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
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.