Celebrate Purim Safely

February 24, 2015 by Talia Zimmerman
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Talia Zimmerman writes on the importance of drinking safely on Purim…with tips and a tale.

Talia Zimmerman

Talia Zimmerman

On Saturday night, I dressed up as Minnie Mouse for Purim; my friend Sarah disguised herself as a sailor. We parted ways after listening to the megillah in our synagogue, and wished one another a wonderful, safe, Purim.

The following Monday morning, the school bell rang at 8:15 motioning the hallway to clear and classrooms to fill. Mrs. Frankel began writing her Monday morning question on the board while students whispered of exciting highlights from their Purim weekend. Interested to know how Sarah’s night turned out, I turned to her desk to debrief, but she wasn’t there.

Drinking wine on Purim stems from the mitzvah “a person is obligated to drink on Purim until he does not know the difference between ‘cursed be Haman’ and ‘blessed be Mordechai’”, according to the Talmudic Megillah.

With various customs and interpretations on this mitzvah, many consider this a time to drink excessively. For under aged teenagers, as well as adults, drinking a large amount of alcohol on Purim for has become a common way of celebrating the holiday. In such cases, they not only put themselves in dangerous situations, but put others at risk as well.

While numerous health studies show positive effects from legal wine intake, many misinterpret this amount. According to The Israeli Department of Agriculture and Department of Health & Human Services, one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men is recommended. Of course, other factors such as age, height, and body weight affect this precise amount.

According to many different research studies, drinking red wine can reduce the risk of stroke, heart disease, and diabetes. To elaborate on this, Debby Sion, a wine expert from the Golan Heights Winery, adds “many full-bodied red wines, such a Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon and Gamla Merlot contain many antioxidants, including resveratrol. Resveratrol contains key elements which help prevent damage to blood vessels, and prevents blood clots”.

Keeping in mind wine’s long term health benefits, experts of the Golan Heights Winery suggest tips for drinking safely this Purim. One suggestion involves the type of wine to drink. For example, complex wines, such as the Yarden CS, the Yarden Syrah Katzrin Chardonnay not only taste delicious with food, but should be consumed with food for health reasons. Foods, such as meat, cheese and pastries, help breakdown particles in wine easier, absorbing into the bloodstream smoother. Drinking wine with water or other nonalcoholic beverages is highly recommended, which helps contain the blood alcohol content level. If drinking more than one drink, the Golan Heights Winery recommends one drink per hour.

Yael Gai, International Sales and Marketing Manager of the Golan Heights Winery, says “the holiday of Purim is an exciting time for wine lovers to indulge in their favorite wines, but they must do so in moderation. It’s quite difficult to fully appreciate the unique taste of the wine when drinking such an amount in one sitting. If drinking more than one glass this Purim, I would recommend to start with fruitier wines with lighter body which are easier to drink, such as the Mount Hermon wines or the Golan series, following with more complex wines. Regardless of wine choice, refrain from drinking and driving, or any activity which calls for complete awareness”.

For celebratory occasions and holidays, many enjoy the sparkling Hermon Moscato, a bubbly and delicious, low in alcohol content wine. A glass or two of such a wine provides a pleasurable, safe evening for all. This Purim, enjoy the holiday with smart decisions and fulfill the mitzvah in a meaningful manner.

I felt tears streaming down my face as Mrs. Frankel begun her lesson explaining Sarah’s whereabouts that morning. Aside from drinking underage, Sarah consumed an excessive amount of wine and spent the reminder of her Purim in the hospital. Listening to Mrs. Frankel made me feel ill and emotional. I was both terrified and upset with Sarah. Why did she act so irresponsibly on Purim, endangering herself and worrying everyone? In that moment, I decided to choose gratitude; for Sarah’s situation could have ended much worse.


One Response to “Celebrate Purim Safely”
  1. Rabbi Pinchos Woolstone says:

    Imbibing Alcohlol is but one aspect of Purim, there is th giving of food gifts, thegiving of charity, partaking in a festive meal listening to the Megilla and reflecting deeply on its eternal message.
    Excessive drinking which leads to drunkenness and worse still uncontrolled behavior has no place in the Festival.

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