Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Purim Drinking

The Gemara (Megilla 7b) teaches that one should drink enough on Purim that one can no longer tell the difference between cursed is Haman and blessed is Mordechai. Rambam (Megilla 2:15) writes that this applies to anyone unless it will cause him to engage in destructive or unacceptable behaviour. While some rishonim do maintain that one should drink enough to get drunk, Rambam writes only that one should drink more than usual which will cause him to sleep. Simply, when asleep, one can no longer tell the difference (Rema 695:2)! Other authorities including the Aruch Hashulchan (695:4) write that this Gemara should be understood more as a recommendation than an obligation.
The Gemara (Brachos 31b) writes that one mustn't daven while drunk. To top it off.. the Mishna Berura (Biur Halacha 695) writes that one must not drink if he knows it will prevent him from performing mitzvos such as davening, making berachos and the other mitzvos of Purim.
As one is supposed to drink specifically during the seuda, there is no reason to drink on Purim night.
While Rambam only includes wine in this mitzva, R’ Moshe Sternbuch (Moadim Uzmanim 2:190) allows one to drink other liqueurs, too. Nonetheless, he writes, that while one should drink wine on Yom Tov only if he enjoys it, on Purim one should make the extra effort to drink.
In light of the above, please drink responsibly and hand in your keys.

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