The Rambam in hilchos yom tov notes that one who neglects to include poor people in their simcha on yom tov, by not allowing them simcha too, his meals are not considered a simcha shel mitzvah. Rather, they are just satisfying his own personal needs and desires.
Yet, we find that of the many mitzvos that we are obligated to fulfill on Purim, mishloach manos and matanas levyonim stand out and are specified as part of the mitzvos hayom. Why did chazal feel the need to make them two independent mitzvos?
Furthermore, what is the correlation between the miracles of Purim and mishloach manos? In the Megillah we find that Esther as adamant that the yidden give mishloach manos to each other. Why?
Vilna Goan writes that when Haman was trying to convince Achashveirosh to annihilate the Jews, he stated that there is a nation that is not there to help one another: ‘yeshno am echad mefuzar u’meforad bein h’amim b’chol m’diynos malchusecha; there is one nation scattered and dispersed among the nations throughout the provinces of your kingdom…’ (Esther 3;8). It was each man to his own and no one was helping each other. When Esther was trying to rally the Jews to repent, she said that each person must look into their actions and unite with one another; not to only daven but to come together b’achdus-to do both-in order that Hamans tayna should be discarded.
When we rally and work together, we are much more protected from evil then if each man were to fend for themselves. If not, we give them much more ammunition than they need and they begin to focus on our bein adam l’chaveiro, lo aleinu.
Rav Yaakov Moshe Charlop, Zt’l, offers a different idea.
After Haman was hanged, Esther and Achashveirosh had instructed the yidden to kill his sons and wipe out the rest of the goyim; as you can imagine there was a lot of violence going on, albeit it was for michias Amalek. The pasuk notes that in shushan they killed three hundred people while in other countries they killed seventy five thousand people, all under Esther’s command. Yidden don’t typically behave in that manner and violence is usually condemned. Esther said, through her wisdom, we had just obliterated so many people and we don’t want them to lose or minimize the value of a life. She wanted us to value and appreciate every single human life. Granted we had to kill Amalek but we didn’t want that to affect our character. It was for that reason that she had instructed all of klal Yisroel to give tzedakah and mishloach manos ish l’rayahu.
We see from here how the power of achdus not only had a tremendous impact on their generation-which ultimately saved them from Haman-but also for all future doros thereafter, until this very day.
May we be zoche to rejoice this Purim, b’simcha, united as one nation and may we merit the geula sheleima b’karov!