Drinking on Purim

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

by R. Moishe Dovid Lebovits

For some reason, people think that drinking is acceptable at certain times, [1]For a video put together by the Yehuda Mond Foundation on the dangers of drinking see http://yehudamondfoundation.org/programs/lechaim.asp.  such as on Simchas Torah, at a Shalom Zochor, at a wedding, and on Purim.

Halachically Speaking
Volume 10 Issue 3

Authored by Moishe Dovid Lebovits
Reviewed by Rabbi Ben-zion Schiffenbauer Shlit”a
Piskei Harav Yisroel Belsky Shlit”a
Reviewed by Harav Yisroel Belsky Shlit”a

Many people become intoxicated by drinking wine or whiskey on Purim. Is there a mitzvah to get drunk? What are the reasons for drinking on Purim? What are the parameters? Is wine preferred to whiskey? Does it apply to women?  Can one fulfill the mitzvah while asleep? When should one drink? These and other issues will be addressed in this issue. We will also discuss the halachic sources for drinking too much wine on Purim and throughout the year. [2]Refer to Vaykira Rabbah 12:1, Bamidbar Rabbah 10:1, Meseches Kesubos 65a, Megillah 12b, Niddah 16b, Eiruvin 64a.

Introduction – Wine

Wine is associated with many aspects of Jewish life. Shabbos [3]Shulchan  Aruch  272:8. and all the major Yom Tovim, including Rosh Hashanah, requires kiddush with wine. Wine is a drink that “gladdens the heart.” [4]Tehillim 104:15. Refer to Bereishis Rabbah 29. Wine has medicinal properties as well. [5]Refer to Meseches Bava Basra 58b, see Bava Basra 12b.

Wine in the Torah and Chazal

The posuk [6]Bereishis 9:20. tells us that Noach planted a vineyard…and he drank wine, got drunk and uncovered himself. [7]For additional sources which speaks about wine and its effects see Yeshayahu 28:3:7, Shmuel 1:1:14, Mishlei 23:29-35. Lot’s daughters gave their father wine to drink so that he would get drunk. [8]Bereishis 19:35. Nadav and Avihu are said to have drunk wine when they offered their “strange fire” in the Mishkan. [9]Refer to Vayikra Rabbah 20:9. The Medrash [10]Yalkut Shemoni Noach 61. says when a person starts drinking wine he feels innocent as a lamb and as complacent as a sheep. After he has a few drinks, he feels as if he is strong like a lion. When he has gone too far he becomes like a pig, wallowing in his own filth. When he becomes drunk he is like a monkey. He thinks he is smart, witty and clever, when in reality he is being laughed at by others. The Gemorah [11]Meseches Berochos 40a. says the tree Adom ate from was a grapevine, because nothing brings grief to this world like wine. The Rambam [12]Hilchos Yom Tov 6:20. says it is impossible to serve Hashem with silliness, lightheadedness, and while being drunk. One who is drunk is like he is worshipping avodah zarah. [13]Meseches Berochos 31a.  In addition, the Rambam [14]Hilchos De’os 5:3. says that one who gets drunk is a sinner, ugly, and loses his wisdom. One is not allowed to enter the Ohel Moed in a drunken state. [15]Vayikra 10:9. The Gemorah [16]Meseches Sanhedrin 70a. says that wine was created for two purposes, to comfort mourners and to give the wicked their reward in this world so that they may get their full punishment in the World to Come.

On the other hand, the Gemorah [17]Meseches Pesachim 109a. says happiness comes from consuming wine and meat. The Tana D’bei Eliyahu (Zuta) [18]13. says that, “Wine gives pleasure to old people, makes their hearts happy, refreshes their souls, and illuminates their eyes.” Wine also has a positive effect on the brain and the thinking process. [19]Refer to Meseches Eiruvin 65a. The Gemorah [20]51b. Refer to Meseches Pesachim 92a. says that old wine is beneficial for the intestines.

Drinking on Purim

The Gemorah [21]Meseches Megillah 7b. says that one is obligated to get drunk [22]There is an opinion that holds the Gemorah does not say “lhishtakeir” – to get drunk it says “l’besumi” – which means get high. (Haskama of the Gerrer Rebbe zt”l to sefer Piskei … Continue reading on Purim until the point that he does not know the difference between cursed Haman and bless Mordechai. The Gemorah also relates the following story: Rabbah and Rav Zeirah had their Purim seuda together. Rabbah got drunk and killed Rav Zeirah. They prayed for Rav Zeirah and he lived. The next year, when asked to come over for the seuda, Rav Zeirah did not go because one cannot rely on a miracle every time.

This seems to be an odd story; should it be taken literally? [23]Refer to Sharei Hamoadim pages 124-135 in great depth. Also see L’bisumi B’puryah pages 34-37.

The Maharsha [24]Meseches Megillah ibid. Also see Meiri Meseches Megillah 7b. Refer to Moadim L’Simcha 3:pages 442-447. explains that Rabbah did not literally slit Rav Zeirah’s throat. Rather, he kept giving Rav Zeirah drinks until he became sick.  Rav Zeirah’s refusal the next year was to avoid a situation of over-indulgence which can be fatal. Obviously, drinking wine is very dangerous if done without a cheshbon. [25]Also see Teshuvos V’hanhagos 4:173.

Harav Shlomo Zalman zt”l [26]Halichos Shlomo Moadim  19:footnote 77, Shalmei Moed page 289. suggests that Rabbah embarrassed Rav Zeirah, which is akin to murder.

Halachic Opinions

There are some poskim who maintain that we do not follow the apparent ruling of this incident, and one should not get drunk on Purim. [27]Ran Meseches Megillah page 6, Baal Hameor, Shibuley Haleket 201, Bach O.C. 695, Taz 2, Aruch Hashulchan 3.   See Shaarei Teshuva 2. The Meiri [28]Meseches Megillah 7b.  See Biur Halacha “ad.” says that there is no mitzvah to get drunk and act in a frivolous manner on Purim. However, the majority of poskim do in fact concur with the incident and maintain that one should drink enough wine on Purim to cause drunkenness. [29]Rif Meseches Megillah, Rosh 1:8, Rambam Hilchos Megillah 2:15, Tur 695, Shulchan Aruch 695:2, Yosef Ometz 1101. Refer to Mekadesh Yisroel Purim 325.  See Moadim V’zemanim 2:175, Divrei Yatziv … Continue reading The Pri Chadash [30]695:2. says that Rav Zeirah should have replied that he will drink a little without actually getting drunk. From the fact that he did not say this we can deduce the halacha that one should get drunk on Purim and the story is valid.  The Bach [31]695. says that even the lenient opinion agrees that one should drink more than usual on Purim.

Drinking More Than Usual

The Pri Chadash [32]Ibid. says that in our weak generation one should follow the lenient approach and only drink a little more than usual. This opinion is the opinion of other poskim as well. [33]Kol Bo 45, Bach, Orchos Chaim brought in Bais Yosef 695.  Refer to Shevet HaLevi 10:107.

Not Knowing the Difference Between Cursed Haman and Bless Mordechai

As mentioned above, one should drink until he cannot tell the difference between cursed Haman and bless Mordechai. [34]Refer to Korbon Nesanel Meseches Megillah 1:10, Aruch Hashulchan 5, Orchos Rabbeinu 3:page 56:91. There are many explanations as to what this means. [35]Refer to Tosfas Meseches Megillah 7b “d’lo,” Maharsha Meseches Megillah 7b “m’chayiv,”  Bais Yosef 695.  See Kaf Hachaim 16, Moadim L’simcha 3:pages 421-423, Sharei Hamoadim pages … Continue reading The Bach [36]695. understands this as a literal statement, and other poskim agree. [37]Shulchan Aruch 695:2.

Others say that this comment in the Gemorah should not be taken literally. [38]See Sharei Teshuva 695:2. One opinion says that one should drink to the point that he cannot calculate that the gematria of “cursed is Haman” (in Hebrew) is equivalent to “bless Mordechai“(in Hebrew). [39]Darchei Moshe 695:1, Magen Avraham 3, Elya Rabbah 2, Be’er Heitiv 2, Shaar Hatzion 5. Refer to Avudraham Purim.

The Taz [40]695:1, Mishnah Berurah 4, see Be’er Heitiv 2. explains that we have to give thanks to Hashem for saving us from Haman’s evil plot. We must also thank Him for the additional kindness of elevating Mordechai. We should drink until the point that we cannot discern between these two acts of kindness.

The Sefas Emes [41]Meseches Megillah 7b. says one does not have an obligation to be drunk to the point of not knowing…. However, one is supposed to busy himself with party on Purim and as long as he knows the difference between… he has to party and after that point he does not. However, one has fulfilled his drinking even before he reaches the point where he does not know….

Harav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach zt”l says people think that the miracle of saving the Jews was great and the fall of Haman was not a big miracle. Therefore, we drink until we do not know the difference between the two and they are both the same great miracle. [42]Modanei Shlomo Purim page 123.

Harav Moshe Shternbuch Shlita [43]Teshuvos V’hanhagos 4:173:page 165. says the following: there are different time periods in life. Sometimes Haman is on top and sometimes Haman is on the bottom. Sometimes our enemies beat us and the hand of Hahsem is hidden. Sometimes it is “bless Mordechai” and Hashem’s hand is visible, so to speak. On Purim we have a mitzvah to drink to the point that we do not know the difference between the two stages. We have to drink to know that all is from Hashem. This is the point of Purim. Even if Hashem’s name is not mentioned in the Megillah, everything is from Hashem.

Drinking More Than Usual – Falling Asleep

The Rama [44]Darchei Moshe 695:1, 695:2. says one should drink more than usual and thus fall asleep. This is the opinion of other poskim as well. [45]Rambam Hilchos Megillah 2:15, Yam Shel Shlomo Meseches Bava Kamma 3;3, Pri Megadim M.Z. 3, Levush 2, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 142:6, Mishnah Berurah 5, Aruch Hashulchan 5, Moadim V’zemanim 2:190.  However, sleeping without drinking at all does not accomplish anything. [46]Mekroei Kodesh 44, Orchos Rabbeinu 3:page 57:93, Mekadesh Yisroel Purim 326.

Getting Drunk is Not Allowed

The Orchos Chaim [47]Brought in Bais Yosef 695. (and others) [48]Kol Bo 45, Yesod Veshoresh Huavodah 12:8, see  Levush 2, Aruch Hashulchan 5. says drinking to the point of getting drunk is the greatest aveirah one can do since it causes giluy arayos, murder, etc. One should only drink more than he usually does.

Obligation or Mitzvah

Many maintain that there is no obligation to drink, but if one does so he has fulfilled a mitzvah. [49]Hago’es Mamonei Hilchos Megillah 2:15:2, Maharil 56, Darchei Moshe 695:1, Biur Halacha “v’chayiv,” Kaf Hachaim 15,  Mekadesh Yisroel Purim 327.
[1] 695:4.
However, some argue that the term chayiv in the Gemorah and Shulchan Aruch clearly indicate that it is in fact an obligation. Therefore, the Aruch Hashulchan [50]695:4. says there is an obligation is to drink, but every person has the leeway to choose how much he wishes to drink. [51]See Mekadesh Yisroel Purim 327.

Avoid Drinking

When one drinks to excess, he cannot perform mitzvos properly. Therefore, one who knows that by drinking he will not properly perform the mitzvos of netilas yadayim, bentching, [52]Moreh Betzbah 307, Pela Yoetz Purim. and mincha or maariv, [53]See Noheg Katzon Yosef page 203. it is better than he should not get drunk. [54]Elya Rabbah 2, Matei Moshe 1012, Chai Adom 155:30, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 142:6, Mishnah Berurah 4, Biur Halacha “ad, ” Kaf Hachaim 17. Refer to Toras Hamoadim Purim page 341:3. See Noheg Katzon … Continue reading One who wishes to drink should make sure the mitzvos are accomplished first and then he can drink. [55]Mekadesh Yisroel Purim 332.

Reasons to Drink

Why do we drink on Purim? One reason is offered by the Avudraham [56]Purim. (quoted by others as well). [57]Elya Rabbah 1, Matei Moshe 1012, Chai Adom 155:30, Taamei Haminhagim 891:pages 381-382, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 142:6, Biur Halacha “chayiv.” See Meiri Meseches Megillah 7b. The story of the megillah was influenced by wine. Vashti was removed from her role as queen through drinking of wine. [58]Megillas Esther 1:10. Esther took her place through a party. [59]Megillas Esther 2:18. So too the fall of Haman was through wine. Therefore, we drink on Purim to remember that the miracles happened to the Jews through wine.  [60]For many other reasons see Moadim L’simcha 3:pages 407-415.

The Chasam Sofer [61]Toras Moshe on Purim. explains that the Jews in the time of Achashveirosh attended his seuda and got drunk. Therefore, we have a mitzvah to drink to rectify the aveirah which was committed at that time,

Harav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach zt’l [62]Halichos Shlomo Moadim 19:footnote 79. says that Purim was established during the time of golus and it is not possible to be joyous while we are in golus. Therefore, we drink to forget about the fact that we are in golus and then we can be joyous properly.

Harav Moshe Shternbuch Shlita [63]Moadim V’zemanim 2:190. explains that a sober person is aware of his true feelings and his surroundings, and uses his intellect to hide his feelings. When he is drunk and has no control over his intellect, he cannot hide his feeling, and his true essence emerges. Even without our intellect, we should be close to the Torah and choose the good.

Wine or Other Drinks

Most poskim say that one should drink wine on Purim as opposed to other intoxicating drinks. [64]Rashi Meseches Megillah 7b “l’besumi,” Rokeach 237, Radvaz 1:462, Rambam Hilchos Megillah 2:15, Shalmei Moed page 287, Moadim V’zemanim 2:190, see Rivevos Ephraim 1:195:2, 8:page 478:2. This fits with the above opinions that maintain that we drink wine because the miracle happened with wine. A minority opinion says that the Gemorah does not designate wine, so one can drink any chamar medina (commonly consumed drink, such as beer and whiskey). [65]Shivili Dovid 695:3. Refer to Shevet Hakehasi 6:258, Lehoros Nosson 9:21-22, Peer Eitz Chaim O.C. 36, Moadei Yeshurin page 50. In addition, it is possible that the Gemorah only mentioned wine, because that was the primary source of alcohol at the time. This does not mean to exclude other intoxicating beverages. [66]Nemukei Orach Chaim 695:3:page 265, Orchos Rabbeinu 3:page 56:92, Mekadesh Yisroel Purim  328, see Lehoros Nosson 9:21-22. The use of wine is not the overwhelming custom, [67]Mekroei Kodesh 44. especially since one would need an excessive amount of wine in order to become intoxicated. [68]Rivevos Ephraim 7:360:1:1, see Rivevos Ephraim 3:465:1.

The Aruch Hashulchan [69]695:5. says that one should stay away from whiskey since it causes one to vomit.

One does not fulfill the mitzvah of drinking with grape juice. [70]Shevet HaLevi 10:107:2, Shalmei Moed page 288, Halichos Shlomo Moadim 19:footnote 76, Rivevos Ephraim 8:600.

One Who Does Not Drink Wine All Year

One who does not drink wine all year because of health reasons does not have to strain himself to drink wine on Purim. [71]Leket Yosher 1:page 157, Shaarei Teshuva 695:2, Yosef Ometz 1101, Mekadesh Yisroel Purim  329. Included in this is also someone who suffers from headaches. Since drinking does not bring him to joy he does not have to drink. [72]Refer to Moadim V’zemanim 2:190. In addition, it brings him to pain. [73]Mekadesh Yisroel ibid. If even a little wine causes him pain he does not have to do this either. [74]Mekadesh Yisroel ibid. However, if one refrains from wine because of non-health reasons all year, then he should drink wine on Purim. [75]Shevet HaLevi 10:106:2. See Oz Nedberu 5:42.

Women        

Although women are included in the mitzvos of the day of Purim, [76]Refer to Meseches Megillah 4a, Pri Megadim Eishel Avraham 695:14. this does not apply to drinking. [77]Rivevos Ephraim 1:458, 4:173:10, 53, Mekadesh Yisroel Purim 334, Moadim V’zemanim 2:190, Natei Gavriel Purim 73:4, Shevet HaLevi 10:18:2, Shulchan Aruch Hamekutzar 123:footnote 19.  See Shaar … Continue reading Women who wish to drink should only drink a minute amount. [78]Orchos Rabbeinu 3:page 58:97, Chazzon Ovadia Purim page 176.

Children

The mitzvah of drinking on Purim does not apply to a child and one does not have to be mechanech a child to drink on Purim. [79]Moadim V’zemanim 2:190, Teshuvos V’hanhagos 3:229, Natei Gavriel Purim 73:4:footnote 10.

When

The Rambam [80]Hilchos Megillah 2:15.  Refer to Hisoreros Teshuva 1:6, Rivevos Ephraim 7:214, Orchos Rabbeinu 3:page 57:93. seems to imply that alcohol should be consumed during the Purim seuda. [81]If one is drunk how will he recite birchos hamazon (Refer to Hisoreros Teshuva 1:6, Orchos Rabbeinu 3:page 57:93, Mekadesh Yisroel Purim 332).  See Yesod V’shoresh Huavodah 12:8. However, the Gemorah which mentions the obligation to drink does not make any connection to the Purim seuda, nor does the Shulchan Aruch. Some argue that the fact that the Megillah describes Purim as a day of party and joy [82]Esther 9:17. shows that drinking can be done all day. [83]Sharei Hamoadim page 112. The overwhelming custom is to drink throughout the day of Purim. [84]Avnei Yushpe 6:106:4, Moadim L’Simcha 3:pages 430-431, Mekadesh Yisroel Purim 333, 346 Halichos Shlomo Moadim 19:footnote 28, Shalmei Moed page 287, Modanei Shlomo Purim page 124. Refer to Natei … Continue reading

One wonders why people drink at night as well, since this mitzvah is included in the other mitzvos of Purim which apply during the day. [85]Sharei Yemei HaPurim page 75:4.  See Magen Avraham 696:15, Mishnah Berurah 24.

Even Those Who Drink–With a Cheshbon

Even those who drink should not drink on Purim just for the fun of drinking. This brings to lightheadedness, and one neglects the other mitzvos of the day. [86]Matei Moshe 1012. The Rishonim who drank of Purim did not do so with lightheadedness. [87]Matei Moshe 1012. Drinking on Purim is not a heter to drink without a cheshbon. It brings about chillul Hashem if one does not act properly, especially in public. [88]Mekadesh Yisroel Purim 330.

Father Does Not Want Child To Drink

If a father demands that his son not drink on Purim, it is questionable whether the son is obligated to obey. Generally, if a father tells his son not to do a mitzvah the son does not have to listen, because both are commanded in mitzvos. [89]Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 240:15-16. However, this rule does not apply to drinking on Purim, and the son has to obey his father. [90]Halichos Shlomo Moadim 19:25, Shalmei Moed page 288. The reason is that one can fulfill the mitzvah by drinking more than he usually does. [91]Ibid:footnote 38. If the father does not want his son to drink at all the halacha may be different.

Drinking and Performing Mitzvos

A person who is totally inebriated cannot pasken, [92]Meseches Krisos 13a. daven, [93]Meseches Berochos 31a. be a shatz, [94]Rambam 165. carry a sefer Torah, [95]Ibid. and be a judge. [96]Bach (Hayishonos) 41. One who drinks more than a reviis and is a bit woozy cannot daven until the wine is out of his system, but if he did daven his tefillah is valid, as long as he can speak before a king. [97]Shulchan Aruch 99:3. If he cannot talk properly before a king, he is considered drunk and may not daven [98]Shulchan Aruch 99:1. or say krias shema. [99]Rama 99:1. He is allowed to bentch; [100]In regards to saying a beracha see Rama 99:1, Mishnah Berurah 11, Taz 185:2. nevertheless, it is proper to wait until the wine leaves his system if he drank a lot. [101]Refer to  Shulchan Aruch 185:5, Mishnah Berurah 6. He does not count toward a minyan to bentch, but does count for a zimun of three. [102]Mishnah Berurah 99:10.

Obviously, getting drunk does not excuse anyone from any mitzvah. Therefore, saying loshon hara is forbidden on Purim. [103]Sharei Hamoadim page 122.

Vomited

One who vomited before he made a beracha achrona does not make a beracha achrona since it is unclear how much he threw up and how much he has left in his stomach. [104]Sharei Yemei HaPurim page 77. Refer to Meseches Chagigah 5a about vomiting in public.

Drinking By Gedolim

Many gedolim had the custom to get drunk on Purim. [105]Refer to Orchos Rabbeinu 3:page 57:94-95, Moadim L’Simcha 3:pages 437-442. However, they drank with a cheshbon and never succumbed to kalus rosh. The Chofetz Chaim zt”l did not get drunk. He used to pour some wine to all the guests and said this is for Shabbos, and he would then fill another glass and say this is for Purim in order to drink more than usual, and then he went to sleep. [106]Hanhagos HaChofetz Chaim page 181. See Shalmei Moed page 288.

Making a Beracha at Each Home

An interesting question arises with regard to groups who collect money on Purim and drink in each house (one should not offer them drinks-see below). Is a beracha required in each home? Should he recite a beracha achrona at the last house? This question involves many variables and this is not the place to discuss it. One possible solution is to have in mind that he wants to drink in every home, and he should drink less than 3.3 ounces in each home. This way, no beracha achrona would be required. [107]Refer to Mekadesh Yisroel Purim 336-337.

Get Involved

The Torah says, “You must not stand idly by your friend’s blood.” [108]Vayikra 19:16. If another person is in danger you have to help him out. Do not allow a drunken person to drive. In addition, one should not offer alcoholic beverages to groups who collect on Purim. [109]Refer to www.dontserveteens.gov.

Lying About Knowing Between Cursed Haman and Blessed Mordechai

If one asks you on Purim if you know the difference between cursed Haman and boruch Mordechai you can say no. [110]Maharsaha Chiddushei Agados Meseches Bava Metziah ibid  “b’purya.” Refer to Titen Emes L’Yaakov page 52:26. See Moadim V’zemanim 6:109 who explains this opinion.

Doing Damage When Drinking

Many drunken people get out of control, and even damage another person’s property. The question arises whether he is responsible to pay for the damage, or since he was drunk due to the simcha of Purim he is not responsible.

If the damage was unintentional, [111]Magen Avraham 8, Mishnah Berurah 14. then he is exempt from payment, [112]Rama 695:2, Matei Moshe 1013, see Bais Yosef 695. Refer to Meseches Succah 45a, Rashi “miyad, Tosfas “miyad,” Shulchan Aruch C.M. 378:9. See Pri Megadim Eishel Avraham 7. if he caused minor damage. [113]Mishnah Berurah 695:13, see Refer to Bach (yeshonos) 62. There is an opinion in the poskim that exempts him even for physical damage, [114]Magen Avraham 7.  Refer to Bach (yeshonos) 62. while others are stringent. [115]Aruch Hashulchan 10, see Elya Rabbah 15.

This only applies if one drinks at least more than usual, not if he drinks a little. [116]Modanei Shlomo Purim page 124.

The definition of damaging due to joy is unclear. [117]Halichos Shlomo Moadim 2:19:footnote 77. In any case, the Aruch Hashulchan [118]695:10. says that in his days the joy we have for Purim is not the type of joy which would exempt one from paying for damage.

In addition, one who grabs food or drink from his friend on Purim [119]This includes the from reading the megillah until after the seuda – two nights and one day (Mishnah Berurah 696:32). is not considered stealing. [120]Rama 696:8. One can make a beracha on it as well. However, the poskim say that a person who is careful should refrain from such activity on Purim. [121]Mishnah Berurah 696:31. Here too, the Aruch Hashulchan [122]696:12. See Toras HaYeshiva 13:14, Chazzon Ovadia Purim page 208. says that this leniency is not applicable today.

Drunk and Gave Out A lot of Money

It can happen that one gets drunk to the point that he does not know what he is doing and he may have given out a lot of money on Purim. He may in fact have a right to reclaim the money. When this situation arises one should discuss it with his Rav. [123]Refer to Mekadesh Yisroel Purim 339.

Driving Groups Around and Not Drinking

Hundreds of groups collect money on Purim. The Jewish driver will not be drinking, [124]This is obviously ossur and no need to discuss this here (Refer to Natei Gavriel Purim 73:6). and will not be able to fulfill the mitzvah of drinking on Purim, especially if the group collects during the seuda. Is this permitted? There is no mitzvah to collect money on Purim but there is a mitzvah to drink. One option is to finish collecting early so one can drink, or drink later that night even though it may not be part of any seuda and just a Purim chagigah. [125]Refer to Mekadesh Yisroel Purim 343.

Torah Reasons Not to Drink

We are required to protect our health, and therefore one should refrain from drinking too much alcohol. In addition, according to the law of the land one is not allowed to give alcohol to minors. This is enforced by the halacha of dina d’malchusa dina. These and other obvious reasons demanding that we limit our alcohol intake, or fulfill the mitzvah in any of the ways detailed above.

 

Conclusion

It is impossible to say that chazal would demand of us to drink to the point of losing all feeling for what we are doing, which brings one to lightheadedness and other averios. [126]Yesod V’shoresh Huavodah 12:8. If one can drink and maintain control, then it may be permitted. After all is said and done, one should drink either to the point of getting drunk and then stopping, or drink a little more than usual. One who only wishes to drink a little has also fulfilled his obligation, especially according to those poskim who maintain that the incident in the Gemorah is not halachic.

Every year, hatzalah responds to calls for people who drank so much alcohol that they were in critical medical condition. Is it worth it? NO.

What Drinking Too Much Alcohol Does To Your Health [127]Refer to http://www.healthchecksystems.com/alcohol.htm, http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/faqs.htm.

Alcohol, or ethyl alcohol (ethanol), refers to the intoxicating ingredient found in wine, beer and hard liquor.  Alcohol arises naturally from carbohydrates when certain micro-organisms metabolize them in the absence of oxygen, called fermentation.

Alcohol is metabolized extremely quickly by the body.  Unlike foods, which require time for digestion, alcohol needs no digestion and is quickly absorbed.    About 20 percent is absorbed directly across the walls of an empty stomach and can reach the brain within one minute.

Once alcohol reaches the stomach, it begins to break down the alcohol.  This process reduces the amount of alcohol entering the blood by approximately 20%.  (In addition, about 10% of the alcohol is expelled in the breath and urine.

Alcohol is rapidly absorbed in the upper portion of the small intestine. The alcohol-laden blood then travels to the liver via the veins and capillaries of the digestive tract, which affects nearly every liver cell.  The liver cells are the only cells in our body that can produce enough of the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase to oxidize alcohol at an appreciable rate.

Though alcohol affects every organ of the body, its most dramatic impact is upon the liver.  The liver cells normally prefer fatty acids as fuel, and package excess fatty acids as triglycerides, which they then route to other tissues of the body.  However, when alcohol is present, the liver cells are forced to first metabolize the alcohol, letting the fatty acids accumulate, sometimes in huge amounts.  Alcohol metabolism permanently changes liver cell structure, which impairs the liver’s ability to metabolize fats.

The liver is able to metabolize about ½ ounce of ethanol per hour (approximately one drink, depending on a person’s body size, food intake, etc.).  If more alcohol arrives in the liver than the enzymes can handle, the excess alcohol travels to all parts of the body, circulating until the liver enzymes are finally able to process it.
———

Endnotes

Endnotes
1For a video put together by the Yehuda Mond Foundation on the dangers of drinking see http://yehudamondfoundation.org/programs/lechaim.asp.
2Refer to Vaykira Rabbah 12:1, Bamidbar Rabbah 10:1, Meseches Kesubos 65a, Megillah 12b, Niddah 16b, Eiruvin 64a.
3Shulchan  Aruch  272:8.
4Tehillim 104:15. Refer to Bereishis Rabbah 29.
5Refer to Meseches Bava Basra 58b, see Bava Basra 12b.
6Bereishis 9:20.
7For additional sources which speaks about wine and its effects see Yeshayahu 28:3:7, Shmuel 1:1:14, Mishlei 23:29-35.
8Bereishis 19:35.
9Refer to Vayikra Rabbah 20:9.
10Yalkut Shemoni Noach 61.
11Meseches Berochos 40a.
12Hilchos Yom Tov 6:20.
13, 93Meseches Berochos 31a.
14Hilchos De’os 5:3.
15Vayikra 10:9.
16Meseches Sanhedrin 70a.
17Meseches Pesachim 109a.
1813.
19Refer to Meseches Eiruvin 65a.
2051b. Refer to Meseches Pesachim 92a.
21, 41Meseches Megillah 7b.
22There is an opinion that holds the Gemorah does not say “lhishtakeir” – to get drunk it says “l’besumi” – which means get high. (Haskama of the Gerrer Rebbe zt”l to sefer Piskei Teshuva, also see Yesod V’shoresh Huavodah 12:8). Refer to Mekadesh Yisroel Purim 327.
23Refer to Sharei Hamoadim pages 124-135 in great depth. Also see L’bisumi B’puryah pages 34-37.
24Meseches Megillah ibid. Also see Meiri Meseches Megillah 7b. Refer to Moadim L’Simcha 3:pages 442-447.
25Also see Teshuvos V’hanhagos 4:173.
26Halichos Shlomo Moadim  19:footnote 77, Shalmei Moed page 289.
27Ran Meseches Megillah page 6, Baal Hameor, Shibuley Haleket 201, Bach O.C. 695, Taz 2, Aruch Hashulchan 3.   See Shaarei Teshuva 2.
28Meseches Megillah 7b.  See Biur Halacha “ad.”
29Rif Meseches Megillah, Rosh 1:8, Rambam Hilchos Megillah 2:15, Tur 695, Shulchan Aruch 695:2, Yosef Ometz 1101. Refer to Mekadesh Yisroel Purim 325.  See Moadim V’zemanim 2:175, Divrei Yatziv 2:297.
30695:2.
31, 36695.
32, 95Ibid.
33Kol Bo 45, Bach, Orchos Chaim brought in Bais Yosef 695.  Refer to Shevet HaLevi 10:107.
34Refer to Korbon Nesanel Meseches Megillah 1:10, Aruch Hashulchan 5, Orchos Rabbeinu 3:page 56:91.
35Refer to Tosfas Meseches Megillah 7b “d’lo,” Maharsha Meseches Megillah 7b “m’chayiv,”  Bais Yosef 695.  See Kaf Hachaim 16, Moadim L’simcha 3:pages 421-423, Sharei Hamoadim pages 113-117.
37Shulchan Aruch 695:2.
38See Sharei Teshuva 695:2.
39Darchei Moshe 695:1, Magen Avraham 3, Elya Rabbah 2, Be’er Heitiv 2, Shaar Hatzion 5. Refer to Avudraham Purim.
40695:1, Mishnah Berurah 4, see Be’er Heitiv 2.
42Modanei Shlomo Purim page 123.
43Teshuvos V’hanhagos 4:173:page 165.
44Darchei Moshe 695:1, 695:2.
45Rambam Hilchos Megillah 2:15, Yam Shel Shlomo Meseches Bava Kamma 3;3, Pri Megadim M.Z. 3, Levush 2, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 142:6, Mishnah Berurah 5, Aruch Hashulchan 5, Moadim V’zemanim 2:190.
46Mekroei Kodesh 44, Orchos Rabbeinu 3:page 57:93, Mekadesh Yisroel Purim 326.
47Brought in Bais Yosef 695.
48Kol Bo 45, Yesod Veshoresh Huavodah 12:8, see  Levush 2, Aruch Hashulchan 5.
49Hago’es Mamonei Hilchos Megillah 2:15:2, Maharil 56, Darchei Moshe 695:1, Biur Halacha “v’chayiv,” Kaf Hachaim 15,  Mekadesh Yisroel Purim 327.

[1] 695:4.
50695:4.
51See Mekadesh Yisroel Purim 327.
52Moreh Betzbah 307, Pela Yoetz Purim.
53See Noheg Katzon Yosef page 203.
54Elya Rabbah 2, Matei Moshe 1012, Chai Adom 155:30, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 142:6, Mishnah Berurah 4, Biur Halacha “ad, ” Kaf Hachaim 17. Refer to Toras Hamoadim Purim page 341:3. See Noheg Katzon Yosef page 203.
55Mekadesh Yisroel Purim 332.
56Purim.
57Elya Rabbah 1, Matei Moshe 1012, Chai Adom 155:30, Taamei Haminhagim 891:pages 381-382, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 142:6, Biur Halacha “chayiv.” See Meiri Meseches Megillah 7b.
58Megillas Esther 1:10.
59Megillas Esther 2:18.
60For many other reasons see Moadim L’simcha 3:pages 407-415.
61Toras Moshe on Purim.
62Halichos Shlomo Moadim 19:footnote 79.
63Moadim V’zemanim 2:190.
64Rashi Meseches Megillah 7b “l’besumi,” Rokeach 237, Radvaz 1:462, Rambam Hilchos Megillah 2:15, Shalmei Moed page 287, Moadim V’zemanim 2:190, see Rivevos Ephraim 1:195:2, 8:page 478:2.
65Shivili Dovid 695:3. Refer to Shevet Hakehasi 6:258, Lehoros Nosson 9:21-22, Peer Eitz Chaim O.C. 36, Moadei Yeshurin page 50.
66Nemukei Orach Chaim 695:3:page 265, Orchos Rabbeinu 3:page 56:92, Mekadesh Yisroel Purim  328, see Lehoros Nosson 9:21-22.
67Mekroei Kodesh 44.
68Rivevos Ephraim 7:360:1:1, see Rivevos Ephraim 3:465:1.
69695:5.
70Shevet HaLevi 10:107:2, Shalmei Moed page 288, Halichos Shlomo Moadim 19:footnote 76, Rivevos Ephraim 8:600.
71Leket Yosher 1:page 157, Shaarei Teshuva 695:2, Yosef Ometz 1101, Mekadesh Yisroel Purim  329.
72Refer to Moadim V’zemanim 2:190.
73, 74Mekadesh Yisroel ibid.
75Shevet HaLevi 10:106:2. See Oz Nedberu 5:42.
76Refer to Meseches Megillah 4a, Pri Megadim Eishel Avraham 695:14.
77Rivevos Ephraim 1:458, 4:173:10, 53, Mekadesh Yisroel Purim 334, Moadim V’zemanim 2:190, Natei Gavriel Purim 73:4, Shevet HaLevi 10:18:2, Shulchan Aruch Hamekutzar 123:footnote 19.  See Shaar Hatzion 199:6.
78Orchos Rabbeinu 3:page 58:97, Chazzon Ovadia Purim page 176.
79Moadim V’zemanim 2:190, Teshuvos V’hanhagos 3:229, Natei Gavriel Purim 73:4:footnote 10.
80Hilchos Megillah 2:15.  Refer to Hisoreros Teshuva 1:6, Rivevos Ephraim 7:214, Orchos Rabbeinu 3:page 57:93.
81If one is drunk how will he recite birchos hamazon (Refer to Hisoreros Teshuva 1:6, Orchos Rabbeinu 3:page 57:93, Mekadesh Yisroel Purim 332).  See Yesod V’shoresh Huavodah 12:8.
82Esther 9:17.
83Sharei Hamoadim page 112.
84Avnei Yushpe 6:106:4, Moadim L’Simcha 3:pages 430-431, Mekadesh Yisroel Purim 333, 346 Halichos Shlomo Moadim 19:footnote 28, Shalmei Moed page 287, Modanei Shlomo Purim page 124. Refer to Natei Gavriel teshuvas – Purim  24:pages 571-574.
85Sharei Yemei HaPurim page 75:4.  See Magen Avraham 696:15, Mishnah Berurah 24.
86, 87Matei Moshe 1012.
88Mekadesh Yisroel Purim 330.
89Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 240:15-16.
90Halichos Shlomo Moadim 19:25, Shalmei Moed page 288.
91Ibid:footnote 38.
92Meseches Krisos 13a.
94Rambam 165.
96Bach (Hayishonos) 41.
97Shulchan Aruch 99:3.
98Shulchan Aruch 99:1.
99Rama 99:1.
100In regards to saying a beracha see Rama 99:1, Mishnah Berurah 11, Taz 185:2.
101Refer to  Shulchan Aruch 185:5, Mishnah Berurah 6.
102Mishnah Berurah 99:10.
103Sharei Hamoadim page 122.
104Sharei Yemei HaPurim page 77. Refer to Meseches Chagigah 5a about vomiting in public.
105Refer to Orchos Rabbeinu 3:page 57:94-95, Moadim L’Simcha 3:pages 437-442.
106Hanhagos HaChofetz Chaim page 181. See Shalmei Moed page 288.
107Refer to Mekadesh Yisroel Purim 336-337.
108Vayikra 19:16.
109Refer to www.dontserveteens.gov.
110Maharsaha Chiddushei Agados Meseches Bava Metziah ibid  “b’purya.” Refer to Titen Emes L’Yaakov page 52:26. See Moadim V’zemanim 6:109 who explains this opinion.
111Magen Avraham 8, Mishnah Berurah 14.
112Rama 695:2, Matei Moshe 1013, see Bais Yosef 695. Refer to Meseches Succah 45a, Rashi “miyad, Tosfas “miyad,” Shulchan Aruch C.M. 378:9. See Pri Megadim Eishel Avraham 7.
113Mishnah Berurah 695:13, see Refer to Bach (yeshonos) 62.
114Magen Avraham 7.  Refer to Bach (yeshonos) 62.
115Aruch Hashulchan 10, see Elya Rabbah 15.
116Modanei Shlomo Purim page 124.
117Halichos Shlomo Moadim 2:19:footnote 77.
118695:10.
119This includes the from reading the megillah until after the seuda – two nights and one day (Mishnah Berurah 696:32).
120Rama 696:8.
121Mishnah Berurah 696:31.
122696:12. See Toras HaYeshiva 13:14, Chazzon Ovadia Purim page 208.
123Refer to Mekadesh Yisroel Purim 339.
124This is obviously ossur and no need to discuss this here (Refer to Natei Gavriel Purim 73:6).
125Refer to Mekadesh Yisroel Purim 343.
126Yesod V’shoresh Huavodah 12:8.
127Refer to http://www.healthchecksystems.com/alcohol.htm, http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/faqs.htm.

About Moishe Dovid Lebovits

Rabbi Moshe Dovid Lebovits is a Rabbinical Administrator for Kof-K Kosher Supervision and the author of Halachically Speaking volume 1 and volume 2.

2 comments

  1. The Gemara does not say to get drunk on Purim, it specifically uses a word that is used nowhere else to refer to drunkeness.

    • .. and in any case, the gemara ends with a cautionary tale against getting drunk. It’s really hard to see how the gemara can be taken as advocating the opening position.

      For that matter, being too drunk to know when to curse the bad guy or bless the good one, when to fight evil and when to build good, is actually quite sober.

      And yet, for 1,500 years after its writing this was clearly how the gemara was understood. And thus, the obligation is real halakhah. 20th cent discomfort with the idea of drunkenness can’t change that.

      If you wish to mitigate its applicability in light of some new feature of current life, I’m all aboard. But I am not going to go all Conservative (or neo-Conservative ) and rewrite tradition to fit my sensibilities.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: