Mishloach Manot

06.03.19

Question

To the Rabbi:
I am extremely nervous about the upcoming Purim. I have a neighbor who doesn’t like me very much and makes a little crazy. Last year Purim for Mishloach Manot he gave me something I don’t like or can’t have, on purpose. I am diabetic and can’t stand the taste of coffee. Last year he thought it was funny to give me a container of coffee, a packet of sugar and a thermos full of hot water.  I was then angry the rest of the day it ruined my Seudat Purim. I am afraid he will do it again. If he does that again this year, can I just give it back to him and tell him that he can’t fulfill Mishloach Manot in this manner?

 

Answer

Answer:
You can tell him that he does not fulfill his mitzvah. First of all, the thermos is not a ‘Manah’-portion nor is water (it is not a special drink). Coffee is machloket whether you can fulfill your mitzvah with it. Sugar is never eaten by itself. Even if he gave it to you all together you have another issue in that you can’t have sugar, so it something inedible for you. So you may tell him that he does not fulfill his obligation with this.

Explanation:
There are a number of questions to deal with:
  1. Can you give a drink for Mishloach Manot?
  2. Can you consider a Thermos a Manah since it is not edible?
  3. Since coffee powder is not ready as is, is it Mishloach Manot?
  4. Can you fulfill the mitzvah by giving something to someone which he doesn’t like at all?
  5. Can you fulfill your mitzvah by giving someone something he is forbidden to eat?
Can you give a drink for Mishloach Manot?
Gemara Megillah 7a: R’ Yehuda Nesiah sent the leg of a third born calf to R’ Oshiah and a bottle of wine and he sent back a message Rabbeinu you fulfilled your mitzvah of Mishloach Manot with us.
We see from this Gemara that one can fulfill his mitzvah with a drink. So ruled the Terumat HaDeshen, (111) The Magen Avraham (695:11) in the name of the Shlah.

One may even send tow manot of drinks. Rabbeinu Chaim ben Shmuel Talmid HaRashba writes: A person is required to send two portions of meat or other foods or drinks to his friend.
HaRav Elyashiv ZT” L (Yevakshu MePihu Purim pg. 43) writes not every drink is considered a “Mashkeh” a drink. Only a drink with taste but Soda water(seltzer) is not considered a drink. (Nor is water).
R’ Ovadia Yosef (Chazon Ovadia Purim Hilchot Mishloach Manot Halacha 4) wrote that it is still better to send food than drinks.

Can you consider a Thermos a Manah since it is not edible?
Shu”t Halakit (chelek 2:163) writes that if one can sell the Thermos or the container and buy food for the Seudah with it than the sender fulfills his mitzvah.

The Terumat HaDeshen (111) however ruled that one can not fulfill his obligation of Mishloach Manot unless it is food or drink. The point of Mishloach Manot is so the recipient has what he needs for the seudah and therefore one needs to send something which is edible. Also, we see the word ‘Maneh” a portion is only something you can eat or drink.
So rules the Mishna Berura 695:19, and so R’ Ovadia Yosef (ibid).
Since coffee powder is not ready as is, is it Mishloach Manot?

The Poskim disagree on whether one can fulfill his mitzvah with a piece of raw chicken. The Magen Avraham (695:11) quotes the Maharil who is of the opinion the one must send food which is ready to eat immediately, not that it needs any sort of preparation. For example, chicken which was soaked and salted but not cooked, he does not fulfill his obligation.
The Pri Chodosh (695:4) writes that a live chicken since it needs a lot of preparation to eat it he does not fulfill his obligation. However, a slaughtered and salted chicken which just needs cooking he can fulfill his obligation. So ruled

R’Ovadiah Yosef (ibid Halacha 4).
According to this coffee also, since it requires minimal preparation (just add hot water) one can fulfill the obligation. However, HaRav Elyashiv (ibid) writes that he doesn’t fulfill his obligation with coffee powder or cocoa since it is not called a “Maneh”. He does add that Sugar, since you can suck on it you do fulfill your obligation. (it seems that he was only taking about sugar cubes however nowadays with granulated sugar it is not able to be sucked on.
Can you fulfill the mitzvah by giving something to someone which he doesn’t like at all?
Can you fulfill your mitzvah by giving someone something he is forbidden to eat?
R’ Chaim Kanievsky (Torat HaMoadim 11:3) writes someone who sends something which the recipient can’t eat due to health reasons, or that one does not eat that Hechsher does not fulfill his obligation.
R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Halichot Shlomo Purim 19”11) writes that you can fulfill your obligation even if they can’t eat it.

So ruled R’ Ovadia Yosef (ibid 18) since it is able to be eaten by his household. (It seems however if he is single then it the sender would not fulfill his mitzvah since he can’t get any benefit from it at all.

 

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