The typical Jewish holiday goes like this: They tried to kill us. We won. So let’s eat. Purim is a slight exception to this because not only are you supposed to eat, you are supposed to drink. A lot.
The good news in all of this: Next month, Purim falls on a Saturday night. Why is this important? Because adult beverages and Purim go hand-in-hand; it says so in the Megillah: “A person is obligated to ‘spice’ himself on Purim until he cannot distinguish between “cursed is Haman” and “blessed is Mordechai” (Talmud Megillah 7b).
If you’re going to follow the Megillah (and let’s be honest: why wouldn’t you), you’re going to need some libations. TC Jewfolk can help you with that.
TC Jewfolk and Top Ten Liquors in St. Louis Park are hosting a Purim beer and cocktail tasting event on March 9 at the excellent Top Ten Liquors store at the Miracle Mile Shopping Center (5111 Excelsior Blvd.) All the products sampled at the event will be on sale and 10 percent of all proceeds go to Jewfolk Media.
Back to the Megillah: Like with anything, there’s some room for interpretation. Rabbi David Fredman, Aish Minnesota’s executive director, gives a good reminder that the story takes place over a decade, not the 30 minutes we spend reading it in shul. As to why we drink on Purim, Fredman says it’s to show recognition of the limits of our logic and brain power and the awesomeness of a Great Divine Plan at work orchestrating the world.
“As Jews we are charged to think critically, to challenge, to debate and to ask questions,” he said, citing Moses’ initial concern that the people won’t believe he’s their leader. “We’re always critical of something. ‘Blind Faith’ is, in general, seen as a weakness. With this we turn to Purim, where all of our reason and calculation and predictive power is proven false. It was all a set up for a much bigger “ending” then anyone could have ever imagined.”
So how drunk should we get? Apparently there’s middle ground for that, too.
“It’s not drinking to get blitzed; it’s far deeper than that,” said Beth El Synagogue Rabbi Avi Olitzky. “I think the real piece is: there are 10 chapters in the megillah. Most get bored or are drunk by sixth or seventh chapter.”
Fredman says that there are other ways to shut your brain down besides drinking – taking a nap for example. But getting smashed is not the intent of the law.
“If one knows they will violate any halacha due to alcohol – including the blessings after the Purim meal – they should avoid drinking heavily,” he said. “Certainly, if one knows they will act in any obscene way, they should go with the more lenient opinion and avoid getting drunk.”
However, a cocktail or a good beer is always good. So come join us at Top Ten Liquors in St. Louis Park and stock up for your Purim gathering. Or just because it’s always hospitable to have a full refrigerator when welcoming friends.