Rav Avigdor Miller on How to be a Purim Drunk

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 it’s a mitzvah on Purim nichnas yayin yatza sod, 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. 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, we will outlive all of our enemies. All this and much more we can demonstrate on Purim; and we are able to do it when we evoke, we elicit, 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 we should try to make it as much as possible important in the eyes of our children, and in our family and in our community. Make a big fuss out of Purim! And the Purim seudah should be a very important affair, a very important seudah. 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.
TAPE # 867  (March 1992)

Q: How do I utilize drinking עד דלא ידע in order to serve Hashem?

A: עד דלא ידע בין ארור המן לברוך מרדכי. I’ll tell you one peirush. It means עד ולא עד בכלל. You drink up to the point of losing your da’as. You drink just enough. But not enough to lose your da’as. On Purim you have to have da’as. You have to have more da’as on Purim, not less.

Now, a little bit of da’as can be gained by drinking. A little bit. Oh yes; it’s like an airplane that needs high octane gas to get up in the air. A little bit of alcohol helps your spirit go higher. Yes, a little bit of mashkeh. But too much alcohol will sink you. And therefore, there’s no use in falling asleep in the middle of Purim like a drunken goy and then they have to call Hatzalah. On Purim you should be gaining da’as and if you utilize the day properly, it’ll be a day of da’as. And you won’t be gaining any da’as lying on the floor waiting for Hatzalah to come. TAPE # E-225 (March 2000)

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