Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Purim Drunkenness -- an abomination

So now Purim is over, and we can look back at the results of various prominent rabbis coming out against drinking to excess. For example, Rav Shmuel Kaminesky and Rav Ovadia Yosef. According to this post at the Lakewood Scoop, many minors became drunk on Purim. Read the details in the comment section, including the excess. According to one comment:
I was on a call and got the scene and it was a 17 boy drunk why raboisy why I cried when I saw that than I did CPR. Than hadjem the bochur surrvived
Or this:
Every year it’s the same story. This time I saw a new Bar Mitzva bochar drunk and screaming in the shul as we were starting Maariv. An adult had to push him out so we could begin in peace. Another slightly older bochar was so drunk he puked in the shul, staggered out and passed out on the floor in the hallway. My son came home and told me he saw this as well.
And from a Vos Iz Neias comment:
Last night, I came upon a multi-car accident, courtesy of our Purim drivers (this was before Hatzolah and NYPD arrived and cordoned off the area). That was after seeing over a dozen inebriated teens, boys and girls, 'hanging out' (doubtless they were being zerizim makdimim le'mitzvos by getting stoned the night before the seuda).
Besides the theoretical halacha (which is debatable), there is the concrete metzius, and pesak comes out of the intersection of the two. The metzius here is the conduct of people when drunk, whether people drink to excess such that they act abominably, and whether there is danger to life and limb. הֶחָכָם עֵינָיו בְּרֹאשׁוֹ. If what I've read on various websites is true, there is ample reason to forbid drinking on Purim.

 According to Rav Ovadia Yosef, drunkenness is abominable.
Shas' spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia, Yosef said that "drunkenness is an abominable and nefarious act" and that in Purim one must drink very little wine, only as a symbolic act to remember Ahasuerus' feast – without getting intoxicated.
Rabbi Yosef said, "Haman was intoxicated, but we must act with good manners." The rabbi recommended drinking until one falls asleep – a situation in which one does not distinguish between 'Haman the agitate' and 'Mordechai the blessed'."
"A man that is drunk – what good is he?" wondered Rabbi Yosef, and stated that instead a man must "take a rest, rise up and practice religion throughout the day. Some people are up to no good. They get drunk and then take the bus and act in a rowdy manner – that is defamation of God," he said.
As might be expected (!), he was roundly condemned for this position in the comment section, by a bunch of frum ignoramuses. For example:
suddenly every rov is deciding that your not allowed to drink it says in shulchan aruch that you should drink on purim all these misnagdim are stupid
It's nice to know that ultra-orthodox rabbis are just as capable as their Reform colleagues of re-interperting the Shulchan Aruch, Rambam etc. when it suits their objectives.

In terms of Shulchan Aruch, one is supposed to understand Rav Yosef Karo's short language (and citation of the gemara) in terms of what he writes at length in Beis Yosef -- where he defined the term. And to read the Rema and see how the Taz explains him. And Shulchan Aruch is not the end, but one should also learn Mishna Brura and Aruch Hashulchan. And for a posek, that is not the end. He must engage the sources from the beginning, as well as see what later halachic decisors say.

And we have, for example:
The Biur Halacha (692:2 s.v. Af) cites the Chayei Adam, who limits this Halacha in a modified version of Rabbeinu Ephraim and the Baal Hamaor: “If one believes that drinking on Purim will interfere with his performing any Mitzva, such as reciting Birkat Hamazon, Mincha, or Maariv, or if he will behave in a boorish manner, it is preferable that he not drink (or become inebriated) as long as his motives are proper.”
The words of Shulchan Aruch are not the final word on the subject! And also, a posek must take into account metzius, as I explained above.

No comments:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin