Purim is, without doubt, the strangest of all Jewish holidays. We dress up in masks and go around hootin’ and hollerin’ (as we used to say in Mississippi) whenever we hear the name of Haman. We have a carnival and celebrate our salvation from certain demise at the hand of clueless king, Ahashverosh, and his conniving Prime Minister, Haman.
There are some interesting traditions and laws that Purim has given rise to. There are laws about the reading of the Megillah, the place of certain prayers on the holiday, what is and is not permitted to be done during Purim, and so forth. But the strangest of all laws is the law that says that we are supposed to get so drunk we can’t tell the difference between Haman and Mordechai, the bad guy and the good guy of the story.
This has given rise to the myth that, because we allow this public drunkenness once a year, it must mean that Jews don’t drink. There are no Jewish alcoholics. Jews don’t use drugs. There are no Jewish abusers. You will never find a Jewish addict. I still hear this every so often.
Don’t believe the myth. It is a complete lie.
There are just as many Jewish substance abusers per capita as there are in the non-Jewish world. You know them. But you might not know you know them. Or maybe you know someone in recovery. Whatever your experience with substance abuse you should remember that Jews are just as prone as anyone else.
We know that alcoholism is a disease and it must be treated as a disease. But too many people are afraid to ask for help. I get that. So I have made available a link at the top of this page that you can use to begin your journey for help if you are one of those who is looking for help but don’t know where or how to start. Of course, you can reach out to me at any time.
The myth that Jews don’t drink is bogus. It is truly ‘fake news.’
There are other ways to enjoy Purim than getting drunk. Eat more hamentashen or stuff yourself with our Purim Carnival hot dogs! Come enjoy Purim with your congregation. There is no reason to put your recovery away for even an hour. Skip the Jewish tradition of getting drunk. Embrace the Jewish tradition of choosing life.