web analytics
July 4, 2015 / 17 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Purim is a Good Time to Speak with Your Teens about Alcohol Abuse

Desert Trance Party by Settlers

Photo Credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90

Purim is a meaningful celebration for the Jewish people, when we gather to remember the events of the Mordechai and Esther story at Shushan HaBira in Persia many years ago. It was after the destruction of the first Temple that the Jewish people spread out in the diaspora throughout the kingdom of the Achashverosh, who ruled over 127 provinces from India to Ethiopia. His evil antisemitic minister, Haman, plotted to wipe out the entire Jewish people. In the book of Esther, we read of the miraculous chain of events and the heroism of Mordechai and Esther, who put aside their own personal safety and concerns and acted to overturn the terrible decree.

Our great sages, the rabbis of the Talmud, determined that these events would be marked on the Jewish calendar as a holiday to celebrate the salvation of the Jewish people throughout the ages. Halacha, the code of Jewish law by which we learn to observe the details of the Mitzvot, requirements of our faith, lists four deeds that the holiday mandates for each Jewish individual on Purim.

The four Mitzvot are: Megillah, Mishloach Manot, Matanot L’Evyonim and a Festive Meal. Megillah is the book of Esther, written on a scroll of parchment which is read twice, first after the evening prayers and then again after the morning prayers on the day of Purim. Mishloach Manot means sending food to two friends, and Matanot L’Evyonim is giving charity to two needy people. After we have fulfilled these three Mitzvot, we can sit down with our family and friends and rejoice in the fourth Mitzvah, which is a festive meal in honor of the day.

Additional customs have developed around the above-detailed four requirements of the day. These customs, although commonly practiced, are extra and not mandatory. They surely do not override other requirements of the Torah or Mitzvot of the day of Purim.

Making noise to rub out the name of evil Haman is a custom. Some bring special noise makers (“rashanim,” in Hebrew) to the synagogue to be used when the reader of the book of Esther mentions Haman’s name in the reading of the Megillah. In some communities, youth might light off fire-crackers. Going overboard with this could be dangerous, and it is definitely annoying to the nearby congregants. Either way, taking a risk of hurting others and causing damage could not be considered a Mitzvah, even if done with intent to add to the celebration of the holiday.

Wearing costumes, funny hats and makeup is a custom to express the fun mode of the day, but it is not a requirement of the day. If it makes you happy, go ahead and enjoy dressing up.

As mentioned above, a festive meal is a Mitzvah of the day of Purim. Drinking alcohol is allowed, and within the limits of good taste, can increase the good mood of the day. Some believe in becoming as drunk as Abraham’s nephew Lot. Most rabbinical sources explain that we are not to degrade ourselves by drinking like fools. Rather, we can drink in good spirits to a level of happiness and rejoice in the name of HaShem.

Purim is a good opportunity to speak with our teenagers about the dangers of alcohol and substance abuse. We can use this day and misconceptions that have developed around its Mitzvot and customs as conversation starters, and we can set a personal example of responsible use by not letting things get out of hand.

Purim Sameach!

About the Author: As a child David Ha'ivri made Aliya with his family from the US in 1978. Married, with 8 children, he lives in a small town in Samaria. He is the director of public diplomacy and communications for the Shomron Liaison Office. He works with GatherIsrael.com to promote Aliyah. He is social media master and strategic consultant. Follow David Ha'ivri's daily activity on Twitter @haivri.


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 “Purim is a Good Time to Speak with Your Teens about Alcohol Abuse”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with Prime Minister Netanyahu in 2012.
Hillary Clinton Says She Will Be Better Friend than Obama to Israel
Latest Indepth Stories
Jelgava Synagogue, Latvia

Latvia, July 4, 1941 they forced many Jews in the shul putting it on fire; everyone was burned alive

United Nations Building, New York City

There’s blood on the reporters’ hands AND New Israel Fund for funding groups feeding lies to the UN

Zuckerman-070315

Respect & appreciation for our country is not only a civic value but an essential Jewish one as well

wedding cake

When words lose meaning, the world becomes an Orwellian dystopia; a veritable Tower of Babel

Israel, like the non-radical Islamic world. will be happy see the ISIS beheaded for once.

Kids shouldn’t have “uninstructed” Internet access, better to train them how to use it responsibly

What if years from now, IS were to control substantial territory? What world havoc would that wreak?

Rambam writes the verse’s double term refers to 2 messiahs: first King David; 2nd the final Mashiach

The Gaza flotilla has been rightfully and legally blocked by Israel’s Navy, with greetings from Bibi

The president described the attack as “an act that drew on a long history of bombs and arson and shots fired at churches, not random, but as a means of control, a way to terrorize and oppress…”

“The only [candidate] that’s going to give real support to Israel is me,” said the 69-year-old Trump.

And whereas at the outset the plan was that Iran would have to surrender most of its centrifuges, it will now be able to retain several thousand.

Now oil independent, US no longer needs its former strategic alliances with Gulf States-or Israel

In addition to the palace’s tremendous size it was home to the “hanging gardens,” which were counted among the seven wonders of the ancient world.

More Articles from David Ha'ivri
öéìåí ùùåï úéøí 0524203780

Your children will look back and thank you for moving them to Israel now.

A settler tending to his vineyard in the settlement of Bat Ayin. European anti-settlement activists are pushing to curtail the sale of products from Judea and Samaria.

Community is one of the factors that has brought many people, including Olim, to come to live in the small towns of Judea and Samaria.

A new blog about Aliya and living in the land of Israel.

Many people would rather be ignorant of the truth than change their views and biases.

Purim is a good opportunity to speak with our teenagers about the dangers of alcohol and substance abuse.

Arabs steal olives from Jewish-owned grove, then destroy trees. Victim
asks why the media makes Jews the villain.

David Ha’ivri, director of the Shomron Liaison Office, responds to a Jewishpress.com story about Jewish groups that expressed concern over Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s efforts to uncover the relationship between Huma Abedin, top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and leading figures in the Muslim Brotherhood.

A few years ago, I happened to be in Los Angeles for the fast of Tisha B’Av. Towards the end of the fast, between afternoon and evening prayers, the rabbi of the shul asked if I could say a few words to the congregation to explain the significance of the holy day and the fast.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/purim-is-a-good-time-to-speak-with-your-teens-about-alcohol-abuse/2013/02/23/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: