By Rav Moshe Taragin
In the ninth chapter, Megillat Esther lists the various mitzvot of Purim. From among this roster, two mitzvot appear to be similar to one another: mishloach manot (sending food to friends) and matanot la-evyonim (gifts to the needy). Although each mitzva consists of an act of giving, the two salient differences between them concern the substance of the gift and the gift’s recipient. Matanot la-evyonim is (1) monetary charity to (2) a poor person, mishloach manot is (1) a gift of food (2) distributed to friends, regardless of their economic station. In structure, however, the two mitzvot appear to be similar.