Eat, drink, dress up and give out baskets of good food…Purim is on its way!
I remember first observing this holiday while living in Boro Park, Brooklyn (this is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay before I was interested in Judaism). I recall seeing a group of Orthodox kids in costume and was immediately intrigued as to why. Later that week, I made a trip to Eichler’s Judaica Superstore where I was in search for party favors for my “bat mitvah” themed 25th birthday ( …still waaaaaaaaaaay before I started studying Judaism). At the cash register I noticed a pen in the shape of a witch whose eyes glowed red at the touch of a button. I remember asking who this was and getting a mildly amused sigh from the man behind the register. It was Haman…who is not a witch.
Last night at Manhattan Jewish Experience’s Monday Night Text Talks, I learned a little bit more about the holiday…including that it is a mitzvot to give out baskets of food. This custom is called Mishloach manot (“sending of portions”).
WHAT GOES IN MY BASKET?
Whatever you want…although my guess is that you should probably keep it kosher.
As with every Jewish custom there are certainly rules of how this gift basket giving can take place.
I have summarized some of the halakhot applicable to this tradition (thank you Wikipedia!).
1.Mishloach manot must be sent during the daylight hours of Purim.
2. Basket giving is a same sex only activity for reasons of modesty. You can however send it to family members regardless of gender.
3. You cannot send to a mourner. However, a mourner is obligated to send a not too elaborate basket to others.
4. Send your basket via a delivery service…like children. #ReasonstoHaveChildren.
5. If you receive a basket you are not obligated to reciprocate this gesture to the sender. #awkward
Of course after having researched this, my mind zeroes in on the elephant in the room; can I use Easter basket grass in my mishloach mano?