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I am writing this article four days after Purim 2015 (yes, you read that right, almost a full year ago) which, due to circumstances beyond my control, is the first opportunity I have had to unpack this year’s mishloach manos, a wonderful but time-consuming job. The men folk out there who are reading this article (if, indeed, there are any) are scratching their heads and wondering why exactly disassembling mishloach manos from family, friends and co-workers is considered a “job.” After all, you just rip them open, pull out the good stuff and munch away happily, no?

Not quite.


Many, but not all, mishloach manos are painstakingly assembled, a procedure that involves tape, glue dots, ribbons, bows, twist ties and all sorts of other creative fasteners and, while I do appreciate the concept of wanting your mishloach manos to look beautiful when it arrives at its intended destination, I am finding this whole business of practically Krazy Glue-ing mishloach manos together so it could survive a category-five hurricane just a little bit out of hand.

I find myself surrounded by bottles of wine and grape juice, some of which have their labels half ripped off because that was the only way to extricate them from their packaging. This irks me, not because I wanted to send the wine bottles to someone else, but because when I serve that wine on my Shabbos table, I will likely have no idea what kind of wine I will be drinking and while I do like surprises, I don’t enjoy them in my wine glass. Another bottle of wine actually has an intact label, which means I will be able to identify if that one is dry or sweet without tasting it, but the six-inch long by one-inch wide strips of hot glue running down either side of it are awfully tacky looking. I suppose I could get out my blow dryer and try heating the glue so I could pull it off, but who has time to start blow drying wine bottles four weeks before Pesach?

Then there is the packing tape. I can’t even begin to tell you how many lovely-looking boxes of food came into my kitchen that now look like I pulled them off a clearance rack at my local store because the only way to rescue them from their carefully placed perch was by yanking off yards and yards of packing tape. What started out as a lovely-looking bar of chocolate or an artfully-packaged box of cookies is now looking like a casualty of war with half the outer wrapper peeled off along with the aforementioned tape.

You might think that glue dots are a better choice for getting things to stay put and you might even be right if you are talking about gluing a plastic-wrapped item to a smooth, non-painted surface. Glue dots do a great job keeping things in place and under those circumstances they come off pretty easily. But when glue dots are attached to paper or painted surfaces, they don’t come off nearly as simply, leaving you to decide if you want to rip the packaging to remove those sticky circles or if you want to get stuck with glue dots remnants that stick to newspapers, your pantry shelves or any other surface that is unlucky enough to come in contact with it.

Another thing that really makes me nuts is when mishloach manos comes arranged in a lovely bowl or container, which then gets totally destroyed when you try to remove its contents. A painted bowl that we received several years ago was forever ruined when half the paint came off along with the packing tape that was holding everything together. Two other containers that showed up here this year, a wooden mail holder and a set of painted metal bins both looked rather worse for the wear by the time I finished carefully disassembling them. In my mind, if someone went the extra mile and put together mishloach manos in a nice dish, basket or other receptacle, that item is meant to be reused and not just tossed with the cellophane it is wrapped in. Which means that whoever is packing that mishloach manos (and it is usually a store or an organization) had better find a way to get everything together without damaging the contents.


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Sandy Eller is a freelance writer who writes for numerous websites, newspapers, magazines and private clients. She can be contacted at [email protected].