Purim, Mishloach Manot, the Megillah? Back to the Basics!

What is Purim? Purim is the Jewish holiday recorded in the Book of Esther (Megillah) commemorating the delivery of the Jews from the plot of Haman to exterminate them.

When is Purim? Purim is celebrated on the 14th of the Jewish month of Adar (in cities that were walled in the time of Joshua, on the 15th). In 2009 it is from sunset March 9, through nightfall on March 10.

There are 4 mitzvot (commandments) associated with Purim:

1) Megillah—Hear the reading of the Book of Esther.
2) Have a festive meal.
3) Matanot L’evyonim—Gifts of charity to the poor.
4) Mishloach Manot—The sending of gifts of food and drink.

What are Shalach Manos / Mishloach Manot / Purim Baskets? It is the mitzvah on Purim of sending a gift consisting of at least two items of food to another person. To fulfill this obligation, one must give food that can be consumed without further preparation, such as, baked goods, fruits, candy, wine, or other beverages. It is best that a third party deliver these gifts. The phrase mishloach manot used in the Megillah implies that this mitzvah should be performed through a 3rd party. These Purim baskets are also called: shlach monos, shalach manot, mishloach manot, shalach manos, Purim manot, shalach minot, shalach monos, mishloach manos, mishloach monos and probably a few more. If you know of another spelling or name, please let us know!

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