Volume 66 Number 33 
      Produced: Sun, 26 Feb 23 16:19:57 -0500

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A Mehadrin Protocol for the halachic obligation of drinking to intoxic 
    [David Tzohar]
Bet Din but not a Rav 
    [Joel Rich]
Halachic Life Insurance 
    [Joel Rich]
Talmudic Period Scholarship Article 
    [Dr. William Gewirtz]


From: David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...>
Date: Tue, Feb 21,2023 at 09:17 AM
Subject: A Mehadrin Protocol for the halachic obligation of drinking to intoxic

The Shulchan Aruch states very clearly (695-2) that we are chayyavim
[halachically obligated] to drink to the point where we are so
intoxicated that we cannot distinguish between "cursed is Haman" and "blessed
is Mordechai". But according to many Rishonim (Rema) and Acharonim (see Mishna
Brura, Orach Chayyim et al) there are many who are not obligated by this
obligation which of course is Rabbinic although the source is Bavli Megilla 7b.
It is still a chovah the same way the four cups of kiddush wine of the seder are
chovah. The older source is Megillat Esther who asks that the holiday be
celebrated "as days of drink (mishteh) and joy". I found one modern source
(Jeffrey Spritzer) who posited that since both Purim and Pesach are festivals it
is enough that the same amount of wine 4 reviyot should be drunk at both festive
meals. However the level of intoxication indicated by the Mechaber would
unlikely be reached.

The Rambam paskens that it is enough to drink more than usual at the feast and
then go to sleep when one cannot consciously say who is Haman and who is
Mordechai. He adds "It is impossible to serve G-D in the midst of frivolity and
drunkenness,and the Mishnah Brura and many of the Torah Giants of our generation
(R' Ovadiah Yosef, R'Ariel, R'Mordechai Eliyahu all ZTZL to name a few are even
more lenient saying it is enough to feel the intoxication of the drink without
falling asleep. The problem is that according to modern psychologists from Freud
to the present day, while asleep even in a dream state we can distinguish
between different feelings including good and evil. Therefore a basically
mentally healthy Jewish man (most authorities say women are exempt (I won't go
into the reasons since they are blatantly not politically correct) cannot
fulfill his chovah by accepting the psak of the Rambam or the Acharonim.*

Haraya Kook interprets the Halacha on a mystical-moral level, saying that all
year the intellect must rule over the emotions but on Purim only with the help
of wine can we let our imagination free without which there is no way to
understand the miracles of a Megilla where the miracles and presence of Hashem
are totally hidden and only hinted at.

I have come to the conclusion that there is a way to perform this mitzvah which
will satisfy both ancient and modern poskim:

1. Doven Mincha as early as possible (in JM approx 12:20), drink enough wine to
be medially intoxicated (for most people between 1/2 and a full bottle of wine.
At this point you should still be able to do Bircat Hamazon or asher yatzar if
need be.

2. In the next hour drink another bottle of wine or 5-6 shots of hard liquor at
least 80 proof or more if you are still able to stand alone.

3. Go to sleep. You should by now be in a state of complete unconsciousness
where you couldn't tell the difference between Mashiach ben David (sheyavo
bimhera beyameinu) and the Satan.

4. Set your clock for Maariv at 6:00. If you still aren't sobre enough to doven,
go back to sleep and doven a tefillat nedava when you wake up.

5. I want to stress that anyone who knows that they get violent or disrespectful
when drunk are totally exempt from drinking on Purim as are the 10-15% of
Ashkenazim who have a genetic disorder that causes an allergic
reaction to even a small amount of alcohol. Large amounts will cause
anaphylactic shock - pikuach nefesh.

6. As I do not consider myself a posek latzibbur ask your LOR for a definitive psak.

Mishenichnas Adar Marbim Besimcha

R'David Yitzchak Tzohar-Yerushalayim                                  .
httpn://tzoharlateiva.blogspot.com/ <http://tzoharlateiva.blogspot.com/>


From: Joel Rich <joelirarich@...>
Date: Fri, Feb 24,2023 at 05:17 AM
Subject: Bet Din but not a Rav

In my Sunday Rambam chabura, we're up to Hilchot Sanhedrin. I've been suggesting
trying to deconstruct the halachot to understand the underlying theories (of
HKBH and Chazal - e.g. predilection to not convict the innocent and why). When
the Rambam (Hilchot Sanhedrin 1:10) lists the role of the 120 people required in
a town to have a Sanhedrin, I noted there is a Bet Din but not a Rav. It
appeared to me that historically (certainly in Talmudic times) the leadership
focus was on the Bet Din and sometime/somewhere it reversed. If so, any idea
when and (to me more importantly) why?

Joel Rich


From: Joel Rich <joelirarich@...>
Date: Tue, Feb 14,2023 at 11:17 PM
Subject: Halachic Life Insurance

My note on an argument as to why one may (should?) buy life insurance:

Just keep in mind that if you think its a good omen to buy insurance because the
insurance company will benefit from your long life (owners are wealthy and the
wealthy have good financial mazal, it would imply that one should not purchase
an annuity since insurance company benefits from early mortality. (You can't
take the actuary out of me)

And then my follow-up thought:

Undoubtedly. It's much like, in my mind, the change in practice about going to
doctors rather than just relying on faith. World changes, and certain risks that
could not be dealt with in the past now can be. But sometimes folks seem to need
halachic cover rather than just accepting that. Chazal were dealing with a
different world.

Your thoughts?

Joel Rich


From: Dr. William Gewirtz <wgewirtz@...>
Date: Tue, Feb 14,2023 at 03:17 PM
Subject: Talmudic Period Scholarship Article

Yisrael Medad (MJ 66#32) asks for reaction to a talmudic period scholarship
article by Simcha Gross about the historicity of what is classically assumed
about Rav and Shmuel.

Retrojection of the present onto the past is rather common in many historical
accounts. Our knowledge of any part of Jewish history is not an exception. Moshe
is called Rabbeinu, a Sanhedrin sat in the days of Dovid, the Rabbis of the
Talmud are just a direct extension of the Perushim, etc. All must be
reconsidered given what we are now discovering; the actual environment around
Rav and Shmuel is no exception. Many of the details of our history must be


End of Volume 66 Issue 33