Friday, July 9, 2010

The Dangers of Drink

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, zt”l, warned against falling prey to the mistaken notion that drinking copiously could possibly aid one in serving Hashem. With the exception of Purim and the four cups on Pesach, he held that drinking more than an occasional small amount is very spiritually detrimental.
In the words of the Kochavei Ohr: “One must guard vigilantly against his evil inclination’s tendency to ‘don a tallis of righteousness’ and push him to sin by skewing his common sense and convincing him that the sin is actually a mitzvah. One of the most prevalent examples of this is the tendency of the evil inclination to push one into drinking. Drink is like a powerful magnet drawing him to indulge even though in his heart he knows that drinking will not enhance his avodah, quite the contrary. Even on Shabbos and Yom Tov, with the exception of Kiddush, there is no reason to drink much at all. Some people believe that on Simchas Torah abundant drinking is worthwhile but this too is a fallacy.
“One Simchas Torah, Rebbe Nachman gave his two main students, Rav Nosson, zt”l, and Rav Naftali, zt”l, a very small amount of whiskey to drink. When Rav Nosson remarked, ‘A little is also good,’ Rebbe Nachman corrected him: ‘When it comes to hard liquor, only a little is good!’
The Kochavei Ohr concludes, “Since this is the proper attitude for Shabbos and Yom Tov it is obvious that during the days of the week drinking is even more detrimental. Although being joyous is very important, regarding joy induced by alcohol the verse states, 'ולשמחה מה זה עושה'—‘What does such joy accomplish?’ Such happiness is not true simchah shel mitzvah. On the contrary, this is nothing more than light-headedness and foolishness!”

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