Monday, March 5, 2012

This is your Talmud. This is your Talmud on Purim. Any questions?

A wee bit of ancient Purim humor, courtesy of the Talmud (Megillah 7b):

אמר רבא מיחייב איניש לבסומי בפוריא עד דלא ידע בין ארור המן לברוך מרדכי 
Raba said: It is the duty of a man to cheer himself [with alcohol] on Purim until he cannot tell the difference between "cursed be Haman" and "blessed be Mordecai."    
OK, so that's not the funny part, although it is notable as the original, classic example of a rabbi encouraging drunkenness.  Furthermore, it sets the stage for the following vignette:
רבה ורבי זירא עבדו סעודת פורים בהדי הדדי איבסום קם רבה שחטיה לרבי זירא למחר בעי רחמי ואחייה לשנה אמר ליה ניתי מר ונעביד סעודת פורים בהדי הדדי אמר ליה לא בכל שעתא ושעתא מתרחיש ניסא
Rabbah and Rabbi Zeira joined together in a Purim feast. They became drunk, and Rabbah arose and cut Rabbi Zeira's throat.  On the next day, Rabbah prayed on his colleague's behalf and revived him.
The next year, Rabbah said, "Join me again for the Purim feast together."

Rabbi Zeira replied, "[No thanks, big guy.] A miracle may not take place every time."
We don't rely on miracles, especially when knives are involved.  Happy Purim!

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