Drinking On Purim - Ad D'Lo Yoda
Issues in Practical Halacha
Issue Number 14 - 19 Shevat, 5755
Compiled and Published by
Kollel Menachem - Lubavitch (Melbourne, Australia)
in the zechus of the Lubavitcher Rebbe
This article is not intended to decide halachic questions, but rather to clarify them in a clear and concise form. Please refer all your practical questions to your local Rabbi.
Drinking on Purim "until one does not know (ad d'lo yoda) the
'cursed is Homon' and blessed is Mordechai'"
- The obligation in ad d'loi yoda
- Quantifying ad d'loi yoda
- The reason for the obligation and the types of alcoholic beverages required
- Are women obligated?
- When to fulfil ad d'loi yoda
The Gemora (Megillah 7b) quotes Rovo that "one is obligated liv'sumi
[Rashi - to
become intoxicated with wine] on Purim ad d'loi yoda [until one cannot
between 'cursed is Homon' and 'blessed is Mordechai'". The Gemora then
Rabbo and Reb Zeira once had the Purim meal together and became intoxicated.
and slaughtered Reb Zeira. The following day Rabbo prayed for Divine mercy
and Reb Zeira
came back to life. The following year Rabbo again invited Reb Zeira for the
Reb Zeira refused explaining that one cannot expect miracles at all times.
argue as to whether the halacha is in accordance with Rovo's ruling, that
become intoxicated on Purim.
Rabbeinu Efraim  contends that the story of Rabbo and Reb Zeira is
cited by the
Gemora to show that Rovo's opinion was rejected. However, most authorities,
Mechaber and Remo , rule in accordance with Rovo. (The Maharil , it
should be noted,
rules that it is desirable, rather than there being a formal obligation, to
The Bach  states that according to the Tur one is literally required
to become so
intoxicated on Purim that one is unable to distinguish any difference
between 'cursed is
Homon' and 'blessed is Mordechai'. Rabbo must have reached that stage to
The Shelo Hakodoish  and Chacham Tzvi  are said to have fulfilled
literally. The Shelo Hakodoish is also quoted as stating that one who is
frail by nature
is exempt from becoming intoxicated - the implication being that one who is
healthy is obligated to become intoxicated.
The Beis Yoseph , however, based on Tosfos , suggests that Rovo's
abbreviated by the Gemora. In full it is that one should become intoxicated
to the extent
that one is unable to recite the hymn "cursed is Homon, blessed is
is Zeresh, blessed is Esther, cursed are all the wicked, blessed are the
found in Shoshanas Yaacov). One would be unable to reach a stage where one
'cursed is Homon' and 'blessed is Mordechai' were the same thing even after
vast quantity of alcohol. Accordingly, Rovo's statement is not to be taken
The Aguda, cited by the Mogen Avrohom  as halacha, states that one
intoxicated to the extent that one is unable to calculate the gematrios
of "orur homon" (cursed is Homon) and "boruch Mordechai"
Mordechai) which both add up to 502.
The Rambam  rules that one should take wine to the stage that one
intoxicated and falls asleep.
The Kol Bo  states that becoming intoxicated is a definite
prohibition as it may
lead to other aveiros. He rules that one should drink a little extra than
usual in order
to increase in making the poor joyful and comforted.
The Sfas Emes  explains that the obligation of ad d'lo yoda is a
rejoice and drink continually: not that one is required to actually reach
the stage of ad
d'lo yoda; but if and when one were to reach that stage, one would be exempt
The Remo  writes that there are those who maintain that one need not
intoxicated but one should drink more than usual and sleep: once asleep one
is unable to
distinguish between 'cursed is Homon' and 'blessed is Mordechai'.
The Mikro'ei Koidesh  describes as mistaken those who explain that
the Remo to be
saying two things: that one need not become intoxicated but only drink more
and that ad d'lo yoda can also be fulfilled by sleeping - even if one were
to sleep before
drinking. Rather the Remo is stating that one should sleep as a result of
The Pri Megodim  and Mishna Brura  rule in accordance with the
Remo. The Mishna
Brura adds that it is better not to become intoxicated if it could affect
of other mitzvos, such as davening or birkas hamozon (grace after meals).
Notwithstanding the fact that intoxication is shown in the Torah in many
as with Noach and Lot) to have undesirable consequences, the Avudraham 
the reason for becoming intoxicated on Purim is that the miracles of Purim
through feasting and intoxication. The downfall of both Vashti and Homon
feasts of wine (mishtei yayin) and Achashverosh made a feast for Esther when
queen. It was therefore instituted that one recall these miracles by
R. Yosef Misaragossa , a student of the Ran, explains that in all
recall some event or item, such as Pesach where matzos recall that the dough
did not rise,
and Succos in connection with which it is written "For I kept the Bnei
succos..." we find the Torah stressed that particular item. For through
item we recall the miracle.
Similarly with Purim (which involved a greater miracle than the exodus
from Egypt in
that we were saved from death to life and not just from slavery to freedom),
the act of
drinking excessively serves to recall the great miracle, that came about
through feasts of
For this reason a number of later authorities  rule accordingly that
the mitzva of
becoming intoxicated is specifically with wine. Already Rashi , the
Rambam  and
the Rokeach , had stipulated that wine should be used for this purpose
Gilyonei Hashas  writes that he is unclear as to why wine in particular
required and not any alcoholic beverage.
The Mikro'ei Koidesh provides a further reason for drinking wine on
Purim - namely,
that Purim needs to be a time of rejoicing - the rejoicing is through wine,
as it states
"wine gladdens the heart of man" (Tehillim 104).
Indeed the Gilyonei Hashas  states that when the Beis Hamikdosh is
not standing the
only way to rejoice is with wine.
The Shevilei Dovid , however, rules that since there is no explicit
mention of wine
in the Megillah, other principal alcoholic beverages are acceptable to
Women are obligated to hear the Megillah and to rejoice and partake of a
on Purim, for they were part of the miracle. As far as ad d'loi yoda,
Rivevois Ephraim  and others rule that it is inappropriate for women to
Indeed the Mishna Brura , in the laws of birkas hamazon, explains
that the reason
women are not obligated to make a mezuman (say birkas hamazon in a group) is
mezuman should ideally be performed on a cup of wine and it is unseemly for
a woman to do
The Purim meal must be in the daytime, as the Megillah states, "days
and rejoicing". Accordingly, Rovo  in the Gemoro rules that one who
has the feast
of Purim at night has not fulfilled one's obligation.
The Remo  states that the most of the meal must be completed in
contrary to those who begin the meal close to nightfall. Accordingly the
Remo writes that
when Purim falls on Friday the meal may and should be eaten in the morning
for the sake of
the honour of Shabbos; and indeed one is permitted always to have the Purim
meal in the
morning if one so wishes.
The Rambam , after ruling that the Purim meal should be as sumptuous
as one can
afford, states that one should be sufficiently intoxicated so as to fall
implication is that the drinking and the consequent falling asleep are
connected with the feast and therefore also have to be in the daytime.
Further evidence that the drinking is connected to the Purim meal is
Hisorerus Tshuva , from the story of Rabbo and Reb Zeira in the Gemora.
refused to attend Rabbo's Purim meal the following year because he was
concerned that they
would become intoxicated and Rabbo would slaughter him again. If the
drinking were not
essentially connected with the meal, it would have been safe for Reb Zeira
to have the
feast with Rabbo and to drink elsewhere. The fact that Reb Zeira refused to
join Rabbo for
the feast suggests that the drinking had to take place at the feast.
- (Back to text) Mentioned in Hamor Hakoton ibid
- (Back to text) Orach Chayim 695:2
- (Back to text) Ch.56
- (Back to text) 695
- (Back to text) see Sha'arei Teshuvo 695:2
- (Back to text) Siddur Ya'avetz
- (Back to text) Sha'arei Teshuvo ibid
- (Back to text) 695
- (Back to text) Megilla 7b
- (Back to text) 695:3
- (Back to text) Hilchos Megilla 2:15
- (Back to text) Hilchos Purim
- (Back to text) On the Gemorah Megilla ibid
- (Back to text) 695:2
- (Back to text) Inyonei Purim p159
- (Back to text) Mishbetzos Zohov 695:2
- (Back to text) 695:5
- (Back to text) Inyonei Purim
- (Back to text) on his commentary to Parshas Zochor p257
- (Back to text) see Mikroei Kodesh, Inyonei Purim p159; Nitei Gavriel p83
- (Back to text) Gemorro ibid
- (Back to text) ibid
- (Back to text) Ch.237
- (Back to text) on Megilla ibid
- (Back to text) Pesachim 109a
- (Back to text) Orach Chayim 695:3
- (Back to text) Vol.1 Ch.161
- (Back to text) Orach Chayim 199:6, in Sha'ar HaTzion
- (Back to text) ibid
- (Back to text) ibid
- (Back to text) ibid
- (Back to text) Vol I, Ch.6