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Posts Tagged ‘Kol Bo’

Drinking on Purim: Holy or Wholly Irresponsible?

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Jewish Tradition has always stressed moderation, restraint, and personal responsibility. This is true even when we celebrate. In Hilchot Yom Tov (6:20), Rambam warns:

“When one eats, drinks and rejoices on a festival, he should not drink too much wine or engage in levity or lightheadedness and say, ‘all who add to this are increasing the mitzvah of simchah.’ For drunkenness, excessive laughter, and lightheadedness is not simchah, but rather debauchery and foolishness…” Yet the Gemara (Megillah 7b) records: “Rava said, ‘One is obligated to get drunk on Purim until he does not know the difference between cursed is Haman and blessed is Mordechai.’” Drinking on Purim is accepted by the Rif and Rosh and codified by the Tur and Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 695).

It’s hard to imagine how drunkenness, which Judaism abhors the entire year, is considered an “obligation” on Purim. The author of Kol Bo struggles with this very question and writes:

“One is obligated to drink on Purim – not to the point of drunkenness. Drunkenness is completely prohibited and there is no greater offense than it, for it leads to adultery, murder, and the like. Rather, one should drink more than he is accustomed to in order to increase his joy and make happy the poor and console them, speak to their hearts – for that is true joy.”

‘Cursed is Haman’ and ‘Blessed is Mordechai’

Concerning drinking on Purim, Rambam writes that one should drink until he falls asleep (Hilchot Megillah 2:15). Once asleep, one cannot differentiate between ‘cursed is Haman’ and ‘blessed is Mordechai.’ Tosafot writes that one should drink until he cannot recite the phrase, based on the Talmud Yerushalmi, “Cursed is Haman, blessed is Mordechai, cursed is Zeresh, blessed is Esther, cursed are all the wicked, blessed are all the Jews.” Some explain that the requirement is to drink until one can no longer answer the proper refrain to a poem that was once customarily recited on Purim (Abudraham, Purim and Darchei Moshe, Orach Chayim 695:1, citing Sefer HaMinhagim of Rabbi Yitzchak Isaac of Tirna). Others rule that the Gemara only requires one to drink to the point that he can no longer calculate the gemmatria of ‘cursed is Haman’ and ‘blessed is Mordechai, which share an equal numerical value (Rabbeinu Yerucham, Toldot Adam V’Chavah, Netiv 10, Chelek 1; Abudraham, Purim; Maharil, Minhagim, Hilchot Purim 10, citing Mahari Segel; Sefer HaAgudah 1:7; Bach, Orach Chayim 695; Magen Avraham, Orach Chayim 695:3).

A moderate approach is taken by Rema (Orach Chayim 695:2), who synthesizes the positions of the Kol Bo, Rambam, and Maharil, and writes:

“There are those who say that one need not drink too much, rather drink more than he is accustomed and sleep. Through sleep one does not know the difference between ‘cursed is Haman’ and ‘blessed is Mordechai.’ One might increase, another might minimize – as long as the intent of their heart is [for the sake] of Heaven.”

Rabbah and Rabbi Zeira

Strikingly, immediately after Rava’s instructions to drink, the Gemara (Megillah 7b) offers the following anecdote:

“Rabbah and Rabbi Zeira made the Purim feast together. They got drunk. Rabbah arose and slaughtered Rabbi Zeira. The next day, he prayed for mercy and revived him. The following year he [Rabbah] said, ‘let’s make the Purim meal together again.’ He [Rabbi Zeira] answered, ‘not every moment does a miracle occur.’”

Some suggest that the Gemara cites this anecdote in order to illustrate the point that the halacha is not in accordance with Rava, and one should not get drunk. The story, in a sense, serves as a warning. One of the Tosafists, Rabbeinu Ephraim, as cited by the Ba’al HaMaor, concludes:

“Rabbah said, ‘One should drink on Purim, etc.’ Rabbeinu Ephraim wrote that from the account of ‘Rabbah arose and slaughtered Rabbi Zeira,’ this comes to nullify the statement of Rabbah. The halacha is not like him and it is not good to do so [i.e. get drunk] (HaMaor Hakatan in the pages of the Rif, Megillah 3b).”

How ironic, that in his girsa of the Gemara, it is Rabbah who both teaches the obligation to get drunk and who slaughtered Rabbi Zeira! This certainly serves to amplify Rabbeinu Ephraim’s position.

Yet other poskim deduce the opposite from the Gemara’s use of this anecdote. They see the story of Rabbah and Rabbi Zeira as a proof positive of the obligation to become intoxicated (Sefer HaEshkol, Auerbach Edition, Hilchot Chanukah V’Purim; Pri Chadash, Orach Chayim 695:2).

Why Drink?

According to Rashi, the obligation is to get drunk on wine. Abudraham and Chayei Adam explain that drinking wine reminds us that the miracle of Purim was carried out through wine. Feasting and drunkenness is a major theme in Megillat Esther and it allowed the easily pliable Ahashverosh to be manipulated. Drinking allows us to express our joy and gratitude to Hashem for His salvation (Magen David, Orach Chayim 695:1).

Q & A: Hachana (Part IV)

Friday, July 11th, 2003

QUESTION: Is it halachically permissible to pack on the Sabbath or Yom Tov for a trip to be taken on the next day?

Moishe Halberstam, Esq.

ANSWER: We began our discussion with the general premise that it is preferable not to pack on Shabbat or a holiday in preparation of a trip to be taken on a subsequently, on a weekday.
Some halachic authorities prohibit doing so. This activity would be categorized as hachana or preparation on Shabbat or a holiday for a need after Shabbat or the holiday, which is prohibited. Items not intended for use on the same day (Shabbat or a holiday) are considered muktzeh, a biblically-based concept (Exodus 16:5, Beitza 2b), the Torah’s frame of reference being food preparation.

In order to be able to prepare food on one day of a holiday for the next day of that holiday or for a Shabbat that immediately follows it, an eruv tavshilin (two types of food set aside as preparation of a meal) is prepared, the reasoning being that food is prepared for that same day and it is the leftovers that are used on the following day. With this reasoning, the prohibition of hachana is avoided in the preparation of food. Though the Torah refers to food only, other
types of preparation are included as well.

We also focused on the issues of hachana as they relate to garments and beds. Garments may be folded after being worn if they will be worn again on Shabbat; if they are folded by just one
person; are new and not laundered yet; are white, and if the person has no other garment to wear. Beds may be made up on Friday night for the Shabbat day, but not on Shabbat in preparation for Saturday night. However, should the unmade bed provide embarrassment (i.e., it is in a room where one will receive guests), the bed may be made, as this is now a need for Shabbat itself. A comment by Mishna Berura (Orach Chayyim 302:3-18) indicates that not to fold at all (on Shabbat or a holiday) is a praiseworthy stringency.

Please Note: Last week’s installment of our discussion should have followed this week’s but was inadvertently printed a week early. We apologize for any confusion this might have caused.

* * *

The Machatzit Hashekel (Orach Chayyim 302) cites Eliyahu Rabbah in the name of the Kol Bo, who explains that all the conditions regarding folding are required precisely because such
folding has no lasting effect nor does it fulfill a need. If he has another garment to wear, albeit not as nice, the Acharonim all agreed that in that event it is prohibited to fold. However, when R. Yosef Caro’s remark, permitting folding if ‘he folds it in a manner different from its original folding,’ is accepted by everyone.

The Magen Avraham (Hilchot Tzitzit), however, as we noted, is strict regarding Shabbat, opining that we do not fold at all [and in all fairness, the Magen Avraham is consistent since he does not cite here the Mechaber's lenient view in regard to folding that is not done following the original folding creases].

The Machatzit Hashekel suggests that since there are those who are more strict, and since the Mechaber himself cited this stricter view at the outset, and only concluded with a lenient position, according to which he ruled, the Magen Avraham therefore added in Hilchot Tzitzit that one who takes his friend’s tallit on Shabbat need not fold it because even though it will sustain a small loss (the creases), we apply here the rule that it is accepted that one is content when his fellow fulfills a mitzva with his possessions.

The Aruch HaShulchan (O.Ch. 302:10-12) cites the Rambam (Hilchot Shabbat 22:22): ‘An individual may not fix [press] sleeves of clothes and set the creases in the manner of repair done during the week when one washes them; likewise, one does not fold clothing on Shabbat in the same manner that one does on weekdays when one washes them. However, if one has no other garment to wear, one may fold it and straighten it out and then wear it in order that he derive pleasure from it on Shabbat. But it must be a new, white garment because in such a case it gets creased and soiled quickly, and when he folds it he should do so alone, without
the assistance of a second person as that is forbidden.’

The Aruch HaShulchan explains that we see from Rambam’s words that he would forbid this act because of tikkun (repair). And such is the case only when it involves the sort of tikkun that is considered ma’aseh umman – professional work. Rambam rules likewise (Hilchot Shabbat 23:7) regarding making beds on Shabbat - also because of tikkun.

The Ravad (O.Ch. 23:7) disagrees, and rules that the reason for forbidding making the beds [in preparation] for Motza’ei Shabbat is tircha (painstaking labor).

The Aruch HaShulchan then goes on to explain the difference between these two reasons – tircha and tikkun. According to Rambam, who doesn’t consider tircha a prohibited activity, it
would thus be permitted to fold our clothing in a simple manner where there is no tikkun to the garment, even [though its next use will be] for a weekday.

The Ravad, however, would forbid such ‘preparation’ from Shabbat to weekday because it engenders tircha.

The Aruch HaShulchan comments that according to Ravad the folding of clothing for weekdays would be prohibited if it engenders tircha even though it would not cause tikkun. And he cites as proof to that view the Tosafot (Shabbos 113a) which we quoted at the outset: ‘From here we derive that it is forbidden to fold tallitot of the synagogue [on Shabbat, at the conclusion of the tefilla] because their being folded is a need for tomorrow.’

The Aruch HaShulchan clarifies [Tosafot] as regards a tallit according to what we now understand. There is no possibility of tikkun keli (repairing the garment) resulting from the manner we fold it but it is rather a problem of tircha.

And he adds: But to throw the garment (the tallit) without folding it at all is not proper accepted behavior, and thus the reason for the prohibition [according to Tosafot and Ravad] is a specific meticulous type of folding, but our folding, which is not really perfect, even he [Raavad] would agree to permit.

He then cites the Mordechai who quotes an early source that confirms that if one folds, but not in the normal manner, even where there is no further need for that item, such as a tallit after
the synagogue prayer service, one would be allowed – even according to Tosafot and Ravad – since it entails no tircha.

However, the overwhelming view - Rashi, Rambam, Tur, R. Yosef Caro, the Kol Bo - is that tircha is not a concern, but rather tikkun - and when we fold not in the original manner, there is no tikkun.

The Aruch HaShulchan states that based on this view ‘many today fold their tallitot [on Shabbat].’

The Aruch HaShulchan also points out the curious absence of hatza’at hamitot (making the beds) from the Mechaber’s ruling.

Indeed, the Aruch HaShulchan clearly considers hatza’at hamitot and kippul (folding) to be one and the same. And he notes, as we quoted, ‘to throw the garment (the tallit) without folding it at all is not proper accepted behavior.’ Just imagine what our synagogues would look like after the prayer service for the rest of the day if we were not to neatly fold our tallitot and put them away. (The same applies to putting away siddurim, chumashim and other sefarim.)

Surely this is the same reasoning to permit making the beds on Shabbat. As the Chayyei Addam states (Klal 60), we [do] make the beds for the need of beautifying the house, but not for the need of Motza’ei Shabbat. As we noted earlier, our beds are usually in rooms that we use and see in the course of Shabbat. Thus we would permit their being made on Shabbat, even though their next use will be on Motza’ei Shabbat.

(To be continued) 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/torah/q-a-hachana-part-iv/2003/07/11/

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