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New York, NY - OU: Alcohol not Conducive to Simchat Torah

Published on: October 1, 2007 11:10 PM
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New York, NY - The Orthodox Union in America has called on its synagogues to make sure that teenagers are not served alcohol during Simchat Torah celebrations.

The holiday, which falls on Thursday night, marks the end of the annual Torah cycle and the beginning of the next cycle, and features dancing with the Torah scrolls in a celebration that often includes alcohol.


"The reality is that no one should overindulge in alcohol on Simchat Torah, as it is not conducive to the spirit of the day. Even adults should be careful that their celebrations do not go counter to the appropriate decorum of our synagogues," the OU's executive vice president, Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb wrote in a letter to rabbis and presidents of OU synagogues.
"But when it comes to our youth, we must be extra zealous, for additional matters of safety and law," Weinreb added.

Authority figures should not turn a blind eye if they see underage members of their community drinking," the letter concluded. [Ynet]

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Read Comments (30)  —  Post Yours »


 Oct 02, 2007 at 09:54 PM for your info Says:

Drinking is a minhag, getting stinking drunk is not. A person can drink, be intoxicated to a point and not be stinking drunk.

As to the source, in another site someone wrote it is mentioned either in Shulcan Aruch or commentary. Research anyone?


 Oct 02, 2007 at 03:52 PM Anonymous Says:

L'chaim & Gut Yom Tov to all!!


 Oct 02, 2007 at 02:28 PM Anonymous Says:

"the Rav in every shul should get up and speak about this ( unless he is afraid of losing his job)"

Before or after he has made kiddush on a pint of Chivas?

I feel that the bad example starts at the top.

Established minhag to drink on Simchas Torah? Getting drunk is a mitzvah of Purim not Simchas Torah.

I am told that the source of having a "l'chaim" on Simchas Torah comes from Otzar Minhagei Chabbad, Tishrei; p. 370

There is a difference between drinking a little wine for simchas Yom Tov and getting stinking drunk.
One is obligated to be happy on Yom Tov and to make his wife and children happy. Getting stinking drunk and acting lewd or abusive does NOT make one's wife and children happy on Yom Tov.

I feel as though this "minhag" of drinking until intoxication on Simchas Torah is Chukim Hagoyim.

Hag Sameach!!!


 Oct 02, 2007 at 01:39 PM for your info Says:

1) Drinking on simchas tora is an established jewish custom (minhag)

2) The OU is not asking people to abolish the custom, rather they are suggesting that we moniter our young not to start this custom unitil they are able to deal with it more maturely. (not unlike marraige, which to the Mishna in Avos is at 18 - even though the obligation of Mitzvos start for a boy at 13 - no one real suggests that they should get married at 13).

3)Even for those that drink, please remember that all Yom Tov celebrations come under the Halacha guideline of "service to the Almighty". If we educate our children to "serve Hashem" and set an appropirate example they will know that the Simchas Tora drinking is part of serving Hashem. However if our children only see that we serve ourselves throughout the year, they will perceive the drinking on Simchas Torah as another self serving act.


 Oct 02, 2007 at 11:03 AM Anonymous Says:

BAN Simchas Torah shul freserei and shligitzerei during kriyas Hatorah in probably two three open seforim in every which corner of the shul.

Now this is a ban that I would support.Unlike some other bans , this one should be unanimous....if you're honest with yourself.


 Oct 02, 2007 at 10:20 AM Anonymous Says:

the Rav in every shul should get up and speak about this ( unless he is afraid of losing his job)


 Oct 02, 2007 at 09:52 AM Anonymous Says:

WHOAH!!! Just came on folks.

A little story to put it all in perspective.

Last year, in our shul in Flatbush, NY, I approached a fellow congregant and informed him his 15 year old son was consuming hard liq as if it were water and was in an obvious state of intoxication. He proceeded to berate me publicly in front of the entire congregation.

After all the damage was done, one would think that an apology should have been forthcoming.

Think again!!

To this day, a year later, it is still a topic. Needless to say, I always end up as a part of THEIR conversation.

Am I embarrased?? NO!! I did the right thing.

I just pray for this child, for the lesson and example his father taught him is the farthest thing from what Judaism stands for.

As a side note, it is ASSUR to call an intoxicated person up to the torah for an aliyah.

Chag (sober) v'Samayach


 Oct 02, 2007 at 09:49 AM Anonymous Says:

it eretz yisroel where its one day this BIZAYON HATORAH AND YOM TOV can never happen because it is one day. it is the serious solemn atitude of the chazzan wearing the kittle, davening tefilas geshem sung in the yomim noraim tune (and rain is a very big deal in earetz yisroel) which also follows YIZKOR besides for all the hakafos and everyone getting an aliyah. think about that for a moment, while we think its perfectly normal and ok to turn our second day into a mardi gras.


 Oct 02, 2007 at 09:42 AM Anonymous Says:

Anonymous said...

Wherever you may have rubbed elbows with a woman or women it is totally assur. For that bit of fress you can get at a shmorg, bar, etc., it is not worth giving up your olam haba. If you absolutely must have the foods served at a shmorg and it is only by the womans side, you can have someone else bring you a plate but you should not be in the womans section. That bit of chazurei will end up costing you a lot of gehinnom and will ultimately not be worth it.
Chag Kasher v'sameiach.

October 1, 2007 10:14 PM
Dont know where you get your halochos from. It is absolutely muttar to go to the womens shmorg. No where does it say in halacha that you need a mechitza for a shmorg. (for dancing yes because of the dancing issue) As far as rubbing elbows with a women? i assume you dont go go shopping in stores either for fear of rubbing arms.?? dont shoot your mouth off before you know what you are saying.


 Oct 02, 2007 at 09:25 AM Anonymous Says:

I grew up watching and eating during the Kriyas hatorah on Simchas Torah in almost every shul I ever attended.
Now , as I got older and hopefully wiser , I realize that it's a desecration . At least the big old shuls have ante-rooms or different floors where people can leave the Beis Hakneses and can imbibe . It's not practical , but shteiblach should also construct a room 0ff shul where people could eat and drink.
Really , it's certainly not a kavod for the Torah , Aron Kodesh , Seforim , etc. when this balagan takes place. Let's change this practice , else our kids and grandkids will do the same.


 Oct 02, 2007 at 08:12 AM Anonymous Says:

I think that teenagers are capable of drinking
But please remember the following!
It all started on simchat torah ten years ago, we started drinking and then the following shobbes we made a small private kiddush by torah reading, just a shot each and the following week it was two shots and then one of us developed a system, if you drink cognac first then scotch followed by bourbon followed vodka you can consume a lot of alcohol without getting drunk!!! And he was the happiest guy every thing was perfect, and he would probably be the guy to post a comment to encourage teenagers to drink, but a few months a go everything changed a routine blood test had him sent to a specialist " maybe its leukemia? Maybe it’s even worse. only to find out that he has liver failure. And its not as much for him that he I have pity its his young wife as she is standing at his bedside in the hospital staring with her right eye at the picture of her beautiful young children and with her left eye at the machinery that keeps on beeping and wondering is he going to make it "who will provide for us" after all my husband is a very successful young man, how will we manage should?!!! So if this can serve as a massage to all “drink but please drink responsibly” and whatever you don’t drink should be a zuchus for his refuah


 Oct 02, 2007 at 02:55 AM Anonymous Says:

wow i really could use a good bottle of scotch right now!!!!!!!!!!!!


 Oct 02, 2007 at 12:56 AM Anonymous Says:

The current issue of U.S. News & World Report has an article about parents being arrested, indicted and even receiving jail time for underage drinking at their homes.

What a chillul Hashem it will be when some kid gets really sick or worse and the shul or Rav gets indicted.

Be careful.


 Oct 02, 2007 at 12:38 AM Anonymous Says:



 Oct 02, 2007 at 12:02 AM HaJew Says:

Who said anything about sides?
The shmorg at these halls are all open to anyone.
So was tha bar, which mind you was lined up for with more women than men and i dont think they were getting drinks for anyone other than thenselves


 Oct 01, 2007 at 10:43 PM Anonymous Says:

3:16, that's just what happened this past Yom Tov to my daughter. A comment was made about her shorter socks (she's 7) but the Bain Adam Lechavero was missing big time where we were. It's what shows on the outside which is emphasized, but to act like a mentsch and maybe a norman human being (like admitted there is drinking problem albeit a small one, and actually doing something about it) is asking too much.


 Oct 01, 2007 at 10:14 PM Anonymous Says:


Wherever you may have rubbed elbows with a woman or women it is totally assur. For that bit of fress you can get at a shmorg, bar, etc., it is not worth giving up your olam haba. If you absolutely must have the foods served at a shmorg and it is only by the womans side, you can have someone else bring you a plate but you should not be in the womans section. That bit of chazurei will end up costing you a lot of gehinnom and will ultimately not be worth it.
Chag Kasher v'sameiach.


 Oct 01, 2007 at 09:57 PM Anonymous Says:

"dont make this an ou/yeshivish thing. it plagues the entire orthodox establishment.



 Oct 01, 2007 at 09:55 PM Anonymous Says:

If a father gives his son a beer, can he go to jail? I think not."



 Oct 01, 2007 at 05:00 PM Anonymous Says:

I have seen PLENTY of rowdy drunken behavior in all types of synagogues throughout the Orthodox world.

When I was growing up, Jewish women NEVER drank in public, not at simchas and not in shul, EVER. We were taught that it is forbidden.

As far as drinking on Yom Tov, it used to be a "little schnapps" and now it is making kiddush on a pint of Chivas.

It's disgusting and it is the Goyishe influence on us.

Chag Sameach!!


 Oct 01, 2007 at 04:53 PM Anonymous Says:

yeah , what about the sick drunken social scene in flatbush ir a hakoydesh among the yeshivshe teens (boys and girls) in the streets and lobbies on simchas torah?
dont make this an ou/yeshivish thing. it plagues the entire orthodox establishment. if the agudah had put out an advisory first you wouldnt be so squeamish.


 Oct 01, 2007 at 04:49 PM HaJew Says:

the only places i have ever rubbed elbows with a woman was not at an ou shul kiddush, it was a in a williamsburg chasunah hall reaching for sushi at the shmorg. oh and at the bar getting a whiskey sour.


 Oct 01, 2007 at 04:42 PM Anonymous Says:

I was in a "MO"-type shul in NY (not Brooklyn) consisting of mostly over-40s crowd.

I was shocked at the amount of alcohol available and consumed by the congregants and their utter lack of proper decorum befitting a minyan in a beis hakinesses. This is Simchas Torah? By being meikil rosh in shul and not being able to daven mussaf properly after having already drunk at laining?

Were it not for the Aron Kodesh and siddurim, one could have mistaken the area for a bar.

I agree with anon 10/1 3:16 PM, though I'd leave out the part about socks, despite his excellent point about priorities and where they ought to be.


 Oct 01, 2007 at 04:35 PM Anonymous Says:

Not quite.
It is against the law to sell or serve alcohol to minors that are not your children. If a father gives his son a beer, can he go to jail? I think not. But from a halalchic perspective I don't know if there is a particular issur of giving a 14 year old a shot of hard liquor. mah she-ain kain by the all the other OU shuls that mixed kiddashim where men and women rub elbows by the herring cake and schnapps. This is clearly assur as mentioned in several simanim in shulchan orech. Particularly in regard to chol hamoed. If the OU wants to clean up it's act, taruvos is the place to start (major problem), not underage drinking (minor problem)


 Oct 01, 2007 at 04:14 PM Anonymous Says:

Guess what people? ITS AGAINST THE LAW
period. shoin.
undergae drinking is a violation of the law in new york state, just like any other law.


 Oct 01, 2007 at 03:56 PM Anonymous Says:

Not every thing Goyish applies to us. They have youth drinking problem,
How many of our youths did you find drunk??
Even if every jewish home has liquor, wine all the time, it served on simchas etc. we do not have to hide or supervise our teens, oh yes maybe on Purim only.
but not any other times,


 Oct 01, 2007 at 03:54 PM Anonymous Says:

shyeah, ban shnopps in brooklyn shuls on simchas torah. that'll be the day


 Oct 01, 2007 at 03:47 PM Anonymous Says:

Not a bad idea for all communities to adopt not just the "modern orthodox"


 Oct 01, 2007 at 03:16 PM Anonymous Says:

duh, if it is not made available to them they cant take it if its not there!

(IE, dont have it there at all)

There is no reason to leave tables flodded with hard liquor in shul lobbies during kriyas hatorah. it is the biggest abomination of yom tov and torah and has no religious purpose or significance whatsoever.
it is much more important than measuring girls sock lengths.


 Oct 01, 2007 at 03:13 PM Anonymous Says:

What do you think, teenagers are not capable of taking the schnapps themselves?


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