web analytics
December 20, 2014 / 28 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Let’s Not Give Haman The Last Laugh


Purim is the “topsy-turvy” day of the Jewish calendar – the day of v’nahafoch hu. Boys and girls wear costumes, and we expect children to make noise in shul. It is a festive and happy day. But Purim may also be the day a Jewish boy or girl takes his or her first drink and the first step toward alcohol abuse.

For generations, American Orthodox Jewry denied the existence of aberrant behavior in its midst. The shikkor was “not one of us” – it was someone belonging to another ethnic group.

The old men in shul would enjoy a shot of Canadian Club, kichel and herring after davening. They would think it was funny to tell a child to try a small amount of liquor in a schnapps cup and watch as the kid spit out the drink in disgust. By and large families’ liquor cabinets contained the same unfinished liquor bottles from one simcha to the next. Teen drinking consisted of boys having some beer at a shalom zachar.

Then times changed.

Today Orthodox teens and young adults drink. Even otherwise staid young men and women with excellent reputations develop drinking problems. Alcoholism does not differentiate between shtiebel and Young Israel, Bais Yaakov/cheder or day school.

Sometimes a shul’s Kiddush Club may be the cause of that first drink. Despite the efforts of rabbis and ba’alei batim to eradicate these clubs, many still exist. And in shuls where they do not exist, a regular Kiddush or a Purim still serve as an easy source for that first drink.

I remember when Purim was the excuse for ordinarily sober people to over-imbibe. Each year on Purim, in my grandparents’ building, one or two inebriated chassidim would ride an elevator floor to floor wishing everyone they met “simchas Purim.”

When I attended mesivta, one or two talmidim got drunk each Purim; usually they became so ill there was never a repeat performance. Today, some yeshivas no longer have a Purim chagiga and some have had to hire security to prevent drinking – especially underage drinking. At Shabbatonim, where there is responsible supervision, teens still drink. Unless each suitcase is inspected, no Shabbaton is safe.

Parents must supervise their children when liquor is served at a simcha. Yeshivos should not serve liquor on Purim or Simchas Torah.

Parents must also set proper examples for their children. While “ein simcha elah b’basar v’yayin, (there is no simcha absent meat and wine), I don’t believe there is a source requiring a person to get drunk and sample every brand of single malt scotch at a Kiddush.

The very nature of Kiddush is to make the day holy. Drunkenness, even on Purim, when sleep can fulfill the obligation to be unable to differentiate between Haman and Mordechai, does nothing to sanctify the day.

At weddings, a person is likely to see young men and women with several ounces of Scotch in a glass. They may not have a designated driver for travel after the simcha, even if they have children waiting for them at home.

When my wife and I planned our children’s weddings, our mechutanim agreed with usto limit the liquor. We placed a bottle of wine at each table. The video shows no lack of simcha. None of my guests even asked why we did not have an open bar during the entirety of our simchos.

In response to this problem, some shuls have shut down their Kiddush Clubs, restricted access to liquor at shul events – and even outlawed liquor altogether on their premises. Parents must take responsibility as well. They need to be responsible drinkers themselves. They also need to discuss drinking with their children before they permit them to attend a Shabbaton or a simcha. Before Purim every parent is obliged to take steps to ensure that his or her child will spend the chag in a safe environment.

Parents must become aware of the dangers that lurk behind what passes for convivial, social drinking. Too many l’chaims can turn dangerous.

Megillas Esther begins with the participation of the Jews at the all-you-can drink party of Achashveirosh. As a result of that party, Haman came to power. Haman’s decree affected people of all ages. It took v’nahafoch hu to save them. Teen drinking on Purim can only commemorate the party that caused all the problems to begin with.

Do we really want to give Haman the last laugh?

About the Author: Shlomo Z. Mostofsky is a civil court judge in Brooklyn. He served as president of the National Council of Young Israel between 2000 and 2011.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Let’s Not Give Haman The Last Laugh”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Posted to Twitter in Ferguson, MO by St. Louis County Police: "Bricks thrown at police, 2 police cars burned, gun seized by police. Tonight was disappointing."  Their motto is, "To protect and serve."
Prosecutor in Ferguson Case: ‘Witnesses Lied Under Oath’
Latest Indepth Stories
The annual  Chabad menorah lighting in Sydney has been called off this year because of the murders in the Lindt cafe.

The decision to not publicly light the Menorah in Sydney, epitomizes the eternal dilemma of Judaism and Jews in the Diaspora.

Greiff-112814-Men

Am Yisrael is one family, filled with excruciating pain&sorrow for losing the 4 kedoshim of Har Nof

Two dreidels from the author’s extensive collection.

What is its message of the dreidel?” The complexity and hidden nature of history and miracles.

Keeping-Jerusalem

Police play down Arab terrorism as mere “violence” until the truth can no longer be hidden.

The 7 branches of the menorah represent the 7 pillars of secular wisdom, knowledge, and science.

Obama obtained NO verifiable commitments from Cuba it would desist from acts prejudicial to the US

No one would deny that the program subjected detainees to less than pleasant treatment, but the salient point is, for what purpose?

For the past six years President Obama has consistently deplored all Palestinian efforts to end-run negotiations in search of a UN-imposed agreement on Israel.

It’s not an admiration. It is simply a kind of journalist fascination. It stands out, it’s different from more traditional Orthodoxy.

For Am Yisrael, the sun’s movements are subservient to the purpose of our existence.

Israelis now know Arab terrorism isn’t caused by Israeli occupation but by ending Israeli occupation

Anti-Semitism is a social toxin that destroys the things that people most cherish and enjoy.

Amb. Cooper highlighted the impact of the Chanukah/Maccabee spirit on America’s Founding Fathers

Zealousness has its place and time in Judaism; Thank G-d for heroic actions of the Maccabees!

More Articles from Shlomo Z. Mostofsky
Mostofsky-100314

if her son remained non-responsive she would place honey on his lips on Rosh Hashanah so that he might realize it was the chag.

At a minimum, every child in our yeshivas needs to be taught how important it is, to the Jewish people and Israel, to utilize their right to vote and to cast an informed vote in every local, state and national election.

Purim is the “topsy-turvy” day of the Jewish calendar – the day of v’nahafoch hu. Boys and girls wear costumes, and we expect children to make noise in shul. It is a festive and happy day. But Purim may also be the day a Jewish boy or girl takes his or her first drink and the first step toward alcohol abuse.

On the 25th day of Kislev we will celebrate Chanukah. On the 4th day of Kislev Jonathan Pollard celebrated the start of his 25th year in prison.

The Orthodox Jewish wedding season commences each year after Lag B’Omer and again after Tisha B’Av. In the weeks prior to those dates we watch the mail for the wedding invitations we receive – and notice the ones we do not. Sometimes we receive invitations to weddings and cannot figure out why we were invited; other times we wonder why a friend or acquaintance has not invited us to a simcha.

Everyone knows the story. Moshiach finally arrives and goes from shul to shul telling the Jews it’s time to go home to Eretz Yisrael. But wherever Moshiach goes he is rejected because of his dress, his yarmulke, his hat or his accent. Eventually, in frustration, he simply leaves.

Assemblyman Dov Hikind deserves credit for his attempt to deal with the issue of abuse in the Orthodox community – a community where people still refer to cancer as “yener machlah” (that disease); where mental illnesses (even those that are not genetic, such as postpartum depression) are rarely spoken of publicly; and where some parents are still afraid to have their sons and daughters tested and registered with Dor Yeshorim even though doing so might prevent a marriage resulting in children with genetic diseases.

On the day French President Nicolas Sarkozy told members of the Israeli Knesset that Jerusalem had to be divided, an Orthodox Jewish teenager was in intensive care in a Paris hospital after he was beaten by an anti-Semitic mob. I found it ironic that a man who is unable to protect the Jews of his own country has the gall to tell Israel’s leaders how best to conduct their internal and external foreign policy.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/lets-not-give-haman-the-last-laugh/2010/02/24/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: