Purim & Alcohol
Rabbi Ross. I know you were supposed to be emailing an article about Shabbos afternoon. However, I was wondering if in honor or Purim, you could discuss children and alcohol. I’m worried that my boys who are in high school, might drink on Purim. I’ve heard this can have serious consequences. Should we just keep them home? Sarah L.
I was going to share an article about Shabbos this week, but you are correct. It might be better to discuss alcohol, since Purim is around the corner.
I would like to think that the situation has improved over the past few years. Hatzalah and a few other organizations have been running amazing campaigns to raise awareness on the dangers of drinking.
There are some Yeshivas and Rebbeim that make jokes about this. I had a Rebbe that said, “Drinking is to Purim what oxygen is to people.” I’m not a doctor, but I’m pretty sure that alcohol overconsumption can cause serious injury or death, c”v.
I would like to share some Purim tips that I’ve come up with over the years. Enjoy, and as always, please let me know your thoughts.
Children are allowed to drink alcohol for religious purposes in many states with parental supervision and state-specific requirements. You would have to check the particular laws of your state, but if your son’s school gives them alcohol, (or looks the other way) they can land in some serious trouble. It might be a good idea to bring this to their attention.
Anyone (including dads and uncles) who is a bad drunk (violent, abusive, inappropriate, etc.) should not drink.
If you do drink on Purim, it should be as part of the Seudah. This way your children associate the drinking with the Mitzvah.
If you are planning to drink, (and I’m not condoning it), it should not be the focus of the day.
If by drinking, your wife will have a difficult time, you should probably not drink.
If your teenager wants to spend Purim in Yeshiva, you need to make it clear to him and the Yeshiva that he is forbidden from consuming anything with alcohol. Make sure it’s in writing to the Yeshiva.
I would suggest getting him an ÜBER (or a responsible mode of transportation) to and from Yeshiva, if you’re not driving him. Don’t let him go with friends.
If your older teenager wants to have a L’Chaim, make sure it’s after eating a nice amount of bread.
Purim should be a happy day. Try to make it a fun day for your kids.
There is a new concept going around for younger kids. Instead of giving Shalach Manos to a few friends, the class gets together at one house and they exchange bags. Some classes exchange one candy/nosh in lieu of a Shalach Manos bag. As sweet as this sounds (pun intended), I’m not sure if it’s the point of Purim. Although it’s inclusive, it’s also more expensive and possibly inconvenient. I am not sure what to make of it. Many Rebbeim have shared with me that they are uncomfortable with it.
The Purim Seuda should include lots of fun, singing and perhaps even Purim games, which focus on Purim themes/mitzvos.
In anticipation of Purim, let your kids be involved in the shalach manos and costume preparations. It might also be a fun idea to let them make signs or pictures to decorate the door/house.
Any other great ideas? Please feel free to post them on the blog.
Have a Freiliche Purim & a good Shabbos
3/9/2017 07:21:02 pm
You tell them! Alcohol has no place in a house on Purim unless there are responsible adults running the show!
3/9/2017 07:23:20 pm
My wife and I were talking about this new fad about getting the class together. How is that even called doing the Mitzvah of Shalach Manos?
3/9/2017 10:25:42 pm
I agree. The proper way to set up Shalach Manos with your children should be to let them choose a few friends to visit, and ask them to pick an additional few children that are not so popular.
3/9/2017 07:24:58 pm
Anyone under 21 should never be drinking! If a Yeshiva allows drinking, parents should pull their children out.
3/9/2017 07:27:19 pm
I have many thoughts about this article. I agree strongly that this new meeting concept is just wrong. We needed it in the snowy Purim, but it's just wrong now. all the kids getting tons of candy, and who is happy? The stores! I would also like to add one thing. If you're bringing the kids to hear the Megilla, make sure they can be quiet.
3/9/2017 07:36:59 pm
So, great article! Kids should not be drinking. Keep Purim fun. Visit your elderly neighbors...it'll make their day!
3/9/2017 07:45:34 pm
Visiting Neighbors - what a great idea!
3/9/2017 10:26:04 pm
Manny, I love this idea!
3/9/2017 07:46:17 pm
Hatzala Members lose out on their Purim because others get sick while drinking. It's not right. Great article!
3/9/2017 10:01:56 pm
I'm not sure what a bad drunk is, but I loved this article. Especially about making it harder for the women. It's embarrassing. It's irritating. It's not worth it. Rabbi Ross, keep up the great work.
3/9/2017 10:03:08 pm
Here is another great tip for your list. Stop spending so much money on fancy Shaloch Manos, and give the money saved to poor families.
3/9/2017 10:06:25 pm
You know what gets me about the drinking? It's not only Purim! Go to a Wedding, Kiddush and more. Why do we glorify alcohol?
3/9/2017 10:08:13 pm
Rabbi Ross. This was a gutsy article. Many husbands don't take kindly to these posts. Here's a great tip which my kids love. Get back to Grammen! Let the kids rhyme.
3/9/2017 10:28:07 pm
Yechiel, you are bringing back some amazing memories. Thank You.
3/9/2017 10:20:56 pm
Another reason why this "Meeting up with friends" is such a bad idea? Many parents have other kids, and can't chauffeur their child at a specific time. It's causes MORE exclusion. Let's go back to the old way.
3/9/2017 10:23:20 pm
This article brought up some very important points. I think we need to reevaluate what Purim is. We are so busy with themes and limos, that we forgot the point. It's a holy day!
3/9/2017 10:30:53 pm
Many people go around collecting money on Purim. Prepare a bowl full of change, and teach your children that anyone who comes should get some money. It's great Chinuch. Rabbi Ross, thank you for all your hard work.
3/10/2017 12:09:34 pm
Well written as always. However, there is motivation for kids not to drink - they can't stay in control of their smart phones. Ha.
3/10/2017 03:51:08 pm
Such an important email. I had a close friend get very sick from alcohol.
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Rabbi Yitzie Ross is a Rebbe and has been working with parents and kids for many years. You can read more about him in the "about" section.