"We are closer to G-d when we are asking the questions, than when we think we have the answers" Heschel

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

My Purim 5770

FNQ - thought for the week

Will I succeed this year in experiencing a Purim induced alcoholic high and thus merit entering the inner sanctum and Holy of Holiest which is buried deep inside of me (and inside each and every Jew)?

Another Purim has passed and I still am left unfilled in my goal to achieve the sublime heights of Purim seudah bliss. It wasn't from a lack of trying. In truth, it may be unrealistic to think that in my relatively small number of Purim celebrations (fifteen, since my Bar Mitvah), and even fewer times drinking on Purim (ten, from when I was in Yeshivat Hakotel), that I would reach the transcendent level that can be accessed only on Purim. The following is a short description of this year's attempt.

This year the venue of my seudah was the Machon Lev campus in Jerusalem. At 2:30 I met a group of students with whom I learn, and my eldest brother Rav Shalom to daven mincha and commence the avodah of our Purim feast. Mincha was uplifting as I beseeched the Lord for health, success, and happiness for my family, friends and all of Klal Yisrael. I also fervently prayed that G-d grant me the ability to nullify my mental faculties that, on this day alone, serve as an iron barrier between a Jew and his creator.

We sat down made kiddush (an amalgamation of various Purim related versus) and began the sacred rite of the Purim seudah. My game plan this year was to drink at a slow and steady pace. Armed with a fine white zinfandel I began drinking as I ate from the fine cuisine prepared by the Machon Lev kitchen. We shared divrei Torah, sang, danced and even wrestled as we began to ascend to an alcohol assisted high.

But alas, as my soul began to lift off my mind was simply not willing to let go. Perhaps I drank too slowly, perhaps the wine was not strong enough, or perhaps I simply wasn't ready to cross the border into a world where the mind is not welcome.

After benching I dizzily walked home and fell on my bed into the comforting feeling of post Purim haze. I was awakened an hour later by the singing of my younger brother Yoni (of FNQ parsha thought fame) who had come to share the final moments of Purim 5770. Together with my wife Aviva, older brother Shalom, his wife Batya and 3 kids we sang and laughed deep into the early evening and bid a proper farewell to Purim.

So the answer to my question is no and that is a disappointment. However, my commitment to this lofty Purim mission is unwavering and I look forward to next year's attempt. Until next year – טוב לב משתה תמיד.

What do you think?

Binyamin – always looking for a good question (and unfortunately still lucid enough to keep asking them)


  1. Maybe the trick to try one year is not drink at all, but to become drunk in the fact knowing how blessed we are with our lives. Knowing that one still has their parents,a devouted wife, G-d willing a family due soon and living the good life should be enough to keep most people on a high all the time. The problem with alchohol is that it is only a temporary high. It comes;it goes. But a "life" high can last a Lifetime. We just need to take the day to realize and put it into focus. (of course a shot of a good liquor or wine is not the worst thing in the world), but it should not be the 'Main Event'. The super bowl is highly over rated as the Great Game, but actually it is the following of a team through out the season that makes it to the super bowl more special. But then again, I am anti drinking to begin with,.. so to say I am bias would be an understatement. My experience this (as was the last two years) seeing one of my close relatives passed out at a purim seudah where 75 people are eating and screaming is not my idea of "ad delo yoda". And... that is my opinion!

  2. Shalom U'vracha! I read your account of your Purim experience this year. You should know that you are among many that attempt to "let go" and reach "Ad d'lo yada" but are unable to. One possibility that was suggested is that you should get there without drinking at all. While there is great validity to the idea, it is not practical for someone that wants to uphold the teachings of Chaza"l, Shulchan Aruch and personal Rabbis and role models. So we need to suggest something else. Leaving the drinking aside, Ad d'lo yada should not be something that we strive for one day a year. It is a level of avodat Hashem that needs work constantly. Attaining Emuna B'Hashem in addition to or beyond intellectual means, beyond the daat, to reach a level of ahava Hashem is expected of us. Just as we would never claim that our love for our wives and children is soley based on rational reasons so too we should never claim such a thing about our relationship with Hashem. My advice to the host of this blog he should set up another blog called ad d'lo ya to work on this other element of avodat Hashem, pashut Emuna, pashut Ahava - byond Daat. IF you do this I have no doubt you will have much more success at attaining your Purim mission next year. B'chvod Rav!