Pinking on Drurim

August 21, 2011 | by

If it is so good to get drunk on Purim, why not do it all the time?

The Aish Rabbi Replies

In the days of Mordechai and Esther, the Jews went from being the target of annihilation, to being the heroes and victors. It was a miraculous 180-degree shift in fortune. We learn from here that even though it may be hard to see God in the world, even when things look really bad, in some way it has to be for the best. Because there is a beneficent God behind everything, manipulating events for our good.

So what does this all have to do with drinking?

When we drink, we loosen our reliance on physical senses - and our souls are freer to transcend limitations and feel the Oneness of God and the universe. We see that everything is part of God's "grand eternal plan" - where ultimately Haman is punished and Mordechai is rewarded. There is indeed ultimate justice.

That's why the Talmud (Megillah 7a) says that "A person should drink on Purim until the point where they can't tell the difference between "Blessed is Mordechai" and "Cursed is Haman." We drink to the point where we can't intelligently debate which aspect of God's revelation is greater. Because in truth, it's all the same.

On Purim, we wear costumes and perform skits - mocking our hang-ups, idiosyncrasies, and worries. We attack the source of our debilitating anxiety - and laugh about how silly it really is!

So why don't we drink all the time? Because while alcohol can help a Jew lose inhibitions and get closer to God, this is only the beginning. Performance of mitzvahs require a clear mind and steady hand. On Purim, we try to jump-start a process which will carry us through the rest of the year.

By the way, on Purim one should not become so drunk that he will be negligent in performing mitzvahs, since it is improper to pray if one is "unfit to stand before the King."

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