Section: Moadim   Category: Purim
Purim: Rav Isaac Sher - Getting Drunk On Purim
"Chayav Inish Livisumei" (Megila 7b).  It is incumbent on a person to get drunk on Purim.  The gemara tells us that Raba and Rav Zeira had a Purim seudah and they both got so drunk that Raba slaughtered Rav Zeira.  Only through Raba's tefila did Rav Zeira come back to life.  What is this all about?  We find over and over in the Torah the troubles that come from drinking.  It started with Noach, Lot, Ba'al Pi'or, and the Sotah.  Becoming intoxicated is not a Jewish thing!

Rav Isaac Sher answers that we must look into the Avodah of Purim.  The gemara (Shabbos 88a) tells us that on Purim we rectified our aveira and were Mikabel the Torah with our own free will.  Which aveira?  Rebbi Shimon explained to his talmidim that the reason why Haman was able to destroy the Yehudim was because they bowed down to Nevuchadnetzar's idol.  Although it wasn't a real Avodah Zara only a statue in honor of the king,  and although the Yehudim only put on a charade for the outside world and did not mean it, still they should have been Moser Nefesh like Chananya, Mishael, and Azarya.  Only after the complete tshuva upon hearing Haman's decree,  did they rectify this small gap in their commitment to Hashem, and were then saved.  After the great Nes of Purim they were Mikabel the Torah with genuine 100% unforced commitment.

On every Purim, says Rav Isaac Sher, we must relive this feeling and renew our commitment to Hashem and do complete tshuva.  We must show our willingness to be Moser Nefesh and die Al Kiddush Hashem even when it is technically not required.  To this end the gemara in Sanhedrin (43a) says that before Bais Din executes someone who is Chayav Misa they intoxicate him wine so that he oblivious to the horrible scene and the pain of the execution.

Therefore on Purim when we get intoxicated we are supposed imagine that we are giving our lives Al Kiddush Hashem.  The wine is our last drink to dull the pain.  This is what Rabba and Rav Zeira did only they got a little carried away in their acting and Raba actually carried out the execution and killed Rav Zeira, until he restored his life through tefila.  So if you are going to drink, don't forget your script and why you are drinking... and please stop before the grand finale!