What Are Mishloach Manot?

Purim is coming up – and that means it’s time to start prepping your best costumes, rehearsing for the spiel, and of course, planning out what to put in your mishloach manot, Purim gift baskets. There are four important mitzvot or commandments associated with Purim – and they’re all related to taking care of one another. That’s right, this awesome holiday full of dress up fun and merriment is also about helping our friends, neighbors, and community.

In this post we’re talking about the second mitzvah: mishloach manot—sending gifts. Gifts of food to friends and colleagues ensure that everyone has the means to be happy, further foiling Haman’s (the villain of the Purim story) plans. (The other mitzvot of Purim are: listening to the story of Queen Esther, giving to the needy, and having a feast).

You can make the basket part of your mishloach manot out of anything—an upcycled takeout container, a gift box, an origami paper fold, or the special basket PJ Library sent out a few years ago (if you still have it). It’s tradition to include two servings of at least two different kinds of food in each basket—and it’s best to include items that are ready to eat or share like hamantaschen or fruit. The basket typically contains at least two types of food that require different blessings, allowing the recipient to fulfill the positive mitzvah of giving thanks.

Need some ideas and recipes? Check out PJ Library’s How to Make a Mishloach Manot guide.

Show off your mishloach manot on Instagram using #PJLibrary