Monday, May 28, 2007

The Dangers of Drinking

R. Mayer Twersky on TorahWeb (link):

Chazal [our Sages] comment that the parsha of nazir (the nazirite) is juxtaposed to that of sotah (the adulteress) to teach us that “one who witnesses the corruption and downfall of the sotah should accept upon himself an oath to abstain from wine.”

Chazal are commenting on a typological case where intoxication was a major contributing factor to the sin of adultery. This causal nexus between intoxication and loss of appropriate inhibition is all too prominently manifest in contemporary American society, most infamously on college campuses. But adultery in particular, and promiscuity, in general, are only two of the manifold dangers of intoxication. Ono’as devarim (hurtful speech) commonly issues forth from lips loosened by the effects of intoxication. Nor should we forget for even a moment the sacrilege perpetrated by those who are visibly intoxicated on Shabbos during musaf after participating in their kiddush club. Shabbos is a day consecrated “la-Hashem Elokecha”(to Hashem, your God); tefillah (prayer) involves standing before Hashem and speaking to Him. What a compounded chilul Hashem to be intoxicated while davening (praying) on Shabbos!

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