Some of you believe that you have seen me rant before. You believe you have seen me rail at some stupidity. I've let you live with that illusion because I don't think you could have faced what is coming soon. I give fair warning. My ire is getting fired up to mega-temperatures. I'm going to blow and yell and scream and that is only the opening act. Take cover and batten down the hatches because a storm such as you have never imagined is about to let loose its fearsome power.
"Wait!" you yell. "You promised there would be no ranting in Adar." Listen up folks, I have a heter for this rant. And yes, it involves Purim. "But you love Purim!" you wail. Yup, I do indeed love Purim, my Purim. What some people have done to Purim is where my fuse gets lit.
Some people talk about the spirit of Purim. And some addlepated nitwits are far more interested in the "spirits" of Purim. What is supposed to be a holiday has devolved into a yearly excuse for males to get sloshed, hammered, wasted and a good three sheets to the wind. The ugly truth is that they give themselves permission to become drunks.
And they're holier-than-thou drunks at that. "Ad lo Yodoh" is what they sneer at you when you protest. And where are their fathers, their rebbes, their roshei yeshiva? For the most part right there as a part of that merry little band of men set on self-destruction. I heard from a rebbe that one yeshiva a few years back issued instructions to the rebbeim of the yeshiva that when their talmidim came to see them on Purim, they should not have hard liquor on the table. Wine and beer were permitted "in moderation." Yup, that sure is going to solve the problem. Like you can't get drunk on wine and beer.
And just where the hell are the wives and mothers during all this debauchery? Mostly standing in the corners where they have been shoved by "Ad lo Yodoh" chanting males. That doesn't get them off the hook. My mother always told me regarding marriage "Pick your battles." This is one battle that every wife and mother should be picking.
The drinking starts out Purim night right after Megillah leining and doesn't stop until the next night at the parties all the boy's yeshivas have. Perfect recipe for disaster. Take a male who has fasted all day and then let him hit the liquor. Yup, that's a start. Now let's put some of those males into groups that are going to go around collecting for yeshivot and tzedaka organizations. And let's have the hosts in all the houses they go to to collect offer them a drink because "it's Purim after all." Let them go visit their rebbeim, where the refreshment is liquid. Let them go deliver shalach monos for their families and be "rewarded" with a shot of something fiery. It's only "one" shot after all. Let them sit down to a seudah at a groaning table filled with food, and filled with bottles. And then let them go over to their yeshivot to top off the day.
And hey, let's not worry about how old those males are or aren't--"dinai d'malchuso dinai" doesn't apply to drinking on Purim. So why not have teenagers who three days later will have no recollection of Purim or what they did on Purim. Imagine living long enough to see the wonders of an intoxicated 12 year old.
And for sure let's not worry about letting those inebriated louts behind the wheel of a car. What's an accident or two or three when it's Purim you are talking about. And please, don't talk to me about designated drivers or hiring a car and driver. Re the designated drivers, if you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you. (When wives are the designated drivers that is a different story.) Even where the driver actually never takes a drink, you think he can really concentrate when he has a car full of males who are feeling no pain? Not exactly easy to concentrate on traffic when you have a car full of boys singing shoshanas Yaakov at the top of their lungs while they clap,jump and wriggle in joy. Or when they are throwing up on themselves, the car and all the other occupants. Seatbelts? What's that?
Yup, our younger children are sure getting educated when they walk the streets in their Purim costumes and have to detour around older bochrim throwing up in some poor unsuspecting homeowner's front bushes or have to step around piles of vomit that litter the sidewalk. Yup, they sure are getting educated when excess alcohol loosens the tongues and the loshon gets to X-rated. Yup, they sure are getting educated as they watch the supposed male adults around them turning green and then with their heads buried in toilet bowls.
Just who the hell do these males think they are kidding with their religious posturing as cover for the nasty excesses of their drinking? This is the face of frum Klal that the world is supposed to see?
Wonder how they would feel about their stupidity if they had to wake up out of their drunken stupor to find out that they had killed someone? It's happened before and it will happen again unless someone, a lot of someones, pull the plug on drunk as synonymous with Purim. I had a student whose family found this out the very hard way. A teenage son, a group collecting tzedaka, a van full of inebriated males and a very bad accident. And a 14 year old and a 16 year old dead because no one had the guts to say Jews shouldn't do it this way. And oh so unfortunately this is not the only case on record. I paid a shiva call to this family and I pray to God that I should never ever have to see another mother and father looking like these parents did.
Fortunately Purim is on a Friday this year so some of the drunken revelry is going to have to be curtailed. Awww, my heart just bleeds for those poor guys who might not get to tie one on, who just might not have a three-day hangover.
It's not Purim yet but I promise you this now: I won't let up between now and then. Klal Yisroel has lots of problems that are going to require years and years before they can be fixed. Getting drunk on Purim is not one of those problems. It can be solved right here, and right now. Because women, you are going to stop being enablers and put your very considerable powers behind stopping the insanity. Yes, this is your problem too. Those of you men who don't drink at all? When you laugh at your friends' antics, when you let them do the stupid things they do then this is also your problem. And drinking men? You are going to look at what you do and finally stop hiding behind "Ad lo Yodoh." This isn't about Haman and Mordechai. This is about you. And frankly, when you put on the costume of drunkard I don't like you very much, no I don't like you at all.