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Annual Purim Post

 

There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. Message from YU roshei yeshiva (PDF) There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim.

 

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Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the founder, publisher and editor-in-chief of Torah Musings.

 
The opinions and facts here are presented solely by the author. Torah Musings assumes no responsibility for them. Please address religious questions to your rabbi.
 

25 Responses

  1. MO says:

    Great Purim Torah!!!

    I’ll be sure to take an extra shot to toast it!

  2. talmid says:

    When was Rav Tanchum Cohen named a Rosh Hayeshiva? He deserves it, but didn’t know that it happened.

  3. Ariel says:

    This is the actual halacha in the Shulchan Aruch:

    חייב אינש לבסומי בפוריא עד דלא ידע בין ארור המן לברוך מרדכי.
    הגה: ויש אומרים דאין צריך להשתכר כל כך אלא שישתה יותר מלימודו (כל בו) ויישן ומתוך שיישן אינו יודע בין ארור המן לברוך מרדכי (מהרי”ל). ואחד המרבה ואחד הממעיט ובלבד שיכוין לבו לשמים… ויש אומרים דאם הזיק אחד את חבירו מכח שמחת פורים פטור מלשלם (תרומת הדשן סימן ק”י).
    Shulchan Aruch [Directly quoting the gemara]: One is obligated to [get drunk] on purim until he doesn’t know the difference between “curse Haman” and “bless Mordechai“.
    Rema – Some say you don’t need to get so drunk, rather drink more than usual and sleep and then since you’re sleeping you won’t know the difference between “arur haman” and “baruch mordechai“. Whether [one drinks] a lot, or a little, as long as long as he is “mekavein libo l’Shamayim“.. And some say if one damages [property of his] friend from the koach simchas purim he is patur.

  4. Ariel says:

    While I understand why rabbis and educators try to discourage getting drunk, it is false to say “There is no mitzvah to get drunk on Purim”. There is a mitzvah, and although it has certain risks, one should recognize the positive aspects of it. Each person needs to see how much they can safely drink as part of simchas purim.

    http://www.torahjournal.com/blog/2011/09/drinking-on-purim/

  5. Hirhurim says:

    Ariel: People unused to the Rema’s style might find that language confusing. “Some say” is his way of paskening.

    And, no, I am saying that there is no mitzvah in getting drunk. None at all. Drinking wine, yes. Getting drunk, no.

  6. Shlomo says:

    So Sefardim still have to get drunk on Purim? :)

  7. Joseph Kaplan says:

    What are the positive aspects of getting drunk (as opposed to having a little more to drink than usual)?

  8. H G says:

    Is it just me, or is Rabbi MD Tendler conspicuously absent from this list?

  9. Ariel says:

    @Hirhurim, he seems to just be mentioning a kula one can rely on, that you don’t need to get that drunk. What do you do with the second “yesh omrim”?

    @Joseph Kaplan, For some people, drinking brings out a more festive side.

    I agree that not everyone should get drunk, it depends on their personality and stomach.

  10. Josh says:

    @ Shlomo — My understanding is that the choice of the word לבסומי in the Gemara (rather than להשתכר) was intentional, reflecting the Rema’s comment in the name of the Kol Bo that the mitzva is not to get plastered, but rather to drink more than one is acquainted. The root “bosem” merely means a “fragrance,” so one could understand לבסומי to mean that one should drink until the smell of alcohol is on him. I know that for me, a glass or two of wine will do the trick.

  11. Hirhurim says:

    Ariel: That is not the Rema’s style and both the Pri Megadim and Mishnah Berurah say the halakhah is like the “some say” view the Rema quotes.

  12. Joseph Kaplan says:

    “For some people, drinking brings out a more festive side.”

    “drinking” not “getting drunk.”

  13. Mar Gavriel says:

    The root “bosem” merely means a “fragrance,” so one could understand לבסומי to mean that one should drink until the smell of alcohol is on him. I know that for me, a glass or two of wine will do the trick.

    And one could also read it as meaning that one should positively reek of alcohol. Remember that the Rambam paskens that you have to drink until you pass out.

  14. Mordechai says:

    Let’s stop pulling punches here. How about a post entitled “There is an aveira to get drunk on Purim”?

    http://www.seforim.blogspot.com/2012/02/blog-post_23.html

  15. sberger says:

    so…it’s only for sefaradim? time to convert.

  16. Skeptic says:

    Mar Gavriel:

    ושותה יין עד שישתכר וירדם בשכרותו

    doesn’t seem to me to mean “until you pass out”. Rather, until you fall asleep

  17. Jacob says:

    Speaking of Sefaradim, where is Rosh Yesiva R’ Eliyau Benhaim’s singature?

  18. Shalom Spira says:

    Ye’yasher kochakhem R. Student and distinguished respondents.

    I have great reverence for R. Weinreb, shlit”a, and the additional Torah luminaries, shlit”a, who signed the letter that relies of R. Weinreb’s article to discourage intoxication on Purim. Certainly, is a wonderful Kiddush Ha-Shem that these Torah luminaries are championing the health and wellbeing of the public. On the other hand, the letter advances certain positions that could be legitimately challenged in the noble spirit of milchamtah shel Torah, as folows:

    1. The letter states “there is no halakhic imperative for drunkenness or intoxication on Purim (Be’ur Halacha s.v. chayav).”

    REJOINDER: This is technically true, but Bi’ur Halacha also states that drunkeness is indeed a bona fide mitzvah. It may not be imperative, but it is still a noble spiritual act as an optimal fulfillment of a mitzvah. Here is a full translation of the Bi’ur Halacha verbatim: “And if you ask – how could our Sages obligate drunkeness that which is mentioned in the Torah and Prophets in many places as being a major stumbling block? And one may answer that because all the miracles that were done for Israel in the days of Achashverosh occurred through a drinking party. For originally Vashti was rejected through a drinking party, and Esther came. And likewise the episode of Haman and his rejection was through a drinking party. Therefore the Sages obligated one to become drunk until such that he will become cognizant of the great miracle through drinking wine. But nevertheless this is all a mitzvah and not imperative.”

    2. The letter states that on the night of Purim “there is no mitzva to drink whatsover.”

    REJOINDER: According to R. Israel David Harfenes in his Shu”t Mekadesh Yisrael (Purim), no. 285, there is indeed somewhat of a mitzvah to drink even the night of Purim. See here: http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=9667&st=&pgnum=282 And see also R. Shlomo Yosef Zevin’s chapter on “Ad de-Lo Yada”, who elaborates on the Purim ma’ariv liturgy to which R. Harfenes refers [as one of his proofs that drinking at night is also somewhat of a mitzvah].

    3. The letter states that “drinking liquor and/or beer… is not a mitzvah whatsoever”.

    REJOINDER: Although this is indeed the opinion of Rashi, Rambam, Roke’ach and Radbaz, nevertheless other poskim disagree. See Piskei Teshuvot (of R. Simchah Rabinowitz, Jerusalem, 5757) to Mishnah Berurah VI, pp. 580-581 for a survey of this dispute. R. Rabinowitz’ conclusion is that while it is better to specifically drink wine, nevertheless one may substitute and/or add other alcoholic beverages for the mitzvah of drinking on Purim. Similarly, according to Shu”t Mekadesh Yisrael no. 328, although it is preferable to drink wine on Purim, one can fulfill the mitzvah of drinking with all intoxicating beverages, including liquor and/or beer. See here http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=9667&st=&pgnum=318

    4. The letter states that “no alcohol whatsoever should be consumed if such consumption will lead to overconsumption or if the individual will be driving afterwards (see Chullin 10a).

    REJOINDER: The gemara in Chullin 10a states that “chamira sakanta me-issura”, viz. physical danger to one’s health is even weightier than a ritual prohibition. Now, it is true – based on this passage as well as other sugyot – that piku’ach nefesh overrides all the commandments of Purim (as Arukh ha-Shulchan notes in OC 687, se’if katan 6). However, that is only so if there is no way to save the life of the individual other than by abrogating the mitzvah. Now, in terms of the danger of driving an automobile, there is no need to abrogate the mitzvah of drinking. The solution, instead, is obvious: issue a Jewish communal ban on all automobile driving on Purim. [For obvious reasons, exceptions must be granted to Jewish police/firefighter/ambulance drivers, and these individuals may indeed have to be exempted from drinking on Purim (just as they are exempted from many aspects of Shabbat observance) due to the concept of statisical piku'ach nefesh. But for all other Jews, the obligaton to drink alcohol is sacrosanct, and it is automobile driving that should be banned.] In terms of the alternate danger of overconsumption of alcohol, this danger existed in the times of Chazal just as it exists today. Chazal were aware of this problem and urged moderation in driking, as per the gemara in Yoma 76b. Clearly, despite the risk of alcohol abuse, Chazal commanded us to drink, and so we must assume that they categorized the risk of alcohol abuse as being subsumed under the rubric of “shomer peta’im Ha-Shem” (analogous to the gemara in Yevamot 72a). I suppose there may be special cases of people who are exceptionally prone to addiction where the risk of overconsumption is so imminent that one cannot invoke “shomer peta’im Ha-Shem”, but that is a determination to be rendered on a case by case basis in consultation with the patient’s physician.

    IN CONCLUSION: I believe this letter, if slightly diamond-polished by the considerations raised by the above four rejoinders, could become more universally accepted.

  19. Jon Baker says:

    We can all play at that game.

    Women can lein megilla for a mixed kahal in public on Purim. Women can lein megilla for a mixed kahal in public on Purim. Women can lein megilla for a mixed kahal in public on Purim. Women can lein megilla for a mixed kahal in public on Purim. Women can lein megilla for a mixed kahal in public on Purim. Women can lein megilla for a mixed kahal in public on Purim. Women can lein megilla for a mixed kahal in public on Purim. Women can lein megilla for a mixed kahal in public on Purim. Women can lein megilla for a mixed kahal in public on Purim. Women can lein megilla for a mixed kahal in public on Purim. Women can lein megilla for a mixed kahal in public on Purim. Women can lein megilla for a mixed kahal in public on Purim. Women can lein megilla for a mixed kahal in public on Purim. Women can lein megilla for a mixed kahal in public on Purim. Women can lein megilla for a mixed kahal in public on Purim. Women can lein megilla for a mixed kahal in public on Purim. Women can lein megilla for a mixed kahal in public on Purim. Women can lein megilla for a mixed kahal in public on Purim. Women can lein megilla for a mixed kahal in public on Purim. Women can lein megilla for a mixed kahal in public on Purim. Women can lein megilla for a mixed kahal in public on Purim. Women can lein megilla for a mixed kahal in public on Purim. Women can lein megilla for a mixed kahal in public on Purim. Women can lein megilla for a mixed kahal in public on Purim. Women can lein megilla for a mixed kahal in public on Purim. Women can lein megilla for a mixed kahal in public on Purim. Women can lein megilla for a mixed kahal in public on Purim. Women can lein megilla for a mixed kahal in public on Purim. Women can lein megilla for a mixed kahal in public on Purim. Women can lein megilla for a mixed kahal in public on Purim. Women can lein megilla for a mixed kahal in public on Purim. Women can lein megilla for a mixed kahal in public on Purim. Women can lein megilla for a mixed kahal in public on Purim. Women can lein megilla for a mixed kahal in public on Purim. Women can lein megilla for a mixed kahal in public on Purim. Women can lein megilla for a mixed kahal in public on Purim. Women can lein megilla for a mixed kahal in public on Purim. Women can lein megilla for a mixed kahal in public on Purim. Women can lein megilla for a mixed kahal in public on Purim.

    Repeated assertion of a controversial position does not make it universally accepted.

  20. Joseph Kaplan says:

    Great point Jon! I agree with both Gil’s post and yours.

  21. bum says:

    check out this guy;s opinion in mitzvas ad delo yada

    http://chakiros.blogspot.com/

  22. Shlomo says:

    bum: it’s quite a stretch, to say the least, to say that you shouldn’t drink on Purim out of concern for bittul torah.

  23. Yosheiv Ohel says:

    Mr Shlomo you seem to underestimate the importance of learning Torah , because of you is why we have no more lamdanim today , why do you stress drunkenness over torah, Talmud Torah keneged kulam.
    I assume you are a baal esak , which explains your lack of concern for Torah (which by the is why we have a poll on the side of our blog).

  24. Shalom Spira says:

    Ye’yasher kochakem R’ Bum, R’ Shlomo and R’ Yosheiv Ohel for raising the concern that partying on Purim might be antithetical to the paramount mitzvah of Talmud Torah. Indeed, this is an important conflict that deserves careful attention. In the opinion of R. Israel David Harfenes in Shu”t Mekadesh Yisrael (Purim) no. 296, the mitzvah of partying on Purim (in a spiritually meaningful manner which contributes to pirsumei nissa) overrides Torah study. Thus, for R. Harfenes, one should drink wine on Purim even at the expense of Torah study. See here http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=9667&st=&pgnum=293

    I fully agree with the Torah luminaries who wrote the letter that drinking on Purim must be conducted with the utmost of care, recognizing that we are all going to have to offer a reckoning to Ha-Melekh Ha-Mishpat for our conduct on Purim (as on all other days of the year). However, I also think that there are legitimate halakhic sources that do encourage or even command drinking alcohol (wine as well as liquor/beer/etc.) on Purim (night as well as day), even if this results in the cancellation of Torah study, because of the mitzvah of pirsummei nissa. The key, therefore, is to formulate a public policy which champions public health and safety without compromising the mitzvah of drinking on Purim. In my opinion, part of that public policy should be a total ban on all Jewish automobile driving throughout Purim (and Shushan Purim, too), except for emergency vehicle drivers.

 
 

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