Mishloach manot refers to the Purim baskets meaning gift items of food items and beverages to be given on the festive occasion of Purim to friends, neighbors, relatives, business associates, colleagues and all the acquaintances. The Book of Esther advises the giving of mishloach manot and is meant for confirming that there is sufficient food for all to enjoy during the Purim feast. The gift baskets also are aimed at forming affection and cordiality among the Jews. This is aimed at countering Haman’s conception that the Jewish are not unified.

As set by the Jewish rule, each Jewish must send mishloach manot consisting of two different sorts of food items to minimum one person. The Book of Esther prescribes giving of mishloach manot to signify the festival of Purim as an event to relish and feast whereby all the people including the deprived can take the pleasure of the banquet and occasion. The verse in the Book of Esther which advises the convention pronounces that two different readymade foods and/or drinks should be presented to one person. It also states to donate 2 amounts of money to 2 underprivileged people. In general, the 1st convention or mitzvah is accomplished by people on their own, while the second is accomplished by offering donations to charitable institutions who afterwards offer money, foodstuffs and/or beverages to the deprived on the day of Purim.

Mishloach manot is compulsory to be offered by every Jewish person even if he himself is poor. People who are not able to purchase food items for their friends can choose to exchange their food with their friends.

There are some particular traditions regarding giving mishloach manot. The gift articles need to be offered only in the daytime of Purim. So also, some particular orthodox people have the opinion that males should send gifts mandatorily to males and females to mandatorily females. But when the one of the recipient or sender is a family the opposite party may be a male or a female. So also families are allowed to offer gift bundles to other families. Another command is that the mishloach manot must not be presented to a mourner. But a mourner is supposed to send the gift baskets to others, but the gift package must not be very adorned. Certain people opine that a mourner should give the gifts to only one individual. One command also prescribes that Purim has to fall on the same date for the sender and the recipient. To return the mishloach manot is not required.

Related to the foodstuffs to be presented as mishloach manot, the rule is the foods are supposed to be readymade. Raw meat or grains cannot be offered. Characteristically the gift articles contain wine and pastries. Plus, fruits, salads, cooked foods, desserts, snacks and canned foods too can be included in the gift packet. Also the fruits added in the gift baskets must be of two different types. This means that two grapefruits are not two different munchies, however one apple and one grapefruit are two separate foodstuffs.

Author's Bio: 

Plenty of Jew organizations e.g. schools, synagogues and other organizations utilize mishloach manot as a fundraising device. The members put forward the names of other associates whom they wish to send mishloach manot and pay a stipulated amount of fee for each name and the foundation gives the gift items to those members making some amount of profit. This saves the time and effort of members spent in buying, packing and giving the gifts.