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Social Statement Mishloach Manos

Eleventh hour mishloach manos makers submitted their questions

 

Illustrations by Esti Friedman

What happened to the good old days of giving an apple and an orange in a cellophane bag? What happened to the good old days of stapling a paper plate at the corners to look like a hamentash and calling it a day?

No one remembers those days, but they must have been around if we can’t stop talking about them. These days, your mishloach manos are as much of a social statement as the costumes your kids wear, and it’s important to get it right.

Eleventh hour mishloach manos makers submitted their questions.

 

Every year I make the same mishloach manos (garlic knots and a can of soda), and the oilam has come to look forward to it. Of course, I always indicate that it’s pas Yisrael, milchig (but of course chalav Yisrael), yoshon, and bishul Yisrael. This year, I will obviously be adding that it’s parmesan free because it’s erev shabbos and people should know that they don’t need to wait six hours. Where can I find a label big enough to contain this information in a readable font size?

In order not to create a michshul, you should definitely print this on standard copy paper and hand it out, flyer style, with your package. There’s no other real way to ensure every recipient will get the message.

I pour my time and energy into creating — nay, sculpting — the perfect item for my mishloach manos. (I have the same theme every year — the pursuit of attention and external validation.) Last year it was kouign amann, a three-day laminated dough that’s layered with sugar and butter and must be baked Purim morning or don’t even bother. This year it’s a miniature Seigelman’s log replica that is a centerpiece placed on top of a larger Seigelman’s log replica — I got smart and picked something I could freeze. Anyway. What happens is, I focus so much on my masterpiece, that the second min sort of gets… forgotten. I end up throwing in a hot cocoa packet and calling it a day. Will I be judged for a lackluster second min?

You will definitely be judged, and unlucky for you, it’s going to be on two fronts — lack of second min, and choice of first min. We hate to break this to you... but you’re trying too hard by about 500 percent. Please be cool. We beg you to be cool.

And if you are so determined to be not cool, go all the way and at least include a hand-spun sugar work that you made for your second min. Consistency is key. Oh, is that ridiculous? You don’t say.

Last year, we made a list of our nearest and dearest, added some wild cards, and it totaled 37 mishloach manos. I rounded it up to 40. I’m not stupid. And yet, when my 40 were all given away, some rando that my husband has spoken to twice in shul came over to deliver and I was caught empty-handed. How do I avoid this?

If there was ever a time when you didn’t have to worry about being an Empty-Handed Esty, it’s Purim 2021, where sending anything that isn’t clearly store-bought is unarguably pas nisht. You shouldn’t be making 40 mishloach manos this year, you should be making one. Then simply buy the cheapest boxes Amazing Savings has to offer and set up a refilling station out of sight. Unbox every package that comes in and rearrange in your own labeled receptacle, assembly-line style. Send it off to the next unwitting visitor.

Last year, I mentshlichly delivered a beautiful homemade mishloach manos to a neighbor who I thought wanted to take our friendship to another level (aka from acquaintances to warm acquaintances), but she gaslighted me and said she ‘d already given me her mishloach manos when we met at the Rebbetzin’s house. I checked my spreadsheet and she wasn’t entered, thus I know it couldm’t have been true. What do I do?

Lucky you, this is a moment for avodas hamiddos, so you really owe this friend (we processed the upgrade for you) a resounding hakoras hatov for the opportunity. The best way to express your thanks would definitely be a thank-you gift that you deliver in person. See what she has to say for not having anything to return to you and let the awkwardness live on and on.

Or, if you don’t value cringe comedy, never speak of this again.

Ihave this friend who corners me to give me a full pilpul on how best to store her mishloach manos. Last year, it was an ice cream package that needed to get to the freezer right away. I was in her house! Which on a normal weekday is a six-minute drive from my house, but on Purim is a sixty-six-minute drive from my house.

Basically, I have no question. This whole interaction just makes me mad. How do I avoid this entire scene so that I can maintain my usual levels of simchah on Purim?

Avoid this scene the way you avoid any social interaction; fight or flight. As soon as your hands have closed around the package she gives you, run like the wind. Keep your spirits high by indulging in other Purim day favorite pastimes, like volunteering to be the designated driver for your lively teenagers, attempting to put your baby down for a nap to the calming accompanying soundtrack of party snaps erupting, or — a cult classic — delivering mishloach manos to every teacher on your list.

For Purim every year

I create (never fear!)

A poem you CAN plainly see

That I write painstakingly

I know that from my jokes you ROLL

But this pressure is out of control

No one ever sees

That this isn’t a breeze

It takes me all year

And I PULL (‘n PEEL) out my hair

This year I’m finished

My efforts diminished

I would like to formally end

This ridiculous trend

Can we say collectively

That we from poems must now be free?

YES.

This year, like last year, the year before that, and every year since my husband has been working in klei kodesh, I received no less than 24 pineapples for mishloach manos from his talmidim. Whoever started this trend needs to PLEASE start a new trend with cheesecake, because I guarantee you no one will complain about getting too many of those. I need ideas for what to do with all the pineapple, beyond eating it as a snack. My whole family’s tongues are in so much pain. Can you help?

Skip the recipes — all you have to do is find a friend or two who are overdue and impatient. Pineapple is trading better than gold in that particular niche demographic. (Two Cents and Mishpacha magazine implore you to not make any medical decisions without the oversight of a licensed medical physician.)

Barring that, you can always send everyone who brings you a pineapple their own pineapple Jello mold — if that doesn’t convey the message that this trend died in the sixties, we don’t know what will.

(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 732)

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