Send Me Something I Can Eat! // Isn’t mishloach manos supposed to consist of food?

By Ofra Katz

This year I took a new approach as I headed to the store to prepare my mishloach manos. I didn’t ask myself what I wanted to give for mishloach manos, but instead what I wanted to receive. Don’t get me wrong; I am not an ungenerous, stingy person. But last Purim was the makeh b’patish, and since then my thinking has evolved.

Allow me to describe the scene.

It was midnight when the last guest staggered out the door. My house was a disgusting mess, and I had a severe headache that I blamed on all the sugar, loud music and the fact that I was completely famished. Between running around delivering mishloach manos and serving guests throughout the day, I hadn’t put a morsel of normal food into my mouth. All the food from the meal I’d cooked had been scarfed down by the hordes of bachurim who’d shown up at my door, so I headed to the kitchen counter, where the dozens of mishloach manos packages I’d received were piled up, to look for something to eat.

The first one I opened was a small wicker basket. Inside was a spray bottle filled with a mysterious blue liquid, a squeeze bottle with something red in it, and a small slice of sponge cake in Saran Wrap labeled “sponge.” I gave it a squeeze but it was rock-hard. Oh, there was also a small rag and a rolled-up piece of paper that turned out to be a picture of a family dressed up as a cleaning crew. On closer inspection, it was our neighbors down the block. It was vadorable, but there was nothing to eat in it! I trashed the entire thing.

The next mishloach manos package consisted of a gorgeous acrylic box with a bottle of Voss artesian water, some little silver balls, and a rock-candy lollipop. The bottle of water I put in the fridge. I threw out the silver balls and put the rock candy in the nosh closet, where it would await its turn to be burned with the chametz.

By the third package, I was ready to call it quits. This one was a mouse pad with a slice of cheese and a cupcake with a gray mouse on it. The idea was creative, but somehow mouse cupcakes did not appeal to me. Neither did the Red Hots and hot-and-spicy fries in the fire engine-themed mishloach manosh, or the cotton candy that had been stuffed into an ice cream cone, creating the first non-melting ice cream cone I had ever seen.

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