THE PASSOVER QUESTIONS YOU NEVER THOUGHT TO ASK
Purim is Not a Free-For-All
Thank you for publishing Rabbi Mansour’s message about the dangers of drinking in excess on Purim. I felt that his article, “No, Purim is Not a Free-For-All,” conveyed a very important message. Unfortunately, many people are either ignorant about the mitzvah to drink on Purim or just use Purim as an excuse to get drunk. The situation seems to get worse every year. This year, I witnessed firsthand the horror in the eyes of my next-door-neighbor’s five children when they saw their dad's intoxicated behavior. Although he never got abusive or violent, he was certainly not himself. He was drunk, walking funny, talking silly, and acting like a clown. His mannerisms were not funny to anyone around him. In fact, they were awkward and embarrassing to the adults and a complete trauma to his kids, who witnessed their wonderful, stable, loving father suddenly turn into someone they never could have predicted. There is no happiness involved when a person drinks because he thinks he has to, and then alienates the people around him. To me this is anything but a mitzvah – rather it is more likely a chillul Hashem.
Every month I look forward to reading Rabbi Mansour’s column as I usually agree with his conclusions.. Last month, however, was a big exception. I don’t agree with changing the halacha or the mitzvah of drinking on Purim just because there are those who are unable to control themselves. I acknowledge that there are people out there who shouldn't get drunk, even on Purim, because of their tendencies, but there are also people like myself who are responsible drinkers and find joy in drinking on Purim. I do not get drunk enough not to remember Purim or to find myself incapacitated. Like most religious people, I am a happy drunk and love this celebration. I do not focus on drinking exclusively and it does not consume my mind while listening to the megillah. Instead, it is just another part of the celebration, like eating cake is on a birthday. After imbibing the wine, I am no longer anxious or insecure. Instead, I am truly myself, with no worries. Purim is supposed to be a joyous time. It should not be changed or ruined because of the few people who cannot handle the intake of liquor..
The Aleppo Codex
After reading last month’s article about the Aleppo Codex (“New Film to Reveal Secrets about the Aleppo Codex”), I feel that every community member should support this most worthy cause. Every single person who is proud of their heritage should show their support by helping to sponsor this film. We should all be honored that we have this opportunity to become partners in the journey to unveil the mystery of one of the most precious Judaica treasures, guarded for centuries by our ancestors in Aleppo.
Mysteries of Purim
I found Dave Gordon’s article about Purim (“Unearthing The Mysteries of Purim’) most enlightening. I was most intrigued by the explanation of why hamantashen is shaped the way it is. I was taught as a child that the shape of the hamantashen represented Haman's pyramid-shaped hat. I, as well as my family members and friends, had never heard of the reason that was brought down in the article. Once it was explained, though, it sure did make a whole lot of sense! After all, what does the shape of Haman’s hat have to do with the story of Purim? It seems much more likely that the shape of the hamantashen we eat on Purim represents the triangular dice that Haman used to determine the day of the intended annihilation of the Jewish nation.
Thank you for bring back Jido.I was quite surprised when his column was taken out. Hopefully, his column is here to stay. I always appreciated his wisdom and advice. I’m glad to see that he has not lost his touch. He reminds me so much of my grandfather – intelligent, caring, loving, and practical.