“Sobering” Jewish Quotes on Alcohol and Partying (Pun Intended)
In honor of Purim, the Jewish holiday where many people drink too much alcohol, here are Jewish quotes on alcohol and partying for your reflection and pleasure.
People who drink to drown their sorrow should be told that sorrow knows how to swim.
In a place for wine, pour not forth talk.
-Ben Sirah, Jewish moralist 3rd century B.C.E
In Jewish culture compulsive eating is more likely to be selected as a means of alleviating psychic tensions [than] addictive drinking.
We think life is nicer when you have people to share it with. Whether it is sitting around Sadie’s living room playing mah jong, joining Hadassah or our synagogue’s Sisterhood, a bottle of wine on Tuesdays on Rachel’s couch, or commenting on one another’s Facebook page, Jewish women get by with a little help from their friends.
– Elissa Strauss
Drunk emotions aren’t real emotions.
Like a bird on the wire, / Like a drunk in a midnight choir / I have tried in my way to be free.
Drink no wine nor strong drink, you, nor your sons with you, when you go into the tent of meeting, that you die not; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations.
– Leviticus 10:9
While many Jewish traditions involve alcohol, Jewish culture condemn actual drunkenness.
Drinking alcohol for women can be complicated. Some women drink on Purim and some women do not.
Who has wounds without cause? Who has bloodshot eyes?Those who sit late over wine, those who come to search for mixed wine.Do not look at wine when it is red; when he puts his eye on the cup, it goes smoothly.Ultimately, it will bite like a serpent, and sting like a viper.Your eyes will see strange women, and your heart will speak confusedly.
-King Solomon, Proverbs 23:29-33
“One must drink on Purim until that person cannot distinguish between cursing Haman and blessing Mordechai.” – Megillah 7b
Jewish law recognizes a special blessing on drinking wine, which is said only when people drink together in fellowship – never when they drink alone.
Wine that cheers the hearts of men, oil that makes the face shine, and bread that sustains man’s life.
– Psalms 104:15
Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.
– Proverbs 20:1
Judaism is not for absolute prohibition of alcohol. Wine is an integral part of Jewish ritual. But like all matters in life, Judaism preaches good common sense, necessary restraints and discipline and a social responsibility for the general welfare of all society. Alcohol has to fit in to that pattern.
– Rabbi Berel Wein
If a person drinks excessively for the wrong purpose it can cause immoral conduct and destitution. If however one drinks alcohol in moderation and with the right intentions, it can make the person more moral, become more aware of other people’s needs, and heighten the intellect. – Rabbi Eli Brackman
Bodily harm through intoxication is not a [religious commandment] on Purim.
-Rabbi Judah Issacs
So what is wine? Is it a holy beverage with immense powers, reserved for holy and special occasions? Or is it a destructive agent with the power to bring down mighty people; a substance to be avoided at all costs?
-Rabbi Menachem Posner
Wine’s ability to bring joy is because it relaxes our inhibitions and weakens the body’s natural defenses. This “weakening of the body” allows the soul to shine through.
-Rabbi Menachem Posner
Wine in, secret out.
Wine is the cause of a great deal, and so is childhood.
-Talmud Sota-Rabbi Menachem Posner
Getting drunk in order to escape responsibilities we have to ourselves, to our families, and to those around us, is highly destructive. A person who is in an “escapist” mode is a dangerous person, because very often he is also escaping many of the rules that he would be wise to follow.
– Rabbi Menachem Posner
On her motivation for creating a new line of low-alcohol wines, Dr. Ruth’s Vin D’Amour:
“The biggest concern — and correctly so — is having an erection for men. That is one of the reasons I came out with the wine. It has only 6 percent alcohol. Drink a little because everybody has stress; don’t drink too much. She falls asleep and he can’t have an erection.”
-Dr. Ruth Westheimer
Your turn: Do you have a quote to add to this list? Please add it in the comment section.