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Mishloach Manot

Rabbi David SperlingAdar 20, 5772
691
Question
Are you Yotze by giving Mishloach Manot to a family member?
Answer
Shalom, One can certainly fulfill the mitzvah of Mishloach Manot by sending two foods to a family member - for example one can give Mishloach Manot to one's father, mother, brother or sister. This is certainly true when we are talking about adults who live independently of each other. However, giving mishloach manot within the immediate family who live together may be problematic. There could be two questions that come up with this issue - firstly, most opinions hold that one does not fulfill the mitzvah unless the recipient is above bar/bat-mitzvah age. So you should (also) give to an "adult" family member. Secondly, if the family member is financially dependent on the master of the house (children living at home, most husband and wife couples etc) then it is possible that this is not considered as a proper gift. This is because, firstly one must provide for these people anyway – so it is not clear that you have really given them anything that they did not have coming to them. Secondly, there may be a problem of transferring ownership to these people, as what they acquire may automatically belong to the parents, and so too, what they give may already be owned by the recipient (though I can certainly think of ways this could be achieved). With this in mind, it would be good to send at least one mishloach manot to someone outside those dependent on you, to make sure the mitzvah is done in a perfect way - and then give to one's family as extra gifts. Blessings.
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