Rugby and beer go together. There’s nothing like an ice cold beer after a hard rugby game. It soothes your aching, wounded body. It makes you relax. After a couple of beers you feel strong again, almost ready for another game or some other adventure. That’s the problem with alcohol, it clouds your judgment. It makes you think you are a different person than you really are. Maybe that’s part of its appeal. We can escape our lives and be someone else, even it is only for a while. I used to enjoy a beer or two after a game, but I saw too many rugby players and others, become a little too adventurous for my liking, to allow myself to get into that situation.
On Purim, we also drink and we also pretend we are someone else. We dress up in costume. But there’s a very important difference. On Purim, we are trying to find out who we really are. We are trying to strip away the external layers which hold us back from getting closer to G-d. That’s why when a true talmid chacham, a Torah scholar, drinks on Purim, what comes out of his mouth is no different than on a regular day. Because who he is internally, is exactly who he is externally.
However, most people who drink a lot on Purim are not at that level. Unfortunately, when they drink, instead of bringing out their best, they bring out their worst. Maybe because of my rugby days, I don’t drink very much on Purim. Purim is such a fun day, I feel happy even without drinking.
My advice to you if you’re thinking of drinking on Purim: Don’t overdo it. Have a drink or two to make you happy. And if you don’t think you’ll be able to control yourself, don’t drink at all. It’s not worth it. And it’s not the Jewish thing to do. If you have a friend who is going to drink a
lot on Purim, be a true friend and stay with him and look after him so he doesn’t do anything dangerous to himself or others.
Thank you Rabbi Kahn for this important post. The drinking on Purim is out of control. In our days virtual nobody is on the level to be able to be drunk and handle it in a “proper” way. Add to that the fact the drinking has become a real problem with frum teenage boys. It always bothered tremendously for my son to see his Rebbe and other role models in a state of inebriation on Purim.