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Spirits of the Law

Written by הרב דניאל קירש, 25/3/2019


Spirits of the Law


Yosef was packing his bag to go back to yeshiva, when his father walked into the room.

“I hope you have a great time in yeshiva on Purim,” Yosef’s father began. “And I’ll be waiting for a call from you, after Purim, to let me know that you didn’t get drunk!”

Yosef was startled. Not get drunk on Purim? But it’s a mitzva! And yet, what about the mitzva of honoring his father?

Answer of Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt”l:

Yosef is obligated to obey his father. Despite the fact that a son is generally supposed to disobey a father who commands him to violate the Torah, this situation is different. The Yosef’s father did not obligate Yosef to violate the Torah. The son can fulfill the mitzva by drinking a little more than usual, and going to sleep afterward, as the Rama states (695, se’if 2). This is how Rabbi Auerbach himself observed the commandment. (Halichot Shlomo, chapter 19, se’if 25)

Rabbi Asher Weiss, shlita was asked a similar question by a young man whose father said that he does not allow the son to get drunk in the house of the father. The son was concerned, because he felt that he would miss out on a spiritually uplifting experience. Rabbi Weiss instructed the son to eat the Purim meal somewhere else, so that he would be able to drink without upsetting his father, and to explain to his father why it is that he is not planning on attending the family Purim meal. Rabbi Weiss stated that, even though most authorities rule that one should not get drunk, and Rabbi Weiss himself does not get drunk, he states that if the boy feels that he will lose out spiritually by not getting drunk, he should follow the above.

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