Drinking on Purim

Macallan 1926You don’t have to be a rabbi to lead services, conduct weddings, bar mitzvahs, or funerals. In fact there’s only one thing rabbis can do that lay people can’t do. Make up rules. So here are some new rules from me.

According to the Talmud “A person is obligated to drink on Purim until he can no longer distinguish between cursed is Haman and blessed is Mordachai.” But of course as Jews we love the details. So here are the details.

Hilchot Drinking on Purim
Orach Chayim 698

A person is obligated to drink on Purim until he can no longer distinguish between Bibi Netanyahu and Barack Obama.

  1.  If one cannot arrange for Bibi and Barack to be in the same room to check, it is permissible to use pictures to test the state of one’s inebriation.
  2. One fulfills the mitzvah when one can look at the pictures and say “I’m not sure which is which.” The mehadrin drink until they say “Who’s Obama?”
  3. Those with a history of alcohol problems may fulfill the mitzvah with hallucinogens. Those without such a history should not rely on this to avoid drinking.
  4. It is the mitzvah to drink during the day on Purim. If one drank at night and yelled “Go Obama!” during Netanyahu’s speech, he has fulfilled his obligation.
  5. One can fulfill the commandment even with Bud Light or arak.
  6. The mehadrin fulfill the commandment with the booze of our ancestors, blended whisky, especially J&B (Jewish Booze).
  7. The mehadrin min hamehadrin drink single malt Scotch.
  8. Those who truly wish to focus on hidur mitzvah drink single malt Scotch aged over 18 years.
  9. There is an argument over the superiority of Islands versus Highlands Scotch. The matter remains unresolved until Elijah the Prophet returns.
  10. It is forbidden to be distracted by any kind of motor when fulfilling this mitzvah. That means no driving cars, operating speed boats, flying airplanes, or operating blenders.

Barry Leff

Rabbi Barry (Baruch) Leff is a dual Israeli-American business executive, teacher, speaker and writer who divides his time between Israel and the US.

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