Money Making Faux-Mishloash Manot

The president of my shul called me this evening, furious that I did not participate in the shul’s mishloach manot program. “Reb Telz” he says “Why are you not on the list?  We are packing the bags, reviewing the mailed-in sheets, you are not participating! What’s wrong?”

Our shul mails out a 3-page checklist of all the shul members to everyone in the shul. We then check off the people we want to give mishloach manot to. It costs a few bucks per person. The shul makes and delivers bags of crappy shaloch monos — usually cheap items from Trader Joe’s and some pesachdik item from Wegmans, packed in St. Patrick Day bags from the Christmas Tree Shop, and filled with pastel colored Easter grass. Oh how Jewish. Since popular people get many givers, the shul pockets the extra money and makes a good take from the whole deal.  Of course there’s the “reciprocity” box which means you’ll automatically give someone if they checked you on their list. So you get the extra surprise after purim when you find out that you were way more popular than you thought — and it costs you.


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