The Dangers of Drinking

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R. Mayer Twersky on TorahWeb (link):

Chazal [our Sages] comment that the parsha of nazir (the nazirite) is juxtaposed to that of sotah (the adulteress) to teach us that “one who witnesses the corruption and downfall of the sotah should accept upon himself an oath to abstain from wine.”

Chazal are commenting on a typological case where intoxication was a major contributing factor to the sin of adultery. This causal nexus between intoxication and loss of appropriate inhibition is all too prominently manifest in contemporary American society, most infamously on college campuses. But adultery in particular, and promiscuity, in general, are only two of the manifold dangers of intoxication. Ono’as devarim (hurtful speech) commonly issues forth from lips loosened by the effects of intoxication. Nor should we forget for even a moment the sacrilege perpetrated by those who are visibly intoxicated on Shabbos during musaf after participating in their kiddush club. Shabbos is a day consecrated “la-Hashem Elokecha”(to Hashem, your God); tefillah (prayer) involves standing before Hashem and speaking to Him. What a compounded chilul Hashem to be intoxicated while davening (praying) on Shabbos!

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Editor of, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student currently is serving his third term on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and also serves as the Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He serves on the Editorial Board of Jewish Action magazineand the Board of OU Press. He has published four English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

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