Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski: Yeshivas Must Speak Out, Drunk On Purim Is Not A Mitzvah

twerski(VIDEO in extended article) (Article by VIN). In the Talmud, there are differing opinions on some halachos, and we must conduct ourselves according to the rulings of the poskim. For example, R’ Yosi Hagelili believe that the issur of meat and milk does not apply to fowl, but the psak halachah is otherwise. Anyone who eats butter-fried chicken is a treifniak. After the early poskim there were the later ones, and because they were in the position to weigh all the earlier opinions, we follow their psak, which is essentially in the Shulchan Aruch. There were great poskim after the Shulchan Aruch, and for all intents and purposes, klal Yisrael has accepted the Mishna Berurah by the Chafetz Chaim as our halachah today.

In regard to the mitzvah to drink on Purim, Ramah says that one need not get drunk, but to drink just a bit more than one usually does, and take a nap. The Mishnah Berurah (695), says “This is the proper thing to do.” This is the halachah we must live by today. Getting drunk is improper. That is the halachah.
Experience in the past several years has been that particularly young people who drink to excess on Purim get into both shameful and dangerous behavior. Hatzalah cannot keep up with the calls to take these young men to hospital emergency rooms! Can anyone conceive that this is a mitzvah?

Beis Yosef quotes Orchos Chaim: “The mitzvah to drink on Purim does not mean to get drunk, because being drunk is a total issur, and there is no aveirah greater than this!” I believe that based on this, and the observation of the tragedies resulting from excess drinking on Purim, Hagaon Harav Shmuel Kamentzky made the bold statement that “Getting drunk on Purim is an aveirah, not a mitzvah.”

Parents! Exercise your authority to prevent your children from harming themselves or others! Make it abundantly clear to them that you will not tolerate excessive drinking, regardless of what their misguided friends may do.

Baale batim! When bachurim visit your homes on Purim, do not serve them alcohol. Neither wine, beer, nor liquor. They can have the permissible amount (no more than 4 ½ ounces of wine) at home, under their parents’ supervision.

Remember this! If you serve a young man alcohol, and it has a harmful consequence to him or others, you are responsible for that mishap!

Rabbanim and Rebeeim! B”H, our children look up to you for guidance. Help them and the community stay healthy and well by speaking out unequivocally against getting drunk on Purim. They will listen to you more than to others.

May we all enjoy a truly joyous and safe Purim.

Dr. Abraham J. Twerski, an ordained rabbi is an internationally respected authority on the treatment of alcohol and other drug dependencies, and is the author of more than 60 books.

The dangers and pitfalls of alcohol from Yehuda Mond Foundation on Vimeo.

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  1. The following statement is painful but true. The shikrus we observe occurring on Purim is something that these individuals want to do but cannot – so they use Purim as the heter to do it. It’s an abomination, not part of any mitzvah, and this is what Reb Shmuel Kaminetzky shlit”a stated last week – that it is an aveiro to interpret the words of Chazal of levsumei to mean getting drunk, not just doing it.

  2. Well dr twerske is the poisek hador! We must listen to every word he says, I remember him from when he was studying in the old days he was such a masmid, he used to go to med school and right back to the gemora. This is how one becoms a true poisek! He’s also a big tzadik from a family of choshuver chsidishe rebbes!

  3. Every person has his Rabonim and Madrichim that they follow, if he is qualified to lead, and has people who follow him those people can follow him, but what does that have to do with the average Lakewood guy? When our RY and many of our leaders act one way, why is there an article leaning the other way? Besides, everyone knows that there are many RY Mashgichim and Madrichim that act very much not like the above article seems to think we should act. Why then, in a forum that is supposed to represent “Lakewood” is such an article represented?

  4. If one day a Dr would say that eating Matzah wasn’t good for a person we wouldn’t be Mivattel what our Torah says. Even if he would say that its life threatening to eat Matzah, we wouldn’t go against the torah! Even the rule that Pikuach Neffesh overrides all other commandments is not because in such a situation we don’t follow the Torah, it is rather because in such a situation the TORAH SAYS to not eat Matzah.

  5. What does the writer mean by stating that one who gives a Bachur to drink is then responsible for the actions of the drunk. My Shulchan Aruch states that one is ALWAYS responsible for his own actions as long as he is not a Cheresh Shotah or Kutton (or if it comes from Simchas Purim, where when the damage is small he may not either be responsible).

  6. My last sentence of “Doy lichachim berimiza” wasn’t intended to mean that since I am hinting to something and a wise man will understand what I mean, therefore the sentence can be erased and moderated. What I meant was that together with that sentence the comment would be understood by one wise! Thank you.

  7. I would not be so proud of your statement.After 120 years when you come up to shamayim I hope you can say I did all mitzvah’s meikur haddin the way you got drunk and you got those high school boy’s stone at your house.

  8. People must be blinded from there yatzer harroh.There is a problem with drinking on purim.The truth is even if one person listen to Rabbi Tewriski and Reb Shumel it is like they save the world’

  9. I want to make another point here. Even if one feels that we are obligated to get “plastered” it should not be done the first night or in public. For bucharim to “carry on ” in the streets is not torahdic and not what chazal wanted.It is pashut that it is part of the mitzvah of seudas purim and it should be done during the seudah. Most of the bacharim who drink while collecting don’t end up doing the seudah properly.

  10. lets get real here.who said ..why said..why can he blah blah blah blah .the point is ALCOHOL IS A TOXIX SUBSTANCE that should be used carefully. just as we would be horrified to see a buchur smoke pot, we should be just as horrified to see a young man consume amounts of alcohol to make him senseless.speak to dr.’s in the er on purim. they are astonished to hear this practice is not only allowed,but also encouraged…last year a plastered buchur lost his footing in front of my car. fortunately there was a angel protecting this child [his rebbe or parents certainly not supervising him] for i was stopped at light which was red. yes,the men in my family drink alcohol on purim but its done with caution. not one of them gets behind a wheel nor will they get in a car of someone who drivesdrunk. like i said people. lets get real,real smart!

  11. most rabbanim and roshei yeshiva drink ad diloh yodah and serve bochurim yayin. Minhag yisroel torah. Everyone has his own responsibility to act in a responsible matter. I know by the darchei haemori is ( obama,democrats)that you are not responsible for your own actions but everyone else is.

  12. my husband was hit by a drunk driver when we were newly married- and it turned our lives upside down.
    please be mature and responsible with the alcohol given out in your home and if you see a bachur that is beyond himself, give him a ride so as not to danger other yiden.
    it’s a simple lesson in caring about others.

  13. Just to set the record straight, noone ever condoned drinking and driving. Just the opposite, everyone agrees that those who do so or act in ANY way that will endanger themselves or others to the extent of Sakonas Nifoshos should not only not drink but it ASSUR for him to drink. Such a person is simular to a Dr who may be needed, who bec of the special Chidush Halacah of Sakanos Nifashos is forbidden to get drunk. While such a person may not have merited to get this specific Mitzvah he definetly is doing H’s will, and will be rewarded for doing so. The question is only regarding others who don’t have to worry about ending up doing such things.

  14. if one never took a drink one could never become an alcoholic no substance know to man has caused more destruction in lives and families than alcohol they call alcohol spirits for a reason ever wonder what type of spirit is in control of you when you consume

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