Rava, Mordechai, and Purim-Drinking

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With Purim right around the corner, it’s time to gear up for “the drinkingest day” on the Jewish calendar. To that end, this week’s podcast/video episode features a discussion with Rabbi Ayalon Eliach on the topic of the most famous statement related to Purim-drinking: “.אמר רבא: מיחייב איניש לבסומי בפוריא עד דלא ידע בין ארור המן לברוך מרדכי Rava said: ‘A person is obligated to become intoxicated on Purim until they cannot tell the difference between cursed is Haman and blessed is Mordechai’” (bMegillah 7b).

Based off of his “Mordechai the Villain: The Untold Story of Drinking on Purim” in Ha’aretz five years ago (and see accompanying Sefaria source sheet), which looks at Rava’s view of Mordechai affecting how “blessed” Rava actually considered Mordechai, as well as his “Where Do Purim ‘Spiels’ Come From?” in Ha’aretz four years ago (and see accompanying Sefaria source sheet), in which he argues how the story that immediately follows in the Talmud is meant to parody Rava’s statement.

As mentioned in the episode, here is a discussion online which not only mentions Rabbi Eliach’s arguments, but also provides other rabbis’ arguments for such thinking, as well.

Here is this week’s episode, in both podcast form and video form (you can also find it on Apple Podcasts):

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