Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Pre-Purim Points to Ponder

As we are approaching Purim, I'm going to take a bit of a break from some of my lighter posts and give you some food for thought:
  • In these somber financial times, we might do well to question whether or not any "elaborate" shalach monos packaging is going to have an effect on the amount of matonos l'evyonim that we are able to give. 
  • Drinking in excess is stupid and unnecessary. PERIOD.
  • Giving drinks to minors is ILLEGAL. PERIOD!!!!  (yes, even one little drink... because all the houses before you had the same thought and these boys can get seriously poisoned)
  • NOWHERE is smoking even remotely related to Purim!
  • Parents who throw up their hands and say, "what can I do?" or "boys will be boys" are showing a SUPREME lack of responsibility.  If your child has a propensity for this behavior (did he act out and/or vomit in a public place last year?) it is incumbent upon you to keep him at your side all day long.... even if it cramps your style.  Do not make the community responsible for your child.
Wishing you and your family a SAFE and joyous Purim 

27 comments:

Honestly Frum said...

Thank you for the post. I hope more people will come to their senses about this. I grew up in Flatbush and it was seen by some (unfortunately not as small a minority as it should be) as a sort of "right of passage" to get drunk as young as 10 years old. Pretty sick stuff. Also I hope the yeshivos have the foresight this year, given the economy, to not send limos full of guys to every house they can get into. There are MANY people who can't afford to give anything and may feel pressure to. I think there should be a furlough on it this year and just send envelopes. But that is not going to happen.

Anonymous said...

Well said. Giving $$ to a yeshiva is not even matonas levyonim.

G6 said...

You know you've brought up another point that I didn't touch on but that really disturbs me.
This whole "limo" thing....
What's the purpose? Is it to show us how PRUDENTLY this Yeshiva is going to spend our money?!?!? Do they think that people will be so IMPRESSED that the bochrim arrived in a limo that they'll give MORE?!?!? I truly don't get it....

Honestly Frum said...

I just posted on this.

efrex said...

Gil at "hirhurim"put it quite bluntly a while back... This is truly something that needs to have teeth put in. Any bochur who is caught drunk should be immediately expelled from Yeshiva. Period. This is a matter of pikuach nefesh, and the idea that, in some of our communities, someone can get into more trouble if he's seen walking into a movie theater than if he's causing a public chillul hashem is horrifically troubling.

G6 said...

Great link Efrex and while I agree with you about the Yeshivos needing to take responsibility by enforcing some consequences, it might be difficult to put into practice considering that many of the Rosh Yeshivos are so falling down drunk that not only do they not know the difference between Arur Haman and Boruch Mordechai, they also haven't the foggiest idea as to what is going on with the boys in their establishment - who was taken by hatzoloh, who vomited all over the aron kodesh in the beis medrash... you know LITTLE things like that.....

Mikeinmidwood said...

AHHHHHH!!!!!!! Youre ruining purim for these poor children!!!

ilanadavita said...

Thanks for the reminder. Some parents tend to play down this sort of things, it's a pity/shame.

Anonymous said...

Does eating "Gehengenes mis Sauerkraut" have the same Halocho as smoking?

NOT ANONYMOUS said...

Its a good policy, but not really practical. We are living in a society where kids are out of control all the time, it is sometimes impossible to control a child the entire day, especially of alcohol is available out of the home. It is not beyond reason or fact for a child to go from a seudah to someone else's home, or a shul, if there is a community suedah and drink unsupervised. I am not talking about a little kid, but an older teenager.

And the drinking problem has become systemic year-round, with kiddush clubs and the like. So what we must do is stop glorifying drinking, and talking about it, and perhaps allow a cup of wine a the seudah, so they won't go elsewhere to find it.

BTW, its Purim, lighten up at least one day a year ( Tishha B'Av doesnt count)

G6 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
G6 said...

Not Anonymous -
I am in full agreement that we all need to stop glorifying drinking and that at an appropriate and safe age it is a good idea to teach moderation at the family table, but your snide commentary does not change the reality.
A parent's responsibility for a child does not end once they are born - it extends throughout their lives. It is attitudes such as yours that force the community at large to bear the responsibility for other people's children.
Creating a 'bizoyon' in shul or in a beis medrash or a chillul hashem on the streets (in GOLUS, I might add...) is not a triviality. I see that you did not bother to read the links I posted. I urge you to educate yourself before posting again.

efrex said...

Anyone who cannot have fun on Purim without getting drunk has such serious problems that I don't even know where to begin.

Drinking too much as a rite of passage is something that most teenagers do, true. Implicitly sanctioning it within an ostensibly frum institution is something else entirely.

It is not beyond reason or fact for a child to go from a seudah to someone else's home, or a shul, if there is a community suedah and drink unsupervised
Why not? Do we have so little influence over our shuls, our neighbors, and our community events that we cannot insist that underage drinking not be tolerated there? If so, then we need to find different shuls, neighbors and communities.

cuzzin buzzin said...

maybe I am out of the Heights too long, and the outside influences have overcome my Yekkish sense of propriety, but come on. an older teen who drinks on Purim, and does NOT drive, does NOT go into a coma, and DOES NOT bash his parents physically is really not doing anything so terrible, if during the rest of the year he doesn't partake in glorified kiddush clubs and talk non stop about l'chaims and drinks, etc.

and although for years I have railed against those men who love to be makpid on that mitzva of "ad dl lo yoda" there IS some basis for drinking on Purim.

what I have a problem with is the ease with which underage boys have access to wine and such, from adults who should know better.

don't worry, I will not start saying how wonderful some people are when they are drunk.... though my husband is definitely more outgoing and gregarious on Purim: but we allow that one day since the rest of the year he can't get a word in edgewise....with me or the whole extended family....

cuzzin buzzin said...

efrex, do you have teenage boys?
are they in out of town yeshivos?
do they have any friends or relatives who drink?

I think these are all relevant points regarding teenage boys drinking on Purim

efrex said...

An older teen who drinks a couple of shots at a supervised seudah and sings a little more loudly than usual is one thing; one who swigs with his buddies in a classroom to the point where he's staggering around while his rebbe turns a blind eye to what's happening with his precious charges is quite another.

I'm not saying that Purim should be "dry;" whatever alcohol is consumed, however, should be monitored by responsible adults ("responsible" being synonymous with "sober").

Cuzzin: please explain your second post. I completely fail to see what difference it makes whether someone is in an out-of-town yeshiva or has drinking relatives.

ProfK said...

The fact that we are even discussing 12-year old drunks on Purim is highly distressing. And no, making those same drunks 18+ is not an improvement. Whatever "requirement" there is for drinking on Purim is limited to the seudah, so a hostess can control what is going on by not bringing to the table more than one glass's worth of wine, period. And she can decide who gets that wine as well. Any drinking outside of the seudah is just plain wrong. You want to know how wrong? Ask any member of Hatzalah what their Purim is like and what overindulgence can do to you.

G6 said...

Cuzzin - You are drawing parallels that are not valid. Your husband is a RESPONSIBLE adult (and I don't necessarily say that about all adults {grin}). Teenage boys are "not fully cooked" as they say, and they don't always make responsible choices.

I am fully aware that there is a basis for drinking on Purim and you will find that Purim in our house does inlcude alcohol and merriment (not that the former is required to achieve the latter). But if you read these sources carefully, you will note that this basis that everybody waves in the air ONLY applies to WINE and ONLY applies to the SEUDAH itself.

You mention several things that you feel are “not so terrible”. Let me tell you first off that these terrible things DO happen as a result of teenage drinking on purim and inadequate supervision of said teens. In addition, you neglect to address the issues of chillul Hashem and bizoyon beis haknesses in your comments. If you feel those things don’t exist either, I will gladly show you photographs of vomit spewed all over the beis medrash oron kodesh.
I am so tired of parents saying “it’s not so bad” and “what can we do?”. That’s how this situation came about in the first place. We’re banning the wrong things.

G6 said...

Rabbi Horowitz hits the nail on the head AGAIN!!!

Anonymous said...

In my house we don't drink, nor did we see my parents O"bm drinking. But on Purim, there was Wine by the Purim Seudah & only wine. Then of course, we imbibed!

BTW, have you ever noticed that the Shikkurim of Purim need Grape Juice for the Seder, because they can't handle Wine! Maybe that's why they booze up on Purim, rather than following the Shulchan Aruch!

NOT ANONYMOUS said...

G6, I don't have time to read lengthy articles, I would rather get my information from you and your blog. Information and entertainment, with pics, what a combination.

I understand your point that children are the responsibility of their parents, but unless you are planning to chain them to a chair, it is nearly impossible to completely control teens who want to drink on Purim. Again, I am talking 16+.

If a teenager has a cup of wine at the seudah and slips out during all the merriment of a large sueda, or swipes a bottle off the table, goes into a bedroom, and drinks another 1/2 a bottle, or goes to someone else at the table, and drinks their glass when the parent is looking away, in the kitchen serving, etc. there is no way to control that. There is also no way to control them purchasing alcohol, as they know how to get around the laws.

In fact, a teen that has a mind to drink ANY TIME can get away with it. If the attitude in the house is that on Purim, we will let you drink a little, but there is an understanding that it is limited to Purim, and it is a negotiated trade-off, then it isn't the end of the world. (See Rabbi Horowitz's article for the feasibility of allowing a little supervised wine on Purim, I read a little bit.)

As far as Chillul Hashem and Bizyonus in shul, I agree that once the kids are soused, it is certainly responsibility of the parents to keep them out of shul or at home unless they can behave.
However, if the teenager or young adult is bigger than the parent, then it can be hard to control an unreasonable drunk. You can run that by Hatzola people as well.

Furthermore, one must lead by example for their children and behave in shul ( and on the street) all year, that is the best way to instill in them the sanctity of a shul, not by just telling them.

So the bottom line is to talk to your children beforehand to lay out the ground rules, lead by example, and pray it all works.

G6 said...

Not Anonymous -
Flattery will get you everywhere but the reason I post links is because I don't want to cut and paste on to my blog and I want the content therein to be an integral part of my post.
Your feelings with regard to "controlling" teens saddens me. I think we need to EDUCATE our children from early on so they don't require CONTROLLING later. This can and does work.

Anonymous said...

You can easily control a kid 16+ as long as you make it clear how very and utterly serious you are.

G6 said...

I couldn't agree more.
I just had an epiphany of sorts.
This whole dialogue regarding "controlling" teens is a moot point. It's not about control at all! It's about PARENTAL values - what we as parents see as important enough to address.
I assure you that these same parents who say, "we cannot control our children at this age" would know EXACTLY what to do if their son was found to be going to the movies with girls or texting girls or smoking marijuana....

G6 said...

A Picture is worth 1,000 words....

cuzzin buzzin said...

to clarify:

1. I think boys who are drunk when they go around collecting are encouraged by the people who give them money and booze, so although the boys are responsible, so are the idiots who encourage them with "nu, a little l'chaim"

2. Efrex- what I meant by boys in yeshivos is that they get very caught up with what everyone is doing and a parent far away begging him to be cautious is not as influential as what the whole chevra is doing

3. Wine at a seuda, making merry, and getting tipsy and funny and spouting dvar torah is okay. Our family seuda has 3 real drinkers, but they never vomit on the floor or the food, NEVER use foul language, and in general, are funny.

but to sum up- I can't stand the drinking, the smelly breath that could ignite a match box, kids looking like drunks from the subway, and the loss of control of what you say. The worst thing is a guy who starts blubbering and slobbering about how beautiful and wonderful his wife is, or a drunk who says everything on his mind, (usually true) and embarrasses his family.

We have had neighbors or friends pop in on our seuda, and their drunkenness is , for lack of a better word, gross.

What worries me the most and I agree with G6 and Efrex, etc, is that we are in a culture which doesn't see how bad casual drinking all year round is. I would rather make a big fuss about kiddush clubs, boys drinking in yeshiva, and kids drinking at Kiddushim.

I enjoyed that soapbox stint...

NOT ANONYMOUS said...

G6, flattery IS truly a wonderful device, isn't it? I didn't bring up the control issue, I said it is impossible. However, leading by example is of course the best way to proceed, but even the best made plans don't always pan out, and teenagers are funny creatures who truly think differenty than adults.

Cuzzin Buzzin, can I come to your Seuda and see these paragons of tipsyness?