Tradition teaches that we are supposed to drink on Purim until we cannot tell the difference between Mordechai and Haman — which is not such great messaging for teens.
In Moving Traditions’ 10th grade meeting plan, “Drugs, Partying and Risk-Taking,” we share a Talmudic story about what happened when a couple of rabbis took this injunction a bit too seriously. Rabbah drank so much that he lost control and cut Rabbi Zera’s throat. Lucky for them, God revives Rabbi Zera. The next Purim when preparing to celebrate, Rabbi Zera says to Rabbah, “Miracles do not happen each and every hour, and I do not want to undergo that experience again.”
Helping teens draw on Jewish wisdom to explore current issues and make good decisions for themselves is at the core of Moving Traditions’ teen groups, Rosh Hodesh for girls, Shevet for boys, and Tzelem for trans and nonbinary teens.
This Purim, you may want to use the Talmud text as an opportunity to talk to teens in your life about alcohol, any family history of addiction, and positive ways to deal with academic, social, and emotional stress.