Can one fulfill the mitzvah of Misloach Manos by giving to one’s wife?

Answer:

The halachic ruling on this question is not entirely clear, and it is possible that one fulfills the mitzvah by giving one’s wife. Yet, one should not rely on giving one’s wife, but rather give somebody outside the home.

Sources: This is an interesting question. On the one hand, because one’s wife is considered as one’s own self, and mishloach manos must be give to somebody else (see Aruch Hashulchan 694:2, with regard to matanos la’evyonim). Furthermore, the purpose of mishloach manos, according to Manos Halevi and others, is to augment neighborly love, which might not apply to a marital relationship in which the husband in any case caters for his wife’s needs, and in which there is much more than neighborly love. This doubt is raised in Shalmei Todah (p. 290). Yet, others write that augmenting love certainly applies to one’s wife, and that the principle of ishto kegufo does not apply here (see Gam Ani Odecha p. 195, quoting from R. Yisrael Rot).

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