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Chapter 142:6
Purim Gifts and Festive Meal

6. Wine served as a catalyst throughout the saga of the Purim miracle. [For example], [the evil Queen] Vashti was disposed of ("Nitreda") during a wine feast, and Esther took her place [as queen], and similarly, Haman's downfall came about through wine. Therefore, our Sages obligated us to become intoxicated on Purim through wine. [The Talmud in Tractate Megillah 7b] states: "A person is obligated to become intoxicated ("Le'vasumei") on Purim to the extent that he does not know the difference between 'Haman is cursed' and 'Mordechai is blessed.'" At the very least, one should drink more than usual in order to commemorate the great miracle and then fall asleep. Thus, while sleeping, [one will fulfill the criterion of] not knowing the difference between 'Haman is cursed' and 'Mordechai is blessed.'" (1). It is preferable that a person whose constitution is weak ("Chalush B'tivoh"), and similarly, a person who knows that [becoming drunk] will cause him to treat a mitzvah, blessing, or prayer, with disrespect, or will, Heaven forbid, lead to irreverence, should not become drunk. [One's conduct should be motivated by the principle [in the Mishna, Pirkei Avos. 2:12):] "All your deeds should be for the sake of Heaven (Le'sheim Shamayim")" (2).


(1) This is the ruling of the Rama 695:2, and the Mishna Berura in the name of the Pri Megadim (Mishna Berura 695:4). However, the Mishna Berura brings another explanation of the way to fulfill the criteria of not knowing the difference between 'Haman is cursed' and 'Mordechai is blessed,'" namely, that one should drink until one doesn't know which aspect deserves greater praise and joy, Haman's downfall, or Mordechai's successful rise to power (Ibid.).


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