvah of Mishloach Manos. [However it is proper for the host to lift two foods and give it to the guest, telling him it is Mishloach Manos.[14]]



Is there a minimum size that the food gifts of Mishloach Manos must consist of?

Some Poskim[15] rule that possibly it should contain a size large enough to honor a guest with. If possible each food should contain a Kezayis[16] [by foods] or Revius [by beverages].[17] If this is not possible, it is proper that both foods together contain a total of a Kezayis.[18] At the very least each gift is to be worth at least one Peruta.[19] In a time of need one can even fulfill his obligation with a candy and an apple.[20]

Rich versus poor: Some[21] rule the gifts must be of worth and dignity to the receiver, and hence one does not fulfill his obligation through sending a minute gift to a wealthy person. Others[22] rule on the contrary, that we follow the giver and hence if it is a distinguished gift in the eyes of the giver one fulfills his obligation. Practically one is to suspect for both opinions and if either the giver or receiver is wealthy the gifts are to be of significance to the rich man.[23]


Is there a preference of foods that should be sent?

Some[24] write it is best to send foods that will be eaten during the Purim meal. It is thus best to send a dish of fish and meat.[25] Nevertheless today the custom is to send sweets as Mishloach Manos.[26]


May one give two of the same foods as Mishloach Manos?

Some Poskim[27] rule that the gifts should be made up of two different foods. Other Poskim[28] 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.


Must one give the two foods at the same time?

Some Poskim[29] rule one is to give both gifts of food at the same time. Others[30] rule one fulfills his obligation even if the gifts are sent one after the other.


Are the foods to be given within the same vessel?[31]

Some Poskim[32] rule each gift is to be given in a different vessel as each basket with all of its contents is considered a single gift. The custom is not like this opinion.[33]


Is a single dish of meat and potatoes considered two separate foods?[34]

Some[35] Poskim leave this matter in question. Others rule it is considered two gifts.


Can one send cigarettes or tobacco as one of the gifts of Mishloach Manos?[36]

Some Poskim[37] rule that only actual food is valid to be sent. Others[38] however rule that cigarettes or tobacco are valid as they are absorbed within the body and are hence considered like food.


May one send Shemita produce for Mishloach Manos?[39]

One may not fulfill his Mitzvah of Mishloach Manos using Shemita produce.[40] However some[41] are lenient to allow sending Shemita produce if one is already sending two other non-Shemita foods. One may be lenient to send Shemita produce if he already fulfilled his obligation of Mishloach Manos by sending to others. However if he feels indebted to send this Mishloach Manos to the recipient then he should be stringent and not send Shemita produce.[42] [In all cases one must tell the recipients of the Shemita content so they can act accordingly.]


If one sent food which was later revealed to be not Kosher, does he fulfill his obligation?[43]

This matter is disputed amongst Poskim.[44] Some Poskim[45] leave this matter in question. Others[46] rule that if the receiver already ate the food he has fulfilled his obligation. Others[47] differentiate between a Rabbinical and Biblical prohibition, that if the food was a Biblical prohibition the giver does not fulfill his obligation, however if it was a Rabbinical prohibition then the giver fulfills his obligation. If however the receiver did not yet eat the food then the giver does not fulfill his obligation even by a Rabbinical prohibition.[48] Others[49] however rule that if the food is permitted in benefit, even if it is Biblically forbidden, he fulfills his obligation.


If one sent food under a Hashgacha that the receiver does not eat does he fulfill his obligation?[50]


If one sent food that the receiver does not eat due to health reasons does he fulfill his obligation?[52]

Yes.[53] However some[54] are stringent.


May those that are eating at someone else’s table fulfill their obligation by switching their plate of food with another eater?[55]

  • Example: May two guests eating in one’s home, or two Bochurim eating in the Yeshiva dining room, or two soldiers eating in the army kitchen, or two patients eating in the hospital kitchen, switch plates in order to fulfill their obligation?

This matter requires further analysis.[56] Practically in a time of need one is to do so rather than not give anything at all. 


[1] Michaber 695/3

[2] 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]

[3] Shiyureiy Kneses Hagedola on Tur 10

[4] 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.  

[5] 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]

[6] 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]

[7] 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!

[8] Divrei Yisrael 1/222 that it is accustomed to send Sefarim to others as Mishloach Manos, and so records Mahariy Asad 206.

[9] 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

[10] Peri Chadash, brought in M”B ibid being that it is readily able to be cooked.

[11] Michaber ibid

[12] Some imply from here that only if one does not have any extra food may he switch with another person to fulfill Mishloach Manos. If however he does have extra food he may not switch meals. [So rules Kaf Hachaim 695/49] Others however rule that one may switch meals even if he has other food, and that so is the proper custom in order not to embarrass those that do not have. [Yifei Laleiv 5/5 brought in Kaf Hachaim ibid]

Switching plates at a communal meal: Regarding switching ones plate of food that he took at a communal meal, such as soldiers who took a plate of food by the army meal, or Yeshiva students who took a plate of food from the Yeshiva meal, or patients in a hospital, see Q&A!

A guest switching his plate of food: This is subject to the same discussion above. 

[13] M”A 695/12

[14] Kaf Hachaim 695/42

[15] Ashel Avraham Butchach 695; Aruch Hashulchan 695/15; Chayeh Adam 155/31; Birkeiy Yosef 695/4 writes the gifts must be valuable. [Brought in Kaf Hachaim 695/34] Tzitz Eliezer 14/65 rules it is to contain at least 3 Kebeitzim worth of food, which is 165 grams.

[16] How much is a Kezayis? Seemingly since Mishloach Manos is merely a Rabbinical injunction therefore it suffices to give 17 grams as a Kezayis rather than 27, as is ruled in 486/1. However since in such a case one cannot say an after blessing, perhaps it loses its importance as a gift. Vetzaruch Iyun.

[17] Rebbe in Sichas Kodesh 1976 Vol. 2

Other Opinions: The Ashel Avraham ibid questions whether it suffices for the food to have a Perutas worth, a Kezayis worth, or if it must contain a nice sizeable portion for a guest, as is customary in each area. The Aruch Hashulchan ibid however plainly rules that one does not fulfill his obligation with a mere Kezayis or Revius, as the verse states Manos. So rules also Piskeiy Teshuvos 695/18.

[18] Sichos Kodesh ibid; See Hisorerus Teshuvah 1/126 that all the food in the basket is viewed collectively as a nice gift even if each food individually is small.

[19] See Ashel Avraham ibid

[20] Letter of Mazkirus of Rebbe to Rabbanei Anash in 1961

[21] Chayeh Adam 155/31 rules if one sent a food gift to a wealthy person and it is considered undignified in his eyes, one has not fulfilled his obligation. The Biur Halacha 695 “hayav” writes it is proper to suspect for the opinion of the Chayeh Adam.

[22] Sdei Chemed Purim 8 which argues on the Chayeh Adam ibid. Thus if a rich man gives a minor gift to a pauper he does not fulfill his obligation. [ibid]

[23] Piskeiy Teshuvos 695/18

[24] Maaseh Rav of Gr”a

[25] Makor Chaim 695/4

[26] Shiyureiy Kneses Hagedola on Tur 10

[27] 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.

[28] 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.

[29] Yifei Laleiv 2/15 brought in Kaf Hachaim 695/36; Torah Leshma brought in Ben Ish Chaiy Tetzaveh 16; Kikar Laeden of Chida; Kuntrus Chug Haaretz of Mahrahm Algazi leaves this matter in question.

[30] Orchos Chaim Spinka 695/11; Beis Av 103; Mikraei Kodesh Purim 3; Bitzeil Hachochma 2/46 [Although one is to be Mihader like the first opinion]. Some rule that even if the first gift was already eaten by the time the second gift arrived the giver nevertheless fulfills his obligation. [ibid]

[31] Kaf Hachaim 695/48

[32] Torah Leshma 189; Ben Ish Chaiy Tetzave 16

[33] Piskeiy Teshuvos 695/13

[34] Kaf Hachaim 695/44

[35] Eidus Yaakov 92

[36] Piskeiy Teshuvos 695/17

[37] Tzitz Eliezer 9/33

[38] Divrei Yisrael 1/223

[39] Torah Leshma 193; Sheivet Halevy 7/163; Mishnas Yosef 1/27;Piskeiy Teshuvos 695/10

Other Opinions: The Minchas Yitzchak 10/57 leans to rule that it is permitted, however he concludes with a Tzaruch Iyun.

[40] As it is considered like one is doing business with Shemita produce and using it to pay up his debts.

[41] Sheivet Halevi ibid; however see Piskeiy Teshuvos 695 footnote 51 that if one feels indebted to beautify the Mishloach Manos then it is still considered like doing business with it and hence should not be sent.

[42] Torah Leshma ibid; Mishnas Yosef ibid; See Sheivet Halevi ibid which rules although it is best to be stringent although there is room to be lenient.

[43] See Kaf Hachaim 695/46; Piskeiy Teshuvos 695/20

[44] Birkeiy Yosef 695/7 writes it is a dispute amongst Rishonim.

[45] Beir Heiytiv 695/7 and Hagahos Hatur leaves this matter in doubt

[46] Kisei Eliyahu 696/4; Chelkas Yaakov 2/159

[47] Cheishev Haeifod 1/131 based on Choshen Mishpat 234

[48] Chochmas Shlomo 695

[49] Mahrahm Shick 341; Mahrash Engel 7/14

[50] Kinyan Torah 7/55; Piskeiy Teshuvos 695/20

[51] The reason: As one can give the food to other members of his household, or to guests.

[52] Kinyan Torah 7/55; Piskeiy Teshuvos 695/20; Rav SZ”A brought in Nishmas Avraham 695

[53] The reason: As one can give the food to other members of his household, or to guests.

[54] Nishmas Avraham 695

[55] See Hiskashrus 1024 footnote 8

[56] The question here is regarding if the plate of food is actually considered to be their own, and hence when switched is considered a present to the other person [see 366/16; Rama Even Haezer 28/17], or perhaps the plates are not considered owned by the person [see 170/19; Beis Shmuel 28/46; Taz 28/34]. The Rama ibid rules a guest may marry a woman using the portion of food he placed on his plate. However in 170/19 it states that a guest does not have permission to give the food to a child of the host [and certainly not to others], and due to this the Taz ibid rules the Kedushin is only questionably valid.


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1 Comment

  1. Michael

    If one receives shaloch manos from someone, accepts it, and then hands it right back to him, are they both yotzi?

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