Shailoh of the Week by Rabbi Zvi Nussbaum
Rabbinic Coordinator, Kosher Hotline Administrator for the Orthodox Union
This is a matter of dispute among the poskim. Some hold that by doing so, one does fulfill the obligation of mishloach manot (Be’er Heitev to OC 695:7, citing Yad Aharon; Da’as Torah in the name of Mahari Assad, and Rav Elyashiv, cited in Yevakshu Mipihu, Purim 1:31). However, Aruch HaShulchan (695:17) held that one does not fulfill mishloach manot with this arrangement.
The Ben Ish Chai (Teshuvos Torah Lishmah 188) explains the reasoning behind this dispute as follows: In the previous Halacha Yomis we learned that there is a dispute as to why mishloach manot is given. Is it to engender goodwill and camaraderie between people (Manos Halevi), or is it to ensure that poor people have sufficient food for their Purim seudah (Terumas HaDeshen)? If mishloach manot is to foster goodwill – one must send the food on Purim itself because sending the food is part of the mitzvah. Those who hold that one is yotzei, take the position that the purpose of mishloach manot is for the recipient to have sufficient food for the seudah. Hence, as long as the food is received on Purim – even if it was sent prior to Purim – the sender has fulfilled their obligation of mishloach manot, as the recipient will now have sufficient food for the seudah.