Watching the Alcohol This Purim

Joyful observance of Purim is what we do together with family and friends at our seudah table. Giving charity for matanot l’evyonim, hearing the Megilla and giving mishloach manot should give us and others overwhelming joy as well.

We thank Rabbi Larry Rothwachs for sharing his wise words with us regarding what widespread drinking on Purim does to those who struggle with alcohol. We know that joy doesn’t mean out-of-control inebriation. It’s fine to raise a glass or two toasting Queen Esther and Mordechai and all that the demise of Haman represents. But we hasten to note that our children, especially our teenagers, are watching. In our own community, teens have been disciplined publicly this year for alcohol and substance abuse, and more than ever we read of tragedies caused by distracted driving that usually involves alcohol or texting while driving, or sometimes both. We fear what could happen if Purim were truly a time of unrestricted, irresponsible drinking for young people.

We want our neighbors to be safe this Purim, but we recognize the need for our children to build on their Jewish experience with positive memories. Drinking should not be the prevailing symbol of our Purim joy. Being unified before Hashem is more than enough.

Share with them that joy that will carry them all the way through Pesach and Shavuot. Zemirot, stories of our holidays and heritage, good foods, giving tzedakah and simply being together build strong Jewish communities of character. And these communities of character are exactly what strengthens us despite the best efforts of Amalek and its modern-day surrogate, Iran.

Chag Purim sameach from The Jewish Link to you, our families. May this be a season of joy!