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Purim, and The Search for Yossi - Part 1 -- Published 3/03 -- "A"
by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

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11/10/06
Grandparents: Here is an idea. In response to my column on drinking and Purim, a woman contacted my wife yesterday and informed her that one week before Purim she mails each of her teenage grandchildren a $100- ‘Purim-gelt’ check made out to their name. Along with the check comes a contract with a code of responsible behavior for Purim. In order to cash the check, they must call her after Purim and inform her that they adhered to the terms of the contract. ……………… Looking to adopt a grandmother for your kids????

Best Wishes for Simchas Purim

YH

"The more often and earlier a child smokes, drinks and
uses marijuana, the likelier that child is to use harder
drugs like cocaine and heroin."

"It's all about children. A child who gets through age 21 without smoking, using illegal drugs or abusing alcohol is virtually certain never to do so."
"Teens who smoke cigarettes are 12 times likelier to use marijuana and more than 19 times likelier to use cocaine".
- Joseph A. Califano, Jr., CASA Chairman and President


I like Joseph Califano - although I never met him. I admire his dedication, his courage, and his brutal confrontation of the facts on the ground.
He heads The Center for Alcohol and Substance Abuse (www.casacolumbia.org), which has dedicated itself to the prevention of substance abuse and its horrific consequences. The ubiquitous, "Parents; the Anti-Drug" ads are a direct result of the research and public advocacy of CASA, under the leadership of Joseph Califano.

Please take a moment and read the mission statement of The Center. Then read it again. And, during this Purim season, as hundreds, perhaps thousands, of our precious children are being introduced for the first time - under the guise of one of our most joyous yomim tovim, and under the direction of adults who should be modeling more responsible behavior - to the deadly scourge of cigarettes and alcohol that bring addiction and death to our children; ask yourself, "Where is Yossi Califano???" Where is the Jewish leader who will step forward, call a spade a spade and address this issue? Who will break through the denial and apathy and stop this insanity of the exponential growth of smoking and drinking among our dear children?


Mission Statement of The Center for Alcohol and Substance Abuse

  • Inform Americans of the economic and social costs of substance abuse and its impact on their lives.
  • Assess what works in prevention, treatment, and law enforcement.
  • Encourage every individual and institution to take responsibility to combat substance abuse and addiction.
  • Provide those on the front lines with the tools they need to succeed.
  • Remove the stigma of abuse and replace shame and despair with hope.


FIND AND REPLACE

Microsoft Word has some pretty amazing features, many of which we now take for granted. One of them is 'find and replace'. You select a word in a document, and order the computer to replace all of those words with a different word that you select.

I think that the time has come for us to write our own mission statement - or hire our Yossi Califano to write it for us.

We can, however, get started on our own, thanks to Bill Gates and Microsoft. Let's replace Americans with Jews, and institutions with shuls and yeshivos, then add a few words. Here is a rough draft.


Mission Statement of The Jewish Center for Alcohol and Substance Abuse

  • Inform Jews of the economic and social costs of substance abuse and its impact on their lives.
  • Assess what works in prevention, treatment, and law enforcement.
  • Encourage every individual, ba'al simcha, shul and yeshiva to take responsibility to combat substance abuse and addiction.
  • Provide those on the front lines with the tools they need to succeed.
  • Remove the stigma of abuse and fear of ruined shidduchim
  • Replace denial, shame and despair with hope.

EIFOH YOSSI???

Truth be told, we do have Yossi Califanos in our Orthodox world. They have been speaking to us. We just have not been listening.

Their names are Rabbi Abraham Twersky, s'hlita, one of the most visionary and courageous people of our times, David Mandel, CEO of Ohel, Dr. Bentzion Twerski, among others. For years, (and in the case of Rabbi Abraham Twerski, decades), they have been acting as the prophets of our times - standing in the village squares and begging us to listen to them. It is high time that we do.

PURIM AND HALACHA

As for the ramifications of Purim and the concept 'ad d'lo yoda':

From a standpoint of halacha and minhagim, there is absolutely no basis for smoking of any kind as it relates to Purim.

As far as alcohol consumption is concerned; I am not a posek, so I will not offer my thoughts as to the mitzvas hayom of ad d'lo yoda. I am also aware of the various minhagim among our diverse klal, and the importance of maintaining our minhagim.
I would however, encourage each of my readers to ask their Rov for guidance and direction on this matter - just as they would ask any other halachic question. And when we do ask the question, let us ask:

  • Should we be drinking?
  • How much?
  • How about our children? At what age should they be drinking?
  • Is there another way to fulfill the obligation of ad d'lo yada

Regardless of your thoughts on the 'Indian shaitel' issue that surfaced a while ago, it was inspiring to see thousands of women humbly following the Da'as Torah of their Rabbonim. Now it is time for the men to step forward and ask our rabbonim and gedolim how Purim should be conducted according to the letter - and spirit (pun intended) of our Torah.

© 2007 Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, all rights reserved

SOME FACTS ON TEEN DRUG ABUSE (taken from the research of CASA)


  • Alcohol is far and away the top drug of abuse by America's teens.
  • Children under the age of 21 drink 19.7 percent of the alcohol consumed in the U.S.
  • Teenagers who drink are seven times likelier to engage in promiscuous activity
  • Preliminary studies have shown that alcohol damages young minds, limiting mental and social development.
  • High schoolers who drink are five times likelier to drop out of school.
  • Teens who experiment with alcohol are virtually certain to continue using it. Among high school students who have ever tried alcohol--even once--91.3 percent are still drinking in twelfth grade.
  • Teen drinking is the number one source of adult alcoholism. Children who begin drinking before age 21 are more than twice as likely to develop alcohol-related problems. Those who begin drinking before age 15 are four times likelier to become alcoholics than those who do not drink before age 21.
  • Parents tend to see drinking and occasional bingeing as a rite of passage, rather than a deadly round of Russian roulette.
  • Alcohol damages the young brain, interferes with mental and social development and interrupts academic progress.
  • The earlier young people drink and the more they drink, the more likely they are to become alcohol dependent and move on to other drugs.
  • Teens who smoke nicotine cigarettes are 14 times likelier to try marijuana
  • Among teens who are repeat marijuana users, 60 percent tried cigarettes first. The findings indicate that reducing teen smoking can be a singularly effective way to reduce teen marijuana use.


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Related Articles:
Purim, and The Search for Yossi - Part 2 -- Published 3/03 -- "A


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1. sadly true     1/2/07 - 12:48 PM
Anonymous

My husband started drug use as a teen. After several years "clean" he relapsed, ruining the shidduchim for my kids, and ruining the education of several younger children. Unfortunately drug abuse exists, and it can not be ignored. I have heard of "frum" people pushing drugs. If so, I can not believe that they have any olam haba after ruining the spiritual base of our family. Now my husband is "clean" again, but the damage done is not repairable.


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2. Smoking and Alcohol     2/28/07 - 5:02 PM
Anonymous

Dear Rabbi Horowitz, Shlit"a

Your message is very much accepted, and the bottom line of Purim being misused is most definitely true. However, my opinion and so the opinion of many of my acquaintances and friends, is that the root of the smoking dilemma is NOT purim. It is the Yeshiva System. I do not believe that anyone who has smoked on Purim will become a smoker unless the Yeshiva System lends to the building of this habit. Purim is merely an opening to that first cigarette, which either way is bound to happen sooner than later. The objective should not be to target the occasion which open's the door, rather the system that allows and condones the continuation and the building of the habit. Not that smoking on Purim has any place what so ever in Simchas Purim, and not that smoking on Purim is any less then pure Hefkerus. But targeting Purim, is comparable to removing the stick from the child's hand, who will just lean down to pick up another.

As far as alcohol is concerned, I am unfortunately not well enough informed as per the statistics of where and how the habit is formed. However, it's hard to believe that a child will take to alcohol, purely based on the Purim experience. In fact, if his father is a healthy stable Ben Torah, it should stand out in the child's eyes that he only sees his father over-drinking that one day a year. Obviously this is not a rule which includes everyone, but for those in this category it would seem to make sense. Please correct me if I'm wrong. Wishing you a Happy Purim. With Much Respect, MB


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3. and Food?     2/28/07 - 5:57 PM
M

How about including food under "substance abuse"? This also fits well in a Purim article since Purim is a time when adults and children pig out as though one of the mitzvos ha'yom is "thou shalt eat and eat and eat until you feel sick."

Do you associate Purim with the tremendous problem of obesity and eating disorders in frum communities? Seems you don't. I wonder why.

Do you see what is going on in frum supermarkets - the utter garbage that is on sale for Purim consumption? I refer to items that consist of sugar/dextrose and food coloring as the main ingredients with hydrogentated fat as a bonus. And like alcohol and cigarettes, this garbage-nosh is consumed year round. It is not reserved for Shabbos parties anymore but is brought for recess and eaten any old time.

Eifoh Yossi indeed.

Why do frum supermarkets consist of entire aisles of cookies, of candy cereals, of hydrogenated chips, entire freezers full of ice cream and ices, the pareve type full of chemicals?

Why do we keep on reading ads for yet another new nosherai, yet another restaurant (glatt kosher/chalav Yisrael, pas Yisrael, veggies checked, mashgiach temidi etc. of course)?

Then we get to read about diabetes, anorexia and bulemia and sundry other eating disorders in our frum publications. Seems (according to an article in Mishpacha's Family First) that gastric bypass and the "band" are the newest secret in the frum world. For those not yet in the know, weight-loss surgery - yes, going under the knife because of fat - is the latest fad. It's mamosh gevaldig. With the band, you have the dr. adjust it erev Yom Tov so you can eat more and after Yom Tov it's made smaller again.

Obesity is linked with all sorts of machalos, yet one out of fifty people die from gastric bypass. The lap band has its risks too.

How about encouraging your readers to ask their Rov for guidance and direction on the matter of eating (I suppose it would not be a great idea to consult with an overweight rav!)?

Should we be eating as much and as unhealthfully as we do now?

How much is enough?

How about our children? At what age should they be allowed free access to nosh? What kind of nosh is acceptable on weekdays, what kind on Shabbos, and what kind is never good to have?

Is there another way to fulfill the obligation of seudos on Shabbos and Yom Tov and simchos other than fressing?

How about eating out in restaurants and fast food places?

How much exercise should we be doing?

Where does eating l'sheim shomayim fit in or is that only for tzaddikim of yesteryear?

Now isn't it time for all of us to step forward and ask our rabbonim and gedolim how our eating should be conducted according to the letter - and spirit of our Torah?


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4. M is right     2/28/07 - 7:37 PM
Goldy

M...Your words are excellent! Parents have to take more notice of what their children are eating, and not give them all that garbage that passes for food. If we consumers will stop buying that junk food, then the manufacturers will have to find other products to sell. The rule of supply and demand! (Obviously, parents should take heed of what they are eating, too!)


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5. Not Only Purim Problem     2/28/07 - 7:54 PM
Bob Miller

Drinking alcoholic beverages to excess on Simchas Torah, which has no halachic basis whatsoever, has also become a widespread problem for young and old. Those guilty of using clever excuses to get wasted (a really apt term!) beyond the call of duty on Purim have no shred of justification on Simchas Torah.


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6. Pontius Pilate?     2/28/07 - 7:59 PM
Anonymous

The reference to Pontius Pilate in "SOME FACTS ON TEEN DRUG ABUSE (taken from the research of CASA)" should be deleted in this posting, for obvious reasons.


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7. gateway drug or escape?     3/1/07 - 11:30 AM
Anonymous

Years ago, my husband approached R' A. Twerski and said: It didn't workk that way with us. When yeshiva boys smoked in the 70's into the 80's (and in decades earlier), it was an escape and it absolutely did not lead to drugs. Now that you are campaigning to put smoking in the same category as drugs, and are promoting the idea that smoking is a gateway drug, look what's happening - yeshiva kids are using drugs!

I recently read a printed letter from the Lubavitcher Rebbe to someone about smoking where the Rebbe makes the same point. The Rebbe says:

"In recent years there has been a further consideration [not to issue an issur against smoking], namely, that the prohibition of cigarette smoking, and placing it on a par with smoking marijuana, would increase the incidence of drug abuse and drug addition, since it is believed that cigarette smoking, especially among young people, provides a certain "escape," and to some degree a substitute for drug abuse so prevalent among their peers."

food for thought ... (or as the old expression went, "put that in your pipe and smoke it!")


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8. Poskim?     3/1/07 - 1:31 PM
Anonymous

At first Rabbi Horowitz says the following:

"As far as alcohol consumption is concerned; I am not a posek, so I will not offer my thoughts as to the mitzvas hayom of ad d'lo yoda. I am also aware of the various minhagim among our diverse klal, and the importance of maintaining our minhagim. I would however, encourage each of my readers to ask their Rov for guidance and direction on this matter - just as they would ask any other halachic question."

Yet the next quote says:

"I proudly affix my signature -- strongly indicating my agreement with and support to his letter below."

The letter goes on to clearly take a position on the Halacha of drinking. "overriding the rulings of the Baal Hatanya and the Chafetz Chaim by drinking to intoxication is inexcusable."

Now, is Rabbi Horowitz a Posek or Not. Obviously he chooses to Pasken, Yet is uninterested in negative feedback, which is fine. BUT STICK TO YOUR GUNS. Either label yourself as a Posek or Don't.

With regard to the actual Halachic rulings discussed, it is very clear that many NON Poskim are choosing a position where they don't belong. Why is it that you and I don't give a medical ruling? Because we are NOT qualified to do so.

Articles signed by doctors who are quoting Halachic sources to back up their positions - "It is Not a Mitzvah to Get Drunk on Purim!" or "the Chafetz Chaim quotes the medieval commentator, the Meiri, who forbids drunkenness".

Why is it then, that the article signed by the real Gedolim and Poskim, not the doctors, do not come out and say the same as the doctors. They carefully choose their words and say 1) There is a mitzva to get drunk, but only with wine. 2) Balei batim should not serve the bochurim wine. 3) Don't drink and drive 4) Don't enter a drunk's car. Now based on the ruling's of the doctors, our Gedolim should have said the following 1) There is no Mitzva to get drunk on Purim 2) It is an Aveira to get drunk on Purim 3) It is Pikuach Nefesh and therefore goes into the Gimmel Chamuros 4) If you do get drunk on Purim, you are setting a terrible example for future generations.

These so called Doctors really don't give 2 hoots about the Halacha. They are merely using the Halacha as a tool to push their own Medical decisions onto people who do care about the Halacha.

Have they ever shared with us Halachic views that have no ramifications on Medicine? I wonder why.

As far as the misquoted view of the Chofetz Chaim, the Chofetz Chaim says "and so it is befitting to do". That's it. In other words, it is befitting to be Mekayim the CHIYUV with the position of the Ramah versus the Mechaber. If any of these doctors or doctor/rabbis (Interesting how I haven't met a doctor/lawyer) would have learned a little Mishna Brurah outside of Hilchos Purim, and they would be slightly familiar with the derech of psak chosen by the chofetz chaim, they would know the differences in the terminology,"CHIYUV","ISSUR","TZARICH","RAUY", etc. So to deem "Alcohol intoxication is an abomination" and base it on the "rulings of the Chafetz Chaim" is equivalent to reform Judiasm.

And the winner who quoted "Rabbi Shneur Zalman in his Shulchan Aruch" should really go back to medical school. These words "It is impossible to serve Hashem either in levity or drunkenness" are being quoted from the Rambam in Hilchos Yom Tov. NOT hilchos Purim. this Psak refers to Yom Tov only. Now let's examine what the Rambam has to say about Purim "A person is CHAYAV (Kaytzad Chovas Seudah Zu) to drink wine until he enters a state of complete intoxication, so much so that he slumbers off in his drunken state." Rabbi Shneur Zalman's words are in his hilchos Yom tov. NOT his Hilchos Purim. why? for 2 very good reasons. 1) In hilchos purim the Rambam himself says otherwise. 2)Rabbi Shneur Zalman never wrote any Hilchos Purim because he stopped writing after hilchos sukkah.

Now, let all the doctors say views on medicine. All the "teens at risk" professionals say views on teens at risk. and all the true rabbis say views on Judiasm. Have a happy and safe Purim. and a safe purim can be accomplished without misinterpreting the halacha.


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9. Moderation, not abstinence     3/1/07 - 1:53 PM
Elliot Pasik, Esq. - Long Beach, NY - efpasik@aol.com

I'm going against the trend here, but I believe that moderation should be taught, not abstinence, and this is more in tune with Jewish tradition. Think nazir.

I remember when the drinking age in many states, including NY was 21, and then over time, lowered to 20, 19, and then 18. It was 18 when I was a college student in Massachusetts. National highway deaths then began to rise from DWI-related accidents, and the drinking age, over time, went back up to 21, where it is today in probably all states, I believe.

Compared to other countries, however, the U.S. drinking age is the highest in the world. The drinking age is in the mid to high teens in the vast majority of countries. This information is easily Googled.

Why is that? Because the U.S. has a significant minority of unstable, undisciplined people, who cannot control their own behavior. Other countries simply do not have the alcohol abuse problem that we do.

I believe that the overwhelming majority of own American Jewish population can be categorized as stable and disciplined, including our children, and we should approach the problem of alcohol abuse accordingly.

Liquor and wine are legal products, and have many health benefits when used in moderation, and if we set an example for our children, and we teach our children moderation, we are better off than unrealistically teaching them abstinence which has a history of not working. Think Prohibition.

Tobacco smoking? Should be absolutely forbidden. Marijuana and other illegal narcotics? The same, obviously.

Proper food and diet are essential, as "M" says above.

We are not Moslems, nor Puritans, who do not drink alcohol. We're Jews. Two cans of beer has never hurt anybody. I believe the abstinence campaign is overstated, and since nobody is following it anyway, it breeds disrespect for rabbis and communal leaders. The bochrim from the yeshivas where these Roshei Yeshivos preside are all drinking on Purim, from what I see.

Sensible moderation, not abstinence. Let's lighten up.


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10.     3/1/07 - 2:16 PM
Yakov Horowitz - Monsey, NY

To: "Poskim"

In my article, I did not go the route of suggesting a p'sak regarding the matter of drinking on Purim. Nor do I see my role as doing so -- now or at any time in the future.

I forwarded Rabbi Twerski's letter since his message is one that needs to be listened to.

Personally, my thinking is more along the lines of the previous comment by Elliot that moderation is in order.

But the passing-out-stone-drunk behavior that some (and I repeat some) are engaging in is simply not safe and must stop.

YH

(And feel free to post your name. It's quite OK to disagree respectfully.)


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11. Bob: re Simchas Torah     3/1/07 - 5:35 PM
Anonymous

Elie Wiesel tried to keep up with the Rebbe's drinking once: "[At m]y first visit to the [the Rebbe's] court...I had informed him at the outset that I was a Chasid of Vishnitz, not Lubavitch, and that I had no intention of switching allegiance. 'The important thing is to be a chasid,' he replied. 'It matters little whose." .. "One year, during Simchas Torah, I visited Lubavitch, as was my custom... 'Welcome,' he said. 'It's nice of a chasid of Vishnitz to come and greet us in Lubavitch. But is this how they celebrate Simchas Torah in Vishnitz?' 'Rebbe,' I said faintly, 'we are not in Vishnitz, but in Lubavitch.' 'Then do as we do in Lubavitch,' he said. 'And what do you do in Lubavitch?' 'In Lubavitch we drink and say lechayim.' 'In Vishnitz, too.' 'Very well. Then say lechayim.' He handed me a glass filled to the brim with vodka. 'Rebbe,' I said, 'in Vishnitz a chasid does not drink alone.' 'Nor in Lubavitch,' the Rebbe replied. He emptied his glass in one gulp. I followed suit. 'Is one enough in Vishnitz?' the Rebbe asked. 'In Vishnitz,' I said bravely, 'one is but a drop in the sea.' 'In Lubavitch as well.' He handed me a second glass and refilled his own. He said lechaim, I replied lechaim, and we emptied our glasses. After all, I had to uphold the honor of Vishnitz. But as I was unaccustomed to drink, I felt my head begin to spin. I was not sure where or who I was, nor why I had come to this place, why I had been drawn into this strange scene. My brain was on fire. 'In Lubavitch we do not stop midway,' the Rebbe said. 'We continue. And in Vishnitz?' 'In Vishnitz, too,' I said, 'we go all the way.' The Rebbe struck a solemn pose. He handed me a third glass and refilled his own. My hand trembled; his did not. 'You deserve a brocha,' he said, his face beaming with happiness. 'Name it.' I wasn't sure what to say. I was, in fact, in a stupor. 'Would you like me to bless you so you can begin again?' Drunk as I was, I appreciated his wisdom.... 'Yes, Rebbe,' I said. 'Give me your brocha.' He blessed me and downed his vodka. I swallowed mine--and passed out." "All Rivers Run to the Sea", Elie Wiesel, pp. 402-4


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12. oy! re previous     3/1/07 - 5:36 PM
Anonymous

I posted it as separate lines, not one long paragraph!


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13. WAY TO GO BOB!     3/1/07 - 6:04 PM
Johnny Cochran - Not sure

That's more like it. We need more Purim spirit, and Bob, Elie Wiesel, and the rebbe, even if he is Lubavitch, have got the spirit. Enough with this anti-Purim Puritan Priggish Prudishness. Oh You Rabbi Weinreb, with your annual Cotton Mather lectures, what's next, burning witches? I suggest you meet with Yaakov Daniel (Jack Daniels), gather together some Thinkers and Doers (Dewar's), and drink, damn it, drink. Drink like your life depended on it. Drink heartily, drink with feeling, drink any old way you want, but drink, man, drink. Drink and think of ways to make the world a better place, and do it already. Drink!


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14. What about that well-known 12-step program?     3/5/07 - 2:41 AM
DR - Jerusalem

Rabbi Horowitz:

Nowhere in your article do you mention the well known "12-step" program, better known by its initials, which has a 70+ year track record of helping persons of both genders, and of all ages, to recover from alcohol and drug use. This program has no cost, and is readily accessible in nearly every city in the world. Any particular reason why it was not mentioned at the end of the article, where you dealt with what parents can do when substances become an issue?


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15. recover?     3/5/07 - 6:49 PM
M

According to the 12 step dogma, you NEVER recover. You are always "in recovery." You are a recovering alcoholic even if you never drink to excess again.


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16. Will you let this stand?     3/7/07 - 7:03 PM
Anonymous

Rabbi Horowitz, please take up the challenge of these borderline alkies.

Please respond to them. I don't have the strength.


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17. aa     6/7/07 - 4:40 PM
Anonymous - new york

If to save a life one is patur from any mitvah should one go to AA? reb moshe paskins one can got to a meeting if it's davka not in the chapel , the rebbe didn't know what to say? if one goes to a a then staying away from the first one can be applied to purim , if i don't have any i can't get drunk. by simchas torah i got smashed in shul , i had a blackout, now i haven't smoked reefer in 6 years ... AA works.!one day at a time!


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18. Common Sense is a dear thing     3/7/08 - 12:57 PM
MB - New York - New York

TO comment on the article: I do not believe that there is any mitzvah in the Torah that condones a Jew behaving in any way other than a proper Ben/Bas Melech(son,daughter) of the King. Therefore, if drinking is going to cause an embarrassment to a person/ group/ klal yisroel, it seems that the reward of the mitzvah (ad deloh yada) is lost in what was lost by the ramifications of the action itself(Yotzo sechoro be’hefseido). Can’t ad deloh yodah be fulfilled with taking a short nap?

To comment on the other comments:

It is important for parents to

a) realize the extent of what influences their teen when they are outside their 4 amos. (Put yourself in the teen's shoes, and mindset). This is not always easy depending on the openness of the teen.

If dealing with a closed teen, have their gang over at your house whenever you can. At least this way you can ‘see’ what is going on, even if you are not on top of them. Rather in your home than in some dark park.

b) set reasonable, realistic , attainable expectations/guidelines, and be firm in a stance where there is absolutely NO BUDGING.

Giving children slack where it is ok, but not where it’s not. Common sense rules.

c) have children's teachers who are role models both in and out of the classroom setting. This is probably the hardest to accomplish, because people are human and have bad habits. It would be ideal if parents were perfect role models as well, but, it seems that kids forgive the imperfections of their parents easier(not sure why)

How many adults today rationalize smoking, because their Rebbe did it? Or using some 4 letter words that were ‘used often’ by a person of authority? Although their parents may have had the same traits, the teachers are scrutinized for being any less than what they preach.

d) I respectfully disagree with some posters’ idea of rallying klal people to ‘censor’ junk food. What will be next? Frosted flakes? Moderation is the Golden Path.

Nosh sells – because it tastes good! Health issues exist, but to blame in on junk food alone is not fair. Rather a sedentary lifestyle, of 35+ hours/week in front of a TV/Computer coupled with with no physical excersize in addition to sitting 8-10 hours a day in the classroom is more of a problem than the nosh issue. Let the boys eat noshkes , gummy bears, etc, as long as they work up a good hour or two of sweat each day playing basketball, baseball, etc.


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19.     3/7/08 - 2:27 PM
Anonymous

for some reason everybody seems to ignore a Rabbinu Efraim that the Ran brings down by the gemorrah in Megilla by AD D"LO YUDA. the Rabinu Efraim a Rishon says that the reason the gemorrah brings the story of Rabbah killing Rav Zaiera on Purim and then asking for Hashem to give him back is life; is that the gemorrah wants to tell you that YOU'RE NOT ALLOWED TO DRINK! yet no one mentions this rishon today, why??


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20.     3/9/08 - 9:01 AM
yoni

I was never told who said that, but I was told the result of that many, many times.

although I was told that you're not allowed to ever drink to intoxication (of which the standard is very strict), not that you're not allowed to drink in the litteral sense.


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21. For all those indulgene adults who choose to get drunk     3/9/08 - 12:58 PM
Sherree

Please take a look at the ceramic hat that you will get to know very personally the morning after, also known to some as a comode or a "toilet". That will be your new best friend for at least a couple hours after you wake up from your self imposed stupor. You will also need a bottle of motrin or other form of ibuprofen and a very dark room with soft pillows. Give yourself at least one day to be totally "useless" to anyone and indulge in "self-pity" because you will find no one else that will have one ounce of pity for you.

Your complaints in regard to your pounding head and queezy stomach will fall on deaf ears since you chose these symptoms year after year for yourself and learned absolutely nothing from the previous year. Please be so kind to follow these rules and not use your bed, dining room or living room instead of the ceramic or porcelain hat as a replacement. Be considerate of you wife and family who did not agree with your choices the day before. Also on this note, please understand that it is neither the repsonsibility of your wife or mother to take care of you when experiencing these lovely symptoms, you brought these on yourselve and your wife and/or mother has to get on with her day of cleaning up from the previous day and taking care of the rest of the family. Your uselessness only adds to the additional work she has to do.

If you choose to indulge in mashke to enchance your simchas Purim you and you alone are responsible and accountable for the result of your own actions. So please think ahead and think about your Sholom Bayis before you think of yourself.


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22. Drinking and alcoholics, substance abusers     2/4/10 - 10:15 AM
Anonymous

My personal opinion is that anyone suffering from substance or alcohol abuse should know that they are not allowed to drink even one drink regardless of purim or not. When an alcoholic has his first one he won't know when to stop and this can and has led to very bad things happening.


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23. re comments 5 and 11 about drinking on Simchas Torah     9/26/10 - 10:13 AM
bikores.blogspot.com

The cover story of issue 325 of Mishpacha, the Rosh Hashana 5771 issue, is about R' Baruch Mordechai Ezrachi, rosh yeshiva in Bayit Vegan. He explained how the custom of "hakafos shniyos" began in Chevron Yeshiva:

"My shver (R' Meir Chodosh) attended to the Alter [of Slobodka] when the yeshiva was already here in Eretz Yisrael, in Chevron. The Alter was elderly and infirm, and spent most of the time in his room. But even so, he had his finger on the pulse of every single bochur.

"One year, during hakafos, one of the bochurim drank more than he could handle and while inebriated he began to issue lofty pronouncements. When he stood before the Sefer Torah for his aliya, the words and ideas that poured from his mouth disclosed tremendous dreams of spiritual growth that he carried deep within him. The other talmidim were amazed, for this particular bochur was not known to have such sh'ifos (ambitions), such grand goals for growth. Yet, at a time when he could speak only truth, it was clear that he did.

"Later that day, my father-in-law returned to the Alter's room and gave him a report of the day's events. He described how this bochur had shown another side of himself. The Alter was upset. 'Why didn't you tell me right away? Why didn't you hurry in as soon as it happened? Do you have any idea how long I have been waiting and praying for a breakthrough with this bochur? Had I known, I would have honored him with a hakafa [in Slabodka the hakafos were not usually given to bochurim] to encourage him in his quest.'

"The Alter was quiet for a long moment and then continued. 'Do you know what? We will make hakafaos shniyos tonight and in this round we will have the opportunity to recognize this bochur.'"

And that's the minhag, the way they do it in Slobdoka until today. The Alter started a new minhag in the yeshiva because a bochur got drunk on Simchas Torah and in his drunken state he revealed his spiritual aspirations.

Note (the obvious): The punchline of the story was NOT that the Alter Rebbe expelled him for getting drunk on Simchas Torah. Apparently, drinking on Simchas Torah was the norm and the reason this incident became the impetus for a new custom in the yeshiva was because a bochur drank MORE than the NORM and the Alter wanted to acknowledge this bochur's desire for spiritual growth.


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24. Here we go again     9/27/10 - 11:21 AM
Raphael Kaufman - Monsey NY - raykaufm@gmail.com

I see that the prohibitionists are out of the institution again. Carrie Nation AKA Sherree is once again inveighing against the evils of demon rum. Here are a few comments in no particular order:

1. Simchas Torah was not an occasion for drinking when I was growing up. It is the chassidization of American Orthodox Judaism that has introduced the custom(?!) of alcoholic hakofos (Dr. Twerski please note).

2. Notwithstanding the above, the overwhelming majority of those who choose to imbibe do so with pure motives and reasonable moderation. As Carrie, um, Sherree points out, excessive consumption of spirits tends to be self-regulating.

3. I repeat my previously stated position that alcohol is not evil, is not inherently habituating and is a food that has been used by humans for at least 4000 years (since Noach). If alcohol consumption did not confer tangible benefits to its users, its use would have been discontinued ages ago, note that there are other psychoactive substances that were know to the Ancients, datura for one, that did not come into general use specifically because of their dangers.


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25. Response to #24     9/27/10 - 4:59 PM
Benzion Twerski

I will not count myself among the prohibitionists. I am all in favor of making Kiddush on wine, and the use of other forms of alcohol with proper limits. In that sense, there is no danger to use of alcohol. The issue that was addressed here was the permitted use of alcohol among those who do not have the capacity to implement the proper limitations. This includes young people, and it also includes special attention to those times that are being used as limit-free drinking. This latter encompasses both Purim and Simchas Torah. Here is where some will consider me a prohibitionist – better no alcohol than alcohol being abused – with its vast array of negative consequences and risks. For that matter, box cutters are often useful tools. I would not allow them to be used by children, nor airline passengers.

You may be historically accurate in attributing the imbibing on Simchas Torah to the influence of some Chassidic groups. I have little difficulty in expressing my revulsion in this, seeing the dangers that have occurred and continue to happen from this distortion of values. I have been unable to understand the logic behind excessive drinking on Simchas Torah, despite the comments of those who have challenged me on this, bringing proof from vignettes.

As far as the self-regulating aspect of excessive drinking, I must disagree. There are some that will have a bad drunk, learn the lesson, and refrain. However, young people have a knack for failing to learn from such experiences. Rather, they will discover that they survived the nasty experience, and will be ready for the next one. This thinking is purely illogical, but that has not resulted in such thinking becoming obsolete. It thrives well, being one of the hallmark features of the abuser of substances, as well as those who engage in other addicting behaviors. Meanwhile, the prevalence of those who will repeat the behavior is alarming, and is a good enough reason to look at the problem with a more critical eye.

Your last point #3 is quite well taken, and I fully agree. I relish my chardonnay, and I can enjoy a good beer (a six pack can last long enough to be sold with the chometz at least once). However, the proneness with which it can be abused, misused, or overused renders it worthy of serious scrutiny, with banning it being more appropriate at times than being permissive.


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26. Chassidic influence     9/28/10 - 12:02 PM
bikores.blogspot.com

Simchas Torah was not an occasion for drinking when I was growing up. It is the chassidization of American Orthodox Judaism that has introduced the custom(?!) of alcoholic hakofos

There wasn't much to American Orthodox Judaism without Chassidim since the overwhelming majority of non-Chassidim who came to America dropped Yiddishkeit or didn't practice much of it even before they came. Likewise, the vast majority of religious Jews in Europe were of Chassidic stock.

I repeat my previously stated position that alcohol is not evil, is not inherently habituating and is a food that has been used by humans for at least 4000 years (since Noach).

I agree with you about alcohol not being evil though the reference to Noach doesn't exactly support your point ...

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