Chayov Inish Livsumei? No, Says NCSY, Once Again Discouraging Drinking on Purim

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wineNCSY, the international youth organization of the Orthodox Union, says that just as with the Yom Tov of Simchas Torah, Purim can allow some people – especially teenagers – the license to drink alcohol with abandon.

An annual warning is issued each year by the OU’s Safe Schools, Safe Shuls, Safe Homes Initiative. Now, OU Managing Director Rabbi Steven Burg has once again issued the call for parents to alert their children to the dangers of drinking on Purim, which falls on Motzoei Shabbos, February 27, and Sunday, February 28, this year.

Rabbi Burg declared, “Thankfully, many of our NCSY members and other teens have heeded our annual warnings against the dangers of drinking. They agree with us that zero tolerance will still permit an enjoyable Purim. However, too many teens still remain either unaware or unconvinced of the great risk alcohol intake on Purim poses. Once again, NCSY firmly upholds its campaign and maintains its commitment against teen drinking on Purim.”

Rabbi Jack Abramowitz, Associate Director of Synagogue Services and author of an NCSY pamphlet discouraging drinking on Purim, stated, “Alcohol can place one in a variety of dangerous situations, ranging from alcohol poisoning to foolhardy behavior. Its use is hardly a religious imperative and there are many safe and viable alternatives to having fun on Purim, some of which are mitzvot and must be done anyway.”

For the first time ever, the warning against drinking will be posted on NCSY’s new Facebook page, which, in one week of existence, already counted 2,000 members. “Social media is a great method to get the word out to a maximum number of teens,” explained Rabbi Burg. “By posting NCSY’s warning against drinking on Facebook, we can communicate with so many of our members in an instant.”

{Noam Newscenter}


  1. Rabbi Horowitz and Rabbi Twerski from Project YES in the Aguda are hosting a teleconference on this issue of major concern. Check with the Aguda for details.

    Let’s be smart and not serve alchohol to any bochurim or teenagers who come to collect by us. By me I get groups coming all night and day and they know – come in sober leave with a check but come in drunk you are asked to leave

  2. #3: I don’t know how it applies to young people. Every year, many Rabbonim come out against underage drinking on Purim.

    The Rema says that do be mekayem the mitzvah, you should drink a little bit and then go to sleep. When you’re sleeping, it’s considered ad d’lo yadah, and since the wine helps you sleep, it’s considered to be coming from the drinking.

  3. This is not a joke. If it were your child who was ch’v killed in a drinking-related car accident on Purim you would not be so light-hearted. Every year there are tragedies. And that’s not counting the young people who are started on the road to alcohol abuse.

    #1 is right on target.

  4. There is a reason why alcohol is prohibited to those under age 21. It reacts differently upon the brain and bodies of adults over age 21 than it does to teens under age 21. I don’t think you will find a posek ANYWHERE who would dispute the NCSY psak l’gabay teen drinking. Comment #2 and #3 you need to learn the fifth chelek of shulchan aruch.

  5. Not sure who said the 11th commandment is not to be stupid. When will we learn? Every year we go through this and every year the same thing happens. Dont drink! Rather be “over” on something like this than V’nishmartem m’od. There have been too many “mistakes” to let this happen again.


    Rabbi Yakov Horowitz And Rabbi Benzion Twerski Will Present ‘Purim Parenting: Keeping Your Children Safe and Sober’ During A Live TeleConference on Thursday February 11th at 10:00 PM.

    Brooklyn, NY- February 10th, 2010: Project YES will be hosting a live, free teleconference entitled “Purim Parenting: Keeping Our Children Safe and Sober” on February 11th at 10:00 PM in an effort to combat the rising problem of alcoholism in the community. Rabbi Yakov Horowitz and Rabbi Benzion Twerski will discuss the impact and severity of this problem in addition to offering concrete advice to parents who are worried about their children’s drinking.

    Rabbi Horowitz, Founder and Director of Project YES, will be joined by Dr. Benzion Twerski, a renowned psychologist who specializes in the area of substance abuse with years of experience in treating frum addicts to discuss this growing problem. “It is the responsibility of today’s parents to be knowledgeable about the dangers of alcohol consumption and the symptoms of substance abuse” says Rabbi Horowitz. Both hosts strongly feel that being informed, up to date, and hands-on in dealing with these issues are the greatest predetermining factors in guiding our children through the stormy teen-age years.

    The teleconference will take place from 10:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 11th. The dial in number is (712) 432-1001 and when prompted enter the access code 455963558#. The public is invited to submit questions in advance of the conference (or while listening to the conference) by email to: [email protected]

  7. #3 – and I mean this seriously, and we see from some of the comments that perhaps people do not take this seriously, the Halocho is explicit and very clear that if there is any drinking at all one is Yotzay ONLY with wine. There isn’t now or ever was a Posek that says beer, booze and some of this “mixes” are permitted.

  8. The megillah thing doesn’t say chayav inish l’visumei. and you can be yotzei by sleeping. Of all the d’rabanans to makpid about, why pick the one that is illegal and a sakanah. After you let your kids juggle knives, feel free to give them liquor.

  9. Here’s an image — something I really saw on a sidewalk in Midwood — last year. Sorry, it’s gross: It was a puddle of vomit and in the middle of it was a velvet yarmulka. We can imagine how that took place. Let’s keep the drinking to a minimum.

  10. It is sad day when adults (bar mitzvah and up) are not adults – or the over 25 + crowd does not influence the younger aged adults how to drink on Purim. Gedolei Yisroel gave out schnapps on Purim night as Simchas Purim!! And I still do! Do you kmow why? Because my kids from toddler up are taught by responsible adults how to handle wine and bromfin! And are taught of the dangers of it! I have a better idea Let’s have 0 tolerance of teenage driving untill 22. How dare we insist on 0 tolerance on even a minhag if we don’t grapple with inyomei reshus such as driving! Try walking! Or if tour from Lakewood Monsey what did you do before age 18? You got rides or your parents took you! So these same parents who taught to drive safely when you are 18 should teach you to drink responsibly on purim!

  11. For the Amei Ha’aretz out there:
    The Poskim that NCSY is “relying on”:
    Ran (Megilah 7b)
    Orchos Chayim
    Magen Avraham
    Bi’ur Halacha
    All of these poskim pasken that one SHOULD NOT get drunk on purim (or ever).
    My question: Considering the dangers involved both spiritualy, and physicaly, is one allowed to rely on the minority of poskim who allow getting drunk?

  12. I agree with #5. In the past years I have seen many “ADULTS” (baalei baatim, yungerleit etc….) that are behaving absolutely irresponsible i.e. driving under the influence. I think there has been so much emphasis on the teenagers that we’ve lost focus on the adults.

  13. The mitzvah is to drink wine and the proper time is during the seudah. There is no mitzvah to drink whiskey, beer or other intoxicants. There is CERTAINLY no mitzvah to give underage bochurim to drink liquor at night. Furthermore, it is against the law of the land.

  14. The younger crowd is drinking, without examples of HOW to drink.

    And why would anyone give money to someone who wasn’t sober? How would you know if they would handle it responsibly?

  15. To Ben Torah

    A lamdan or baal mesorah you are not!

    Do anyone say it is prohibited to drink or get drunk or they give alternate meanings to the mitzva of drinking alcoholic beverages on purim!

    The same way a person should not learn all night shavuos night if he cannot daven properly the next morning so should everyone know their limits on Purim. I am upset of this 0 tolerance issue when we should be asserting our own personal responsibilty!

  16. It’s a travesty that all of a sudden with this everyone becomes so “machmir” and “makpid” to get blasted. The Rama says explicitly you should just drink more than usual so it makes you tired. In light of all the alcohol and substance abuse problems we have, what justification is there not to rely on the Rama?

  17. #22
    The Ran says regarding Chayav inish lebsumei, “It is not proper to do this”
    The Orchos Chayim as quoted by the Bais Yosef says “One should not get drunk, since there is no greater issur than that”
    And the Mishna Brurah says regarding sleeping instead of getting drunk “That is what is proper to do”
    Since I am not a lamdan, please explain why these sources form our Mesorah are mistaken.


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