(HEBREW SOURCE TEXTS BELOW) Thanks to R' Asher Meza for sharing some of these sources with me, as well as what I found on conversationsinklal.blogspot.com/2008/02/rambam-on-drinking-on-purim.html | ENGLISH: chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/682956/jewish/Mishneh-Torah.htm (Quotes in Hebrew found below are from mechon-mamre.org)
Hilkhoth Megillah w-Hanukka (Laws of Purim & Hanukka)
One does not fulfill his obligation by having a Purim feast at night.
Halacha 16 [15 in Vilna]
What is the nature of our obligation for this feast? A person should (lit: shall) eat meat and prepare as attractive a feast as his means permit. He drinks wine until he becomes intoxicated and he should (lit: shall) fall asleep upon intoxication.
The drinking is within the context of the Purim meal; no halakhic justification to do so at night;
Hilkhoth De'oth 5:3 states, "Drink taken together with food does not inebriate."
Obligation fulfilled with wine specifically; not with other alcholic beverages. See also Yom Tov 6:17 [Vilna - 6:18]
One drinks 'UNTIL' the point of intoxication, not beyond that point.
Future tense is often used as an imperative. Just as yokhal means 'should eat,' yeradem means 'should sleep;'
Accurate manuscripts: one should fall asleep "b-shikhrut" (at intoxication), not "m-shikhruto" (from intoxication).
"b-shikhrut" can mean 'upon intoxication' or 'at the point of intoxication.'
It is not possible to serve God while drunk (Yom Tov 6:20); therefore one must stop drinking before this point.
There are different types or stages of shikhrut, drunkenness.
The average individual reaches the first stage of inebriation upon drinking a revi'it of wine (Hilkhoth Tefilla 5:17).
When there is a doubt regarding a Rabbinic decree, one should be lenient.
When there is a doubt regarding Torah law, one should be strict.
Drunkenness is part of Torah prohibition 195, as well as prevents the Torah command to serve God with joy.
Drunkenness endangers one's life and the life of those in one's environment, another Torah prohibition.
One must have enough clarity of mind to fulfill the miswa d-oraitha of birkath ha-Mazon following the Purim feast.
It is forbidden to get drunk to the extent that one would not have intention in prayer for birkath ha-Mazon, or to the extent that one would not have control of himself. One begins to approach such drunkenness after drinking a bit more than a revi'it, depending on body type, how quickly one drinks, and together with how much food. One who goes beyond the first stage of intoxication, or being tipsy, and becomes mentally impared with drunkenness, is a sinner, as stated in the following halakha:
Hilkhoth De'oth (Laws of Character)
When a wise man drinks wine, he drinks only enough to soften the food in his stomach.
Whoever becomes drunk is a sinner, is shameful, and will lose his wisdom. If he becomes drunk before the common people, he desecrates God's Name. It is forbidden to drink even a small quantity of wine in the afternoon hours, unless it is taken together with food. Drink taken together with food does not make one drunk. Only wine that is taken after the meal is to be avoided.
Hilkhoth Shevitath Yom Tov (Laws of Holiday Rest)
When a person eats, drinks, and celebrates on a festival, he should not let himself become overly drawn to drinking wine, amusement, and silliness, saying, "whoever indulges in these activities more is increasing [his observance of] the mitzvah of rejoicing." For drunkenness, and excessive amusement and silliness are not rejoicing; they are frivolity and foolishness. And we were not commanded to indulge in frivolity or foolishness, but rather in rejoicing that involves the service of the Creator of all existence. Thus, [Deuteronomy 28:47] states, "Because you did not serve God, Your Lord, with happiness and a glad heart with an abundance of prosperity." This teaches us that service [of God] involves joy. And it is impossible to serve God while in the midst of levity, frivolity, or drunkenness.
The [Jewish] court is obligated to appoint officers who will circulate [among the people] on the festivals and check the gardens, orchards, and river banks to see that men and women do not gather there to eat or to drink, lest they [conduct themselves immodestly and come to] sin. Similarly, they must warn the people that men and women should not mix at festive gatherings in homes, nor should they overindulge in wine, lest they be led to sin.
Hilkhoth Tefilla (Laws of Prayer)
A person who is drunk should not pray, because he cannot have proper intention. If he does pray, his prayer is an abomination. Therefore, he must pray again when he is clear of his drunkenness. One who is slightly inebriated should not pray, [but] if he prays, his prayer is prayer.
When is a person considered as drunk? When he is unable to speak before a king. [In contrast,] a person who is slightly inebriated is able to speak before a king without becoming confused. Nevertheless, since he drank a revi'it of wine, he should not pray until his wine has passed from him.
Hilkhoth Bi'ath ha-Miqdash (Laws of Temple Pilgrimage)
Just as a priest is forbidden to enter the Temple due to drunkenness (shikhrut), so too, it is forbidden for any person, whether priest or Israelite, to render a halachic ruling when he is intoxicated (shatuy). [...]
When a person drank precisely a revi'it and it was diluted with the slightest amount of water, he slept a bit, or he walked a mil, the effects of the wine will have worn off and he is permitted to serve [in the Temple]. If, however, he drank more than a revi'it even if it was diluted, sleeping slightly or journeying adds to his drunkenness (shikhrut). Depending on how intoxicated (shikhrut) he was, he must wait until there is no trace of his drunkenness (shikhrut) whatsoever.
Hilkhoth Neziruth (Laws of Nazarites)
Similarly, if a drunken man was given a cup to make him totally inebriated and he said: "I am a nazirite from it," he is forbidden to drink only that cup, but he is not a nazirite. [The rationale is that his intent was] only that they should not have him become overly drunk. If he was as drunk as Lot his statements are of no consequence and he is not liable for any transgression that he performs. For when he reaches a state of inebriation equivalent to Lot's, he is not liable at all.
Hilkhoth Ishuth (Laws of Marriage)
When a drunk gives [a woman] kiddushin, they are valid, even if he is very drunk. If he reaches a state of drunkenness comparable to that of Lot, the kiddushin are of no consequence. This matter requires ample deliberation.
"And they made their father drink wine that night. And the first-born went in, and lay with her father; and he knew not when she lay down, nor when she arose."
Roseyahh u-Shmirath ha-Nefesh (Laws on Murder and Guarding Life)
Similarly, it is a positive mitzvah to remove any obstacle that could pose a danger to life, and to be very careful regarding these matters, as Deuteronomy 4:9 states: "Beware for yourself; and guard your soul." If a person leaves a dangerous obstacle and does not remove it, he negates the observance of a positive commandment, and violates the negative commandment: "Do not cause blood to be spilled."
Hilkhoth Yesodei ha-Torah (Laws of Torah Foundations)
[Leviticus 18:5] states concerning the mitzvot: "which a man will perform and live by them." [They were given so that] one may live by them and not die because of them. If a person dies rather than transgress, he is held accountable for his life.
Hilkhoth Mamrim (Laws of Rebillious Judges)
The following rules apply when there are two sages or two courts that have differing opinions in an age when there was no Supreme Sanhedrinor during the time when the Supreme Sanhedrin was still undecided concerning the matter - whether in one age or in two different ages - one rules that an article is pure and one rules that it is impure, one forbids an article's use and one permits it. If one does not know in which direction the law tends, should the matter involve a question of Scriptural Law, follow the more severe opinion. If it involve a question of Rabbinic Law, follow the more lenient opinion.
NEGATIVE COMMANDMENT 195
Not to eat or drink like a glutton and a drunkard, as [Deuteronomy 21:20] states: "This son of ours is a glutton and a drunkard."
טז [טו] כיצד חובת סעודה זו--שיאכל בשר ויתקן סעודה נאה, כפי אשר תמצא ידו; ושותה יין, עד שישתכר ויירדם בשכרות.
הלכות דעות פרק ה
ה [ג] כשהחכם שותה יין, אינו שותה אלא כדי לשרות אכילה שבמעיו. וכל המשתכר, הרי זה חוטא ומגונה ומפסיד חכמתו; ואם משתכר בפני עמי הארץ, הרי זה חילל את השם. ואסור לשתות בצוהריים ואפילו מעט, אלא אם היה בכלל האכילה, שהשתייה שבכלל האכילה אינה משכרת, ואין נזהרין אלא מיין שלאחר המזון.
הלכות שביתת יום טוב פרק ו
יט [כ] כשאדם אוכל ושותה ושמח ברגל, לא יימשך ביין ובשחוק ובקלות ראש ויאמר שכל שיוסיף בזה ירבה במצוה, שהשכרות והשחוק הרבה וקלות הראש, אינה שמחה אלא הוללות וסכלות. ולא נצטווינו על ההוללות והסכלות, אלא על השמחה שיש בה עבודת יוצר הכול, שנאמר "תחת, אשר לא עבדת את ה' אלוהיך, בשמחה, ובטוב לבב" (דברים כח,מז), הא למדת שהעבודה בשמחה. ואי אפשר לעבוד את ה'--לא מתוך שחוק, ולא מתוך קלות ראש, ולא מתוך שכרות.
כ [כא] חייבין בית דין להעמיד שוטרים ברגלים, שיהיו מסבבין ומחפשין בגינות ובפרדסים ועל הנהרות, כדי שלא יתקבצו לאכול ולשתות שם אנשים ונשים, ויבואו לידי עבירה. וכן יזהירו על דבר זה לכל העם, כדי שלא יתערבו אנשים ונשים בבתים לשמחה, ולא יימשכו ביין, שמא יבואו לידי עבירה.
הלכות תפילה פרק ד
יז שיכור--אל יתפלל, מפני שאין לו כוונה; ואם התפלל, תפילתו תועבה--לפיכך חוזר ומתפלל, כשיתרונן משכרותו. שתוי, אל יתפלל; ואם התפלל, תפילתו תפילה. איזה הוא שיכור, ואיזה הוא שתוי--שיכור, זה שאינו יכול לדבר בפני המלך; ושתוי, שיכול לדבר בפני המלך ואינו משתבש. אף על פי כן, הואיל ושתה רביעית יין--לא יתפלל, עד שיסור יינו מעליו.
הלכות ביאת המקדש פרק א
ד [ג] וכשם שאסור לכוהן להיכנס למקדש מפני השכרות, כך אסור לכל אדם בין כוהן בין ישראל להורות כשהוא שתוי
ו [ה] שתה כדי רביעית בלבד, והיה בה מים כל שהוא, או ישן מעט, או הלך כדי מיל--כבר עבר היין, ומותר לעבוד. אבל אם שתה יותר מרביעית, אפילו מזוג--שינת מעט או הדרך מוסיפין בשכרותו; אלא ישהה לפי השכרות, עד שלא יישאר משכרותו שום דבר בעולם.
הלכות נזירות פרק א
יא [יב] וכן שיכור שנתנו לו כוס כדי לרוותו, ואמר הריני נזיר ממנו--הרי זה אסור באותו הכוס בלבד, ואינו חייב בנזירות: שלא נתכוון זה, אלא שלא ישכרו אותו יותר מדיי. ואם הגיע לשכרותו של לוט--אין דבריו כלום, ואינו חייב על כל עבירה שיעשה: שמשהגיע לשכרותו של לוט, אינו בן חיוב.
הלכות אישות פרק ד
יח שיכור שקידש--קידושיו קידושין, ואף על פי שנשתכר הרבה. ואם הגיע לשכרותו של לוט, אין קידושיו קידושין; ומתיישבין בדבר זה.
ה וכן כל מכשול שיש בו סכנת נפשות--מצות עשה להסירו ולהישמר ממנו ולהיזהר בדבר יפה יפה, שנאמר "הישמר לך ושמור נפשך" (דברים ד,ט). ואם לא הסיר, והניח המכשולות המביאין לידי סכנה--ביטל מצות עשה, ועבר על "לא תשים דמים" (דברים כב,ח).
הלכות יסודי התורה פרק ה
א שנאמר במצוות, "אשר יעשה אותם האדם וחי בהם" (ויקרא יח,ה)--ולא שימות בהם. ואם מת ולא עבר, הרי זה מתחייב בנפשו.
הלכות ממרים פרק א
ט משבטל בית דין הגדול, רבתה מחלוקת בישראל: זה מטמא ונותן טעם לדבריו, וזה מטהר ונותן טעם לדבריו; זה אוסר, וזה מתיר. [ה] שני חכמים או שני בתי דינין שנחלקו שלא בזמן הסנהדרין, אם עד שלא הגיע הדבר להן--בין בזמן אחד, בין בזה אחר זה--אחד מטמא ואחד מטהר, אחד אוסר ואחד מתיר: אם אין אתה יודע להיכן הדין נוטה--בשל תורה, הלוך אחר המחמיר; ובשל דברי סופרים, הלוך אחר המקל.
מצוות לא תעשה
קצה שלא לאכול ולשתות דרך זולל וסובא, שנאמר "בננו זה . . . זולל, וסובא" (דברים כא,כ).
[Safety takes priority; Candles should not go unattended. Placing menorah in a glass case is a good precaution, and protects flames from wind.]
A commemoration of God’s providence and faithfulness towards the faithful of His People, this 8 day holiday is called Hanukkah, meaning dedication, in reference to the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem in the second century BCE, under the leadership of the priestly warriors known as the Hashmonaiyim.
In the aftermath of defeating the Hellenist persecutors of God’s people, the Hashmonaiyim found the Holy Temple defiled. When they wished to rekindle the holy menorah that is kept within the Temple, they realized there was only enough olive oil in a state of purity to sustain the menorah’s light for a single day. …but the oil remained lit for 8 days, just enough time for preparation of more olive oil in a state of ritual purity, to begin sustaining the menorah’s light perpetually. We therefore celebrate the victory of the righteous of Israel over the oppressive seed of Abraham who had removed themselves from God’s people by defiling themselves through embracing the ‘enlightened’ culture of the ancient Greeks rather than heeding the eternal guidance of our G-d, the Torah.
Given that again in modern times myriads of Jews have abandoned Torah, make the principles of secular-humanism their religion and join hands with those who most passionately fight against even those principles of our Torah that have spread among the nations, the significance of Hanukkah’s true meaning is no less meaningful today than it was over 2,000 years ago.
Do you call yourself a Jew? Did you know that the word Jew, Yehudi, means one who worships and proclaims Yah, the Transcendent Lord of creation? If we call ourselves Jews, we must act according to what the word means. Otherwise, it means nothing.
Let us not be bashful or ashamed to publicly proclaim the sovereignty of Elohei Yisroel, the God of Israel, this and every year, by making the light of Torah known through the lighting of the Hanukkah candle. It’s time to rededicate ourselves to our God, and to learn from the Hashmonaiyim that prayer is only part of bringing about the redemption. We must also take action to sanctify the Name of the Holy One of Israel, to be compassionate toward the downtrodden, and valiant in the face of corruption.
Israelite men, women, proselytes, and freed servants, are all obligated in the lighting of the Hanukah candle upon reaching majority, which is 12 for girls and 13 for boys. (compare Hil. Meg. & Han. 3,4 to 1,1; see further 4,9)
Children below this age can be taught to recite the blessings and light their own Hanukkah candles for educational purposes; and it is praiseworthy to do so. However, one cannot not fulfill his obligation to light by relying on a Hanukah candle lit by a child – a girl under 12 or a boy under 13. The one who lights represents those of his household who are obligated in lighting. They fulfill their obligation by relying upon him and say the approriate blessing upon seeing the menorah lit, just as with the obligation to light candles before Shabbath. If, for whatever reason the husband or father is not home, the wife blesses and lights, or one of the children who have reached bar / bath miswa age (13 for males; 12 for females).
The light of Hanukkah should be placed right outside the entrance to one’s home, at least a handbreadth near the entrance itself, on the left side of the entrance as one enters the home, so that the mezuzah will be on the right side of the entrance and the light of Hanukkah on the left.
If there are multiple entrances to one’s home visible to the public, a Hanukah candle should be placed at each such entrance.
If one doesn’t live ground level, the light of Hanukkah should be placed in a window that faces where the public can see it. A Hanukkah candle that was placed higher than 20 cubits up will not be seen, and is therefore of no consequence.
In circumstances where public display of the Hanukkah candle would be dangerous, one places it inside one’s home, even on one’s own table. However, in such a case, there must be another source of light in addition to the Hanukkah candle, because we are not to use the Hanukkah candle for any other purpose other than to proclaim the providence of God.
Hanukkah lights should be lit as the sun is disappearing from the horizon. They should not be lit neither earlier nor later than sundown. However, if a person forgot, was prevented, or simply transgressed and delayed, he can still light the Hanukkah lights so long as people are still going about in the public places. If people have ceased going about for the night, the Hanukkah light should not be lit.
When lighting the Hanukkah lights, there should be enough oil or wax to keep the flame going until people are no longer to be found going about outside. Historically, this was until roughly half an hour after sunset.
If the flame went out before people ceased going about outside, one need not light it a second time. If the flame remained alit even after people ceased going about outside, one may extinguish it or move it to another place, as he desires.
Concerning the Sabbath, one must make certain to light the Hanukkah candle BEFORE sunset, and not wait until the last minute. If the sun already set, one is forbidden to light the Hanukkah candle that night, regardless of whether one delayed intentionally or unintentionally.
Similarly, one must make sure not the light the Hanukkah candle at sunset as the Sabbath ends. Rather, at the conclusion of the Sabbath, one must wait until the appearance of three average sized stars before he is permitted to light the Hanukkah candle. The havdala service should take priority, and then the Hanukkah candle lit.
The most basic manner in which one is permitted to observe the lighting of Hanukkah candles is that one light only one candle each night of Hanukkah. According to this method, each household lights only one candle in the appropriate place each night of Hanukkah, regardless of how many people dwell in the home.
One who desires to fulfill the duty of lighting Hanukkah candles more beautifully does so by lighting a number of candles in according to the number of people in his home, whether male or female. If four people dwell in his home, he lights four candles each night, so that even on the 8th night of Hanukkah he only lights four candles, just as he lit four candles on the first night. If there are fight people who dwell in his home, then every night of Hanukkah, he lights only five candles.
However, a person who wants to fulfill the duty of lighting Hanukkah candles in the ideal manner will do as follows:
One the first night, he will light a number of candles according to the number of people dwelling in his home. If four people, four candles. If five people, five candles. However, unlike the previous method, in this choicest manner of lighting, he will each night add more candles according to the number of people in his home. So if his household consists of four people, the first night he lights four candles, the second night eight candles, and so forth, until by the 8th night he lights 32 candles. And if five people dwell in his home, the first night he lights five candles, the second night ten candles, and so forth, adding an additional 5 candles every night, so that by the 8th night he lights 40 candles.
Despite these methods of lighting taught by our Sages, the widespread practice is to light in the following manner, with slight variance depending on whether the family is Ashkenazi or Sefaradi:
Regardless of the number of people dwelling in one’s home, the following pattern is followed…
On the first night only one candle is lit. On the second night two candles are lit – an additional candle added to the left of the location where the lone candle was lit on the first night. On the third night three candles are lit, with one candle added to the left of the location where the new candle was lit on the 2nd night. This pattern is followed so that by the 8th night, a total of 8 Hanukkah candles are lit. Each night care is taken that distinct candle is added near the Hanukkah lights to ensure that if we benefit from the light of the location, we will be benefiting from the non-Hanukkah candle, because we are not to use the Hanukkah candles for purposes other than the proclamation of the miracle of Hanukkah.
As mentioned earlier, this extra non-Hanukkah candle, which is called the “shamash,” is only required by halakha in the case that one lights in his home.
Would it be that we give consideration and priority to the guidance of our ancient Sages over that of popular practice.
Our Sages ordained that the 8 days of Hanukkah be days of rejoicing and praise. In addition to lighting the Hanukkah candles, they are also to be days free of lamentation or fasting.
During these 8 days, we make a special addition to our daily prayers. We add words of gratitude and recollection of the events surrounding the Hashmonaiyim in the 18th blessing of the Amida, as well as in the 2nd blessing of the Grace After Meals, Birkath ha-Mazon. In the spirit of gratitude and proclaiming God’s greatness during this time, there are also special Torah readings done during communal worship all 8 days of Hanukkah.
And just as with the Biblically mandated Holy Days, our Sages also decreed that whether one prays alone or with the community, Ps. 113-118 be recited in full, in praise of the Living God, our Deliverer, and preceded with the blessing:
This is the first in a series intended to guide you step by step toward increased knowledge and observance of the Divinely mandated observance of the Rabbinic decrees concerning Purim, as systematized by the Divinely ordained Court of ancient Israel.
The following information is for those who, having already embraced our Creator’s everlasting Guidance through Moses, the first and final prophet of immutable Divine Law, are now ready to take the next step; so take notes! We are called to live a faith of action.
PURIM: Sovereignty Over Chance
Purim, the "14th of Adar," falls on these Gregorian dates:
Feb. 23 - 24, 2013 (Sat. night till Sun. night)
Mar. 15 -16, 2014 (Sat. night till Sun. night)
Mar. 4 - 5, 2015 (Wed. night till Thur. night)
Mar. 23 - 24, 2016 (Wed. night till Thur. night)
Mar. 11 - 12, 2017 (Sat. night till Sun. night)
In places that were walled cities during the time of Joshua bin Nun, such as Jerusalem and surrounding neighborhoods, Purim is celebrated on the 15th of Adar, the day after the dates provided above.
As we emphasize again and again, although the decisions of the Divinely ordained Court of ancient Israel do not stand alone with independent authority, as is the case with God's direct commandments, yet still, it is God's direct command that we uphold the instructions of the ancient Court. To remind ourselves of this, we frequently state the blessing "Who commanded us concerning..." even when fulfilling Rabbinicly mandated duties. In doing so, we assure that we are upholding these Rabbinic decrees not because of any independent authority of some random rabbis, but rather due to the authority that God granted to that specific body of judges to render decisions concerning the religious observances of God's People.
And so, in commemoration of the miracle of God's behind-the-scenes intervention during Esther's time as Queen of Persia, and for the purpose of educating ourselves and our children that God's hidden miracles are just as wondrous and significant as His open miracles, that we should not loose faith even when we're asking ourselves "Where is God in all our trials?", we bless God before the recitation of the Scroll of Esther, "Worshipful are You [...] Who commanded us concerning recitation of the Megilla-scroll." This Rabbinic obligation is incumbent upon males and females alike.
Reading the Megillah (qeri'ath megilla)
The Scroll of Esther is to be read in its entirety twice every Purim. It should be read once during the nighttime hours of Purim, and once during the daylight hours of Purim. The obligation can be fulfilled by simply listening to someone else read the Megilla aloud, on the condition that the one reading is himself a member of the Covenant and he is reading from a kosher scroll. Each person, whether male or female, must read the Megilla himself if no one else is available to read the Megilla for him.
The Scroll of Esther should be recited from a copy of the Book of Esther written on either kelaf parchment or gawil parchment. If you do not have a Scroll of Esther on hand that fulfills these and other requirements, nor any synagogue where you could hear it read, it is still appropriate to read the Book of Esther even from a regular book rather than not to hear it at all. If you will be reading it from a regular book or from a non-kosher scroll, simply make sure not to say the special blessings before and after the recitation. These blessings should only be said before and after reading from a kosher Scroll of Esther. With God's help, next year you will be able to hear the Scroll of Esther read in the proper manner.
In celebration of God's deliverance, we "walk in His ways" by likewise showing benevolence towards others especially on this day of Purim. How so?
Each person must show benevolence towards at least three people on Purim:
One should send two helpings of food to his fellow, either two helpings of meat, two helpings of some other cooked dish, or two of any other kind of food.
In addition to sending food to one's fellow man, we are obligated to distribute to at least two poor people either a gift, monies, or servings of cooked food or any sort of food in general.
Although it is praiseworthy to increase in the sending of food-gifts to friends, it is even better to increase in the giving of gifts to the poor. So, although we must give food-gifts to at least one regular fellow, if we want to give gifts to even more friends, we should likewise increase in the giving of charity to the poor; for there is no greater rejoicing and celebration than this: to gladden the hearts of the poor, the orphans, widows, and converts. One who gladdens the heart of one of these down-cast is likened to the Shekhina, as Isaiah 57,15 states, "...to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to enliven the heart of the downtrodden."
In addition to the sending and giving of gifts, each household is to celebrate with a fancy festive meal that includes (kosher!) meat, according to one's financial means. [If you're just beginning in your journey of Torah observance, it is better to not include meat or wine than to celebrate Purim by eating non-Kosher meat or non-Kosher wine.] This festive meal should be held during the daylight hours of Purim. One should only drink wine up to the point of the first level of intoxication (a little lightheadedness), and then take a nap. Drinking to a point where you would not be able to have intention while reciting the Blessing After Meals constitutes a transgression of Torah. Our Sages had strong words to say concerning such behavior. If possible, you should invite any poor people you may know to take part in this festive meal. Doing so can count towards your giving gifts to the poor. The atmosphere of the meal should be one of rejoicing in God's deliverance, not an orgy of drunkenness as has sadly become widespread. Our goal is to magnify God in our rejoicing, and thereby draw others to appreciate His Greatness the same.
Blessed is the Redeemer of Israel.
(Barukh Go'al Yisra'el)
R' Yosef Eliyah
Complete drunkeness is forbidden by halakha and is even part of an explicit Torah prohibition. Advocating excessive drinking, to the point that one falls asleep from the alcohol, is a serious violation of the Torah. Studies show that most people only lose consciousness at a BAC (Blood Alochol Concentration) of .40; That's just .05 away from a BAC that is fatal in roughly 50% of the population! Those who advocate such absturdity are guilty of endangering people's very lives.
One must also make certain that no alcoholics are present when the drinking of wine occurs. Individuals who have successfully abandoned alcoholism are included. For such people, simply being in the presence of open alcohol is a serious threat to their sobriety. Even mild drinking in the presence of such people is equivalent to "placing a stumbling block before the blind" (Lev. 19,14). No drinking should take place in their presence. It is possible to postpone drinking wine until they depart, or abstain from alcohol altogether, having advised people before hand that they should fulfill the wine aspect of Purim elsewhere - not in the presence of alcoholics. Drink grape juice instead. Torah is supposed to restore the soul, not restore alcoholism.
This is the second in a series intended to guide you step by step toward increased knowledge and observance of the Divinely mandated observance of the Rabbinic decrees concerning Purim, as systematized by the Divinely ordained Court of ancient Israel.
The following information is for those who, having already embraced our Creator’s everlasting Guidance through Moses, the first and final prophet of immutable Divine Law, are now ready to take the next step; so take notes! We are called to live a faith of action.
Here we want to provide a few more details in Purim observance:
Additions To Prayer
1) Blessing After Meals (Birkath ha-Mazon)
A special addition is added to the second blessing of Birkath ha-Mazon, the four part prayer recited after eating a bread based meal on any day of the week. Birkath ha-Mazon can be found on page 81 in our English siddur or on page 94 in our Hebrew siddur. The place where the special Purim addition is to be added is indicated in brackets. When one reaches the words in brackets that state "Purim addition here," he recites the Purim addition that can be found on page 82 in our English siddur and on page 95 in our Hebrew siddur. Once you've recited the Purim addition, you should then continue reciting Birkath ha-Mazon where you left off, completing the second blessing of Birkath ha-Mazon and continuing on to the third and fourth blessings.
IF the Purim addition to the second blessing of Birkath ha-Mazon was not recited, one should not repeat Birkath ha-Mazon a second time in order to recite the Purim addition.
2) The "Standing Prayer" (the "Amida")
The same special Purim addition that is added to the second blessing of Birkath ha-Mazon is likewise added to the eighteenth blessing of the "Standing Prayer," the central daily prayer that is said in correlation to the daily sacrificial services in the Temple. Just as with Birkath ha-Mazon, when you arrive to the words in brackets stating "Purim addition here," skip to page 82 in the English siddur or to page 95 in the Hebrew siddur. Once you've recited the Purim addition, you should then continue reciting the "Standing Prayer" where you left off.
IF the Purim addition to the Amida was not recited, one should not repeat the Amida a second time in order to recite the Purim addition.