Getting Drunk On Purim

The Daily Halacha Moment - Drinking On Purim 🍷


״כל השונה הלכות בכל יום - מובטח לו שהוא בן העולם הבא״ (נידה עג ע״א, מגילה כח:)


“Anyone who studies Halachot every day is guaranteed that he is destined for the world-to-come” (Megilla 28b, Niddah 73a)


Question:

What's the correct amount one needs to drink on purim to fulfill the mitzvah?


Answer:

To answer this question I would like to first start off with some background.

The Gemara in Masechet Megillah 7b states that one should drink until one cannot differentiate between cursing Haman and blessing Mordechai. This Gemara lends itself to many interpretations, one of which is that one should reach the drunkenness of Lot. This is the view of Seder HaYom, Purim, p. 240. The Sdei Chemed, in Maarechet Chet, klal 92 brings in the name of the Vilna Gaon that one should get so drunk to the extent that he may even be in danger. See also Mishneh Halachot 11:554, which explains this view. However, most poskim say that one should only drink a little more than he usually would. This is the opinion brought in Kol Bo §45; Orchot Chaim, Seudat Purim §38; Pri Chadash §2; Pele Yoetz, “Purim”; and Shevet HaLevi, vol. 10, 107:2. The Rama 695:2; Pri Megadim, Mishbetzot Zahav §2; and Mishnah Berurah §5 add that one should take a nap after drinking a little more than one normally would, and by sleeping, one is able to fulfill the words of the Gemara, since one cannot think when he is sleeping. There is even another view, of the Nimukei Yosef on Megillah 7b, which says that if one is unable to drink, he can “pretend to be drunk,” and behave in a more relaxed way. See also Piskei Teshuvot, footnote 22, which cites this view.

Even though drinking on Purim is a praiseworthy practice with many sources in the Rishonim and poskim. The Biur Halachah 695:2; Kaf HaChaim §18; Ohr LeTzion, vol. 4, 60:3; Chazon Ovadia, Purim, p. 175; Yalkut Yosef, Purim, Kuntres Acharon, p. 834; and Torat HaMoadim, Purim 11:3 point out that if one knows he will act improperly or will miss the opportunity to do a mitzvah, it is better for him to refrain from getting drunk at all.


Summary:

On Purim day, it is praiseworthy for one to drink more wine or other alcoholic beverages [1] than one normally would. There are many differing opinions as to the amount one should drink. However, the main idea is that one should rejoice, and drink with the proper intention of being happy on Purim. If one knows that if he will get drunk, he will not be able to fulfill a certain mitzvah, such as praying or reciting Birkat HaMazon, or that he will act inappropriately, then he may *not* get drunk.


Sources:

[1]. Ki Va Moed, Purim, p. 98, footnote 24, in the name of Chacham Ovadia Yosef.

See Laws Of The Holidays - Nacson p. 608.


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