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February 9, 2016 / 30 Shevat, 5776
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Be A Purim Sponsor

Mandel-031414

Purim brings out a perennial question.

How much drinking is required – is fun, is responsible – on this festive day?

Alcohol on Purim is viewed by many as the drinking equivalent of the Autobahn: no limits, no control.

But contrary to popular misperception, even the Autobahn has enforceable limits in certain areas and in the event of inclement weather.

Ad asher lo yada – drink until you don’t know – is an alcoholic’s everyday state of mind. He will drink anything he can find until he doesn’t know day from night, rational from irrational choices.

It can begin so imperceptibly. Beer is an early choice of many alcoholics. It is cheaper than wine or whiskey. Then again, the miniscule alcohol content in liquid cold medicine also becomes a fix for the desperate drinker.

Purim is a day that brings out several types of drinkers. Drinking responsibly on Purim can be done by responsible people. The rest need someone else to be responsible for them.

A glass or two of wine at the seudah, the festive Purim meal, is enjoyed by many and is normal. Not a few revelers will guzzle several glasses of wine, others even a bottle or two. Some will experience nausea and perhaps begin acting less than coherently.

On the farther end of the spectrum, Purim brings serious, life-threatening challenges for those prone to alcohol abuse or in recovery from alcohol addiction.

What can we do to help?

First, drink responsibly. Sure, a designated driver is imperative, but so is avoiding the overconsumption of alcohol on Purim that often ends with Hatzolah having to transport a near-dead young person to a hospital emergency room.

Second, be a sponsor. All people in recovery, be it from alcohol, drugs, gambling or any other addiction, are familiar with the term. A sponsor is a recovering addict further along in treatment whom one can call when he feels alone and vulnerable and needs to talk with someone.

Though the term in this context refers to recovering addicts, most of us can be sponsors once a year on Purim. This requires that we be aware of anyone in our immediate vicinity who is either inebriated or getting there. It also entails an understanding that those with a drinking (or any addictive) history are most vulnerable on an occasion like Purim when they are surrounded, for 24 hours or longer, by alcoholic beverages and people consuming them.

It is unrealistic to make a blanket declaration about not drinking on Purim. But keeping a watchful eye on a young man prone to going over the edge has the potential to save a life.

Being a sponsor on Purim means following the directive of those ads we’ve all seen since the 9/11 terrorist attacks: See something, say something.

See someone in drinking trouble, do something.

Be a sponsor.

Save a life.

Save a world.

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7 Responses to “Be A Purim Sponsor”

  1. I do not. I don’t like alcohol and drink very little but I am pretty much a hermit.

  2. That was for a time when the majority Jewish people had their own sensible drinking patterns on holidays, for celebrations although the 15% of those with no liver enzyme to process alcohol born alcoholic what we called “schickers” were always among us, In my tract house suburban neighborhood the 40% of us Jews looked askance at the shonda of the beer drinking and martinis after work among our goy neighbors. Now we are assimilated into the alcohol culture with more and more of our livers’ giving out so we become alcoholic this is just asking for DUI arrests on Purim.

  3. That was for a time when the majority Jewish people had their own sensible drinking patterns on holidays, for celebrations although the 15% of those with no liver enzyme to process alcohol born alcoholic what we called “schickers” were always among us, In my tract house suburban neighborhood the 40% of us Jews looked askance at the shonda of the beer drinking and martinis after work among our goy neighbors. Now we are assimilated into the alcohol culture with more and more of our livers’ giving out so we become alcoholic this is just asking for DUI arrests on Purim.

  4. I never saw my observant father imbibe like that even on Purim. I think it’s uncalled for and sets a very bad example!

  5. Dan Silagi says:

    The fool who wrote this hasn't driven on Germany's autobahnen lately, if ever. Accident rates are low — lower than on U.S. Interstates, despite most of it having no speed limits. Lane discipline is strictly enforced. If you're driving, say, 80 mph, you keep to the right. The left lane is for passing; and left-lane banditry is not tolerated. Nor are drunks. Thus, the writer's comparison is totally incorrect. Use Jamaica, New Jersey, or even Israel.

    I have driven on many autobahns and unlike the highways in my home state of New Jersey, it's a pleasure to drive on them. BTW, about 1/3 of autobahn are under a speed limit of 130 kph (81 mph).

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