What is the practical approach towards getting drunk on Purim?
Is it required? To what extent? Are there restrictions or qualifications?
Our Sages state that “one should drink wine until one reaches the point where he can no longer differentiate between “cursed is Haman and blessed is Mordechai.” It is customary to drink at least more than is usual. The main thing, however, is not the amount of drink, but the kavanah (intention) to do the will of Heaven and that all actions reflect that intention. The joy must be simchah shel mitzvah. While it is a mitzvah to drink more than usual during the meal, it is important to remember that we must bentch and do other mitzvos (such as daven Maariv) after the meal.
Someone who is weak by nature, or who knows that drinking will cause him to neglect a mitzvah, a brachah or a tefillah, or that he may act or speak inappropriately, should not drink too much––or even at all.
In many sichos, the Rebbe explains the significance of physically drinking wine on Purim. However, there is much debate whether this applies to wine in the broader sense of all alcoholic beverages, or whether it is strictly reserved to actual wine. Although the basic reason for drinking wine is because the main miracle of Purim transpired through Queen Esther’s wine party; nevertheless, there is room to suggest that all alcoholic beverages have the same halachic status as wine.
In Sichas Zos Chanukah 5739, the Rebbe implies that specifically wine and not any other alcoholic drink should be used on Purim. Similarly, in Sichas Purim 5739, the Rebbe instructed those present to say lechaim on wine specifically.
It goes without saying that a younger chossid should consult with his mashpia as to consuming alcohol as per the Rebbe’s Gezeirah.
On another note, excessive alcohol consumption can cause poisoning and even worse, Heaven forbid. There is also a serious danger to drive under the influence of alcohol. Parents should be aware about the incidence of drinking alcohol among young people and explain to them the dangers involved.
בגדר המצוה – ראה משנ”ת בארוכה בגליון הלכה יומית שי”ל לש”פ ויקרא תשע”ו (גל’ פ).
בנוגע ליין דוקא – ראה יסוש”ה שי”ב פ”ז. גליוני הש”ס מגילה ז, ב (הובא במהדו”ב משיחת פורים תשל”ו – נדפס בקובץ המאור שבט אדר תשמ”ט – הערה 6). שו”ת התעוררות תשובה ח”ג או”ח סתצ”א סק”ב. שבילי דוד סתרצ”ה סק”ג. נימוקי או”ח שם סק”ד בסופו. כה”ח סתרפ”ח סקמ”ה. ערוה״ש סתרצ״ה ס״ה. משנת יעקב שם. שו”ת פאר עץ חיים או”ח סל”ו בסופו. להורות נתן ח”ט סכ”ב. ועוד. וראה הנסמן בס’ לבסומי בפוריא (טיגרמן) פ”ה סק”ב.