Rav Avigdor Miller on Drinking on Purim

Q: What should be our attitude towards those who become shikur on Purim? 

A: We have to know that the purpose of our lives is to acquire da’as, not to lose da’as. When a person becomes very intoxicated so he is already b’geder beheima, he’s in the category of an animal, and that’s no praise for him at all.

However, sometimes in order to raise the airplane off the ground, you have to put high octane fuel into the tank to help get liftoff. And therefore, in order to make yourself more enthusiastic it’s the proper thing – there’s nothing wrong with imbibing a certain amount. But to get out of control, that’s a mistake. It’s not a kiddush Hashem; you make yourself look disgusting. No, I don’t approve of that; it’s very wrong – very wrong.

And therefore, although there’s a mitzvah on Purim of nichnas yayin yatza sod, but you have to be very careful that nichnas yayin, the wine should come in to you, and yatza sod, and the secret of the Jew comes out. That’s the only thing that should be coming out. יין is gematria seventy, and סוד is also gematria seventy. So the seventy of wine comes in and it pushes out the secret that the Jew keeps inside him.

So the Jew has in his neshama a love of Hashem, only that he’s too bashful to talk about it. He’s enthusiastic for the Torah and mitzvos but he’s embarrass to show it. But when the wine comes in, so the truth comes out and it shows his real pnimiyus. When he’s a little bit intoxicated the Jew shows the real enthusiasm that he possesses, things that he never showed before.

So therefore, Purim is a great opportunity for people to demonstrate their loyalty to the Torah, their emunah in Hakodosh Boruch Hu that He’s protecting us at all times, and that eventually we will conquer, that we we will outlive all of our enemies just like we outlives Haman. All this and much more we can demonstrate on Purim; and we are able to do it when we elicit from within us the greatness of which we are capable. We have it in ourselves! And a little bit of mashkeh helps out, no question about it.

Of course, Purim is a great day of da’as in general. And as much as possible we should try to make it important in the eyes of our children, and our family and our community. Make a big fuss out of Purim! And the Purim seudah should be a very important affair, a very important celebration. And by making Purim very prominent in our lives, then it becomes one of the jewels, one of the most beautiful tachshitim on the luach of the Jewish year – it’s one of the most precious jewels on our calendar.

TAPE # 867  (March 1992)

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