Monday, March 13, 2006
Too bad it's Lent . . .
On Purim day, typically toward evening, a festive meal called Seudat Purim is held, with wine as a prominent beverage. The jovial character of this feast is illustrated in the saying of the Talmud (Meg. 7b) that one should drink on Purim until he can no longer distinguish between the phrases ארור המן ("Cursed is Haman") and ברוך מרדכי ("Blessed is Mordechai"). (In Hebrew, these phrases have the same gematria.) This saying was codified in the authoritative code of Jewish law, the Shulchan Aruch. While Jews have long been noted for a lack of alcohol abuse, drunkenness is licensed on this holiday.