Performing two mitzvot with one mishloach manot
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I have a lemon tree with lots of fruit on it. I want to avoid a situation in which there are fruits from different years growing on the tree, so I harvested all the ripe ones. Can I perform the mitzvah of hefker by including holy lemons in my mishloach manot?
There is a concept that we are not supposed to bundle mitzvot together (la'asot mitzvot chavilot chavilot; the equivalent of "killing two birds with one stone"; it seems we are trying to get out of doing a mitzvah).
However, according to many posekim, it is possible to fulfil two interpersonal mitzvot (bein adam lachaveiro) with one action since these mitzvot don't require a special intent.
Yet, there is another element at play in the case of mishloach manot: performing a mitzvah with something that isn't actually yours. All of the fruit you harvested does not belong to you.
Since mitzvah obligations are supposed to be performed with chullin (non-sacred items) and supposed to be from your own belongings, you should make sure that your first mishloach manot contains at least two items that fully belong to you and are not holy.
For the mishlochei manot with holy lemons, there are two reasons why it's important to note that the fruit has kedushat shevi'it:
- So people will know how to handle them
- So recipients know that you are fulfilling an obligation of hefker and won't feel indebted to you for the favor.
For an article on the topic (in Hebrew) by Rav Yaakov Ariel, see here.