Problem Being Unable to Consume Much Alcohol – And Can't Get Drunk

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    I’m an adult (over 21) and have a problem drinking alcohol. After drinking as little as 1 and half or two bechers (cups) of even low-percentage wine, my stomach starts hurting real bad for over half an hour. This happened several times at the Pesach Seder.

    So I never in my life drank much alcohol and I’ve never gotten (even close to) drunk. Normally this is not a problem. But it is on Purim and Pesach. Our Rabbonim hold that ad dlo yoda means getting drunk al pshuto. Till Arrur Haman/Baruch Mordechai. I understand there are other, more meikel, shittos. Nevertheless, our Rabbonim don’t hold from them.

    FWIW, I am able to drink beer in large quantities without feeling ill. (Though I haven’t done so. Nor have I ever gotten drunk from beer.) Is beer universally accepted as valid for getting drunk on Purim?

    Suggestions on how to drink by the Pesach Seder would also be appreciated.


    If you can drink beer, then the problem is not the alcohol, but the grape alcohol.

    If you can drink beer, you can probably also drink whiskey. Try that. Also, you can get higher alcohol beer which should be easy to get drunk on. Try one which is 6-7%.

    You can be yotzei purim with beer or whiskey. (IIRC there may be an opinion which wants wine, but it is by no means the dominant opinion.)

    Pesach is an issue.


    When there’s a l’chayim in shul, I can’t tolerate much more than about two of those very small schnaps gelizelech (cups.) So I don’t think I do to well with whiskey either.



    1- Not grape alchohol. It’s the same ethanol in both (we hope), but wine contains sulfites which make some people sick. </pedantry>

    2- When you say that using wine is not a dominant opinion, do you mean that it is not widely practiced today (indisputably true) or that it is not dominant in poskim? If the latter, could you provide a list on both sides? I’m genuinely curious since I use wine and I sometimes think the whiskey before the seuda is “cheating.”


    Itche- if its sulfites then the OP will have problems with grape juice too.


    Itche: Just for you I pulled up my handy dandy bar ilan and looked it up.

    Here are my results:

    The following poskim speak on this halacha, and don’t say that any sort of alcohol is preferable to any other:



    Mishna berura (and beur halacha)


    Magen Avraham

    Shaarei Teshuva

    Chayei adom (explains it is because nes was with drinking wine, but doesn’t say that the only mitzva is davka grape wine as opposed to apple wine or barleywine or beer.)


    Elya rabba (elya zuta says to eat and drink the first night also)

    aruch hashulchan

    I haven’t found anyone yet who insists it must be grape wine only.

    ☕️coffee addict

    welcome to the Rema’s heter


    No problem whatsoever with grape juice.


    True, but white wine supposedly has less.


    ca: The Rema’s heter is health-based?


    Perhaps I should give whiskey another shot. Possibly I never really tried to drink it much. Although, I don’t get why some folks like it so much; they all taste the same to me, and I don’t enjoy more than a small amount.


    PBA: Yeah, but on your list you include many Poskim who don’t say Ad D’lo Yada Kipshuto, so of course they wouldn’t count not using wine.

    See the Beis Yosef in this Siman. It’s Assur to get drunk. Ever.


    PBA: Rashi megilla(7) writes with wine, Rambam hilchos megilla 2:15 davka wine , Rokeach 237 , Radvaz 1:462 mentions wine. Moadim v’zmanim 2:190 says one should use wine for his ikar drinking and whatever he wants he can add.


    sam4321: I don’t have time now to look up all of those, but I am not convinced that just because they mention wine it means they hold you can only use wine and not other alcohol. I’d also mention that in any event those are not brought in the shulchan aruch and nosei keilim.

    So I’ll look up your rambam. Rambam says: ????? ??? ?? ?????? ????? ???????.

    I don’t see that he is insisting on only wine, since the point is to get drunk. Now I’ll look what the nosei keilim say. Gur Aryeh says: ????? ??? ?? ??????. ?? ????? ??? ???? ?? ?????? ????? ??”? ?? ??? ??? ??? ???? ??? ???’. So he is pointing out that Rambam is not following the shiur in the gemara of ad dlo yada. Notably, Gur aryeh does not say that Rambam is also adding to the gemara that is must only be wine! Because he isn’t reading rambam like that.

    Sam2: You know that isn’t true. Just because some poskim say you don’t have to, you cannot deny that many poskim say you do have to. See also the sefer “hasaba m’slabodka” compiled by a certain rabbi weinberger which has an essay where Rav Dovid Leibowitz (founder of chafetz chaim) writes that one should get drunk as a lord and that that is the mitzva even though it sounds bizarre.


    PBA: The Be’ur Halachah rants against it for a reason. The only Mareh Makom the B”Y brings down in this Siman is that drinking is always Assur. It’s a disgusting practice that leads to injuries and damages every year and sometimes even deaths. It’s unhealthy, unsafe, and stupid. There is a reason so many of the Gedolei Ha’achronim tried to limit what Ad D’lo Yadah means. We should not ignore that just because it’s fun to get drunk once a year.

    Shticky Guy

    Perhaps I should give whiskey another shot

    Good idea. You have another shot of whiskey. Although real drinkers know that the only good whiskey is whisky. And only real connoisseurs realize the difference. (Scotch whisky is spelled without the letter ‘e’.)

    There are for sure many people in a similar situation as you and your LOR will tell you how to be noheg.

    But I do appreciate your problem. I also may be allergic to alcohol… after half a bottle of scotch my head begins spinning!


    Sam: they limit it for children, not adults. Ad dlo yoda kpshuto is the default (and probably majority) psak that is 1000% legit and long adhered to by many throughout the centuries and today.


    The Rema’s Hetter would not help him, since he is Mechuyav to drink and drink until it makes him fall asleep if he’s sitting.

    Feif Un

    I also get a stomach ache drinking low alcohol wines such as Rashi or Kedem. Instead of those, try drinking a drier wine, or one that is more naturally sweet, with a higher alcohol content. If I drink those, I don’t get a stomach ache.

    I don’t know why, it just works out that way.


    I asked Rav Avrohom Yitzchok Ulman ????”?, Rov of Givat Shaul (Yerushalayim) and one of the dayonim of the Badatz of the Edah HaChareidis.

    He told me that on Purim, there is no requirement at all to drink wine. Grape juice is just fine. And even half a cup is enough.

    Personally I do not drink wine (or alcohol) at all, except for miniature amounts occasionally when needed. On Purim and also Pesach, I only use grape juice.

    A family member of me died from alcohol-related issues, I then (when I was still a child) decided I would always keep very far away from alcohol. So far I have never in my life been drunk and I probably drink as much alcohol in a year as an average person drinks in a week.

    So, why care? You don’t like it, it gives you trouble – why bother? There is absolutely no requirement to ever drink alcohol. Not on Purim, not on Pesach, never.

    Sam2 speaks wise words, I fully agree. I have too often seen the outcome of alcohol-related violence and accidents. Alcohol is a poison and a drug.

    To some it may be useful and it may be used as a painkiller and relaxant (I know one person who specifically uses alcohol for this reason), and I do believe that is true, but getting drunk for fun is wrong, and alcohol carries, on the long as well as short term, serious health risks. Direct risks from getting drunk and doing silly things, and long-term risks from alcohol-related illness.

    Did you know that not only liver disease is caused by alcohol?

    How about numerous types of cancers? And tons more… I cannot remember the number of diseases for which I have seen alcohol being listed as a cause. Anyone with good knowledge in the field of medicine knows what I’m talking about.


    Sam2: The beur halacha says what he says, and other poskim say what they say.

    The beis yosef might say that in the beis yosef, but in his magnum opus, he say says you need to get blasted drunk.

    Building a sukka also leads to injuries every year.

    In any event, I have read that beur halacha, and who he is quoting on that. I think that what we did in my yeshiva is not hollelus and shtus. Maybe the people you know do hollelus and shtus (cheap shot).


    According to my knowledge, one must be Happy on Purim. The mitzva of being happy on purim is just as great as fasting on Yom kippur. I’m sure having stomach pain from the wine doesn’t make you happy….

    Pesach one is supposed to feel like a king. Sick king…. doesn’t make any sense to me…


    PBA: Maybe you and your friends are members of the select few for whom getting retardedly drunk isn’t inherently Holelus and Shtus. Maybe, but I highly doubt it. And your cheap shot at the Me’iri is not appreciated.


    1. The “mitsva” is not to be able to tell the difference between Mordechai and Haman. Some have suggested that falling asleep is the best way to accomplish this.

    2. Many have theorized that many Jews are genetically incapable of staying awake while intoxicated, and this is an evolutionary adapation common among all peoples who ancestors were among the first to discover good stuff to drink. Those individuals who spend the day drunk tended to run into things, fall off things or crash into things.

    3. If you can drink beer without crashing (so much for the theory of an anti-alcohol gene), and also get sick from grape juice (you mentioned Pesach) that suggests some sort of allergy to grade products, so you might want to talk to a a doctor who can deal with such things.

    The little I know

    We have several dilemmas here. Firstly, sakanah deserves no compromise. Secondly, it is heresy to claim that “Yayin yesamach levav enosh” is in any way related to getting drunk. Thirdly, the Gemoroh never says Chayav inish “lehishtaker” – it says l’ivsumai. This is clearly reference to a state of exaltation, not the loss of one’s mind. The pirushim in ad delo yoda do not include anything bordering on danger.

    One must be fully aware of one’s tolerance. Drinking more than that is medically serious. Between alcohol poisoning, falling and other accidents, to the poor judgment to do things that create even greater danger to self and others (like driving and fighting), the excess carries massive risk.

    Lastly, it is vital that we be able to look inside ourselves in a manner that is critical and brutally honest. Is our drinking only for the mitzvah, where we do not lose focus from the true simcha of nais Purim, or are we at least partially capitalizing on Purim for our annual “legitimized” opportunity to get drunk? Remember that HKB”H knows the real answer. If you are in denial, then do a cheshbon hanefesh, and see what you find. May as well have the edge before you view the real emes in beis din shel maaloh.

    big deal

    Why would it be a problem to enjoy being mekayeim a mitzvah? Anto look foward to it as well?


    I capitalize on Shabbos to eat a lot of good food. I capitalize on Yomim Tovim to spend time with my family. I capitalize on the mitzvah to have children in order to be married etc. And I don’t even feel that guilty.

    Stick to your other arguments, and don’t demand “l’shmah” from us.


    hershi -“Suggestions on how to drink by the Pesach Seder would also be appreciated”

    I’m in the medical field and I have the same problem on Pesach & Shabbos. It’s probably due to the additives in red wine. I don’t have the problem on Purim because I’m not drinking on an empty stomach & nor is it red wine.

    On Shabbos, I just use grape juice.

    On Pesach I either drink Concord Kal or I mix a 9% or 7% with grape juice. I usually do the latter because I can get a higher % of alcohol if I mix it myself. Depending how I’m feeling sometimes the first cup or other cups I drink without mixing in grape juice, but only with something like Matuk wine -never a higher %.


    Look inside yourself and be honest. Are you twisting Gemaros to fit your opinion of what is nice or did you actually get that opinion by learning that Gemara? Ad D’lo Yoda means to eat so much candy (or dring so much grape juice) that in your exitement you won’t care about Klapping Haman.

    One of the great Halachic misconceptions is thinking that the Rema says to go to sleep.


    Does anyone here read each other’s posts, or just rant ?

    There are plenty of Poskim who say to get drunk. Black on white. Could we please not waste time arguing about that ?

    There is a definite problem with sakanah and Chilul Hashem. Could we please not try to deny what occurs in broad daylight, every year, most everywhere ?

    How to go about fulfilling the mitzvah (assuming you pasken that way) while avoiding the problems ? Now that’s a good topic to discuss.


    the Gemoroh never says Chayav inish “lehishtaker” – it says l’ivsumai. This is clearly reference to a state of exaltation, not the loss of one’s mind. The pirushim in ad delo yoda do not include anything bordering on danger.

    By danger, you mean like shechting your friend who is an amora?

    Is our drinking only for the mitzvah, where we do not lose focus from the true simcha of nais Purim, or are we at least partially capitalizing on Purim for our annual “legitimized” opportunity to get drunk?

    Do we only eat meals on shabbos to honor shabbos, or do we like eating it? Do we like lighting chanuka candles? Who cares if we like it–chazal say to do it and I do.


    And your cheap shot at the Me’iri is not appreciated.

    That doesn’t even make sense. Meiiri didn’t say that nobody could do it. He said that if it is holelus, then you shouldn’t.


    Just make sure that you and people you know (especially if you have anyone that will listen to you) drinks in moderation, or at least with some selfcontrol.

    Drinking to much is a serious matter, we (we as in the community) have had more than enough stories


    By all means, know how to drink. The problem is that instead of informing people how to do it, they are told not to do what they will do anyhow. Bochurim should realize that it takes time for the drink to take effect. They should not pile one on the other. Also, there is a limit that you know you took too much no matter what you are feeling.


    One of the great Halachic misconceptions is thinking that the Rema says to go to sleep.


    So what does the Rema really say?

    ☕️coffee addict

    I’ll answer for HaLeivi,

    The Rema says drink more than you’re used to then go to sleep from the wine


    According to the Rema, you have to drink enough wine that the wine will put you to sleep.



    About going to sleep, the Rav mentioned previously (Rav Avrohom Yitzchok Ulman ????”?, Rov of Givat Shaul (Yerushalayim) and one of the dayonim of the Badatz of the Edah HaChareidis) also told me it is not necessary at all to go to sleep, there is no need for that.

    About the rest, I’ll repeat, for those who might not have seen it (such as Logician): there is absolutely no need to drink wine on Purim, grape juice is also fine, even just half a cup is enough.


    Chassidishe gatesheader: I don’t understand what grape juice has to do with purim. If you don’t need to get drunk, fine–but why should you drink grape juice instead of apple juice or water?


    Probably he means fermented grape juice.


    “I’ll repeat, for those who might not have seen it (such as Logician)”

    I saw it. And I was addressing you when I said that its clear that many poskim, black on white, say you should get drunk. They won’t go away no matter how many times you repeat the psak YOU received.


    I also like to point out, that it is a machlokes if you can be yotzei through drinking until you fall asleep (pass out) or if you really need to be ad dlo yada.

    But everyone is modeh that you are yotzei if you do ad dlo yada. This is a main mitzva of purim- shouldn’t we be machmir to be yotzei l’kol hadeios?


    popa: Thanks.

    Mechaber — He is your strongest rayah since he quotes straight from the gemara (rif) rather than Rambam who does say wine.

    Rema — True, he doesn’t mention wine, but he does mention a heter that was apparently not niskabel by bnei Torah. ????? ??????? ??? ??????? 😉

    M”B — Brings Rema’s heter

    Chayei Adam — By saying so he strongly implies the ikkar mitzva is with wine. Wine always means grape wine unless otherwise specified.

    No time to look up the rest, I don’t have a bar Ilan. Though I know a guy named Ilan who works near a bar…

    Thank you again for your kanaus on behalf of this most important mitzva 😛



    I suppose because of the brocho. Grape juice is equal to wine whenever required – kiddush, havdoloh, chuppoh….

    Beyond that, don’t know. In any case, there is no requirement to drink alcohol.


    You follow yours, I’ll follow mine. Just don’t claim *all* poskim require one to get drunk, because that is not true.


    As it happens, I always use wine anyway, because:

    A. It tastes good, and is too expensive to drink daily.

    B. It feels chashuv to sit and drink wine.

    C. I think I get a better high off wine than other alcohol.

    D. I like to fill a big cup of it and jump on people and force them to drink it. Till the last drop. Until who drop. Until you drop. Now just let me open up your mouth…


    See now, we really should point out something significant. The point of getting smashed, is because the neis happened through drinking wine.

    How much did they drink? Enough to make him kill his wife.

    So do you think you remember that by drinking a little glass of rashi light? NO! You remember it by getting drunk out of your brains!

    ??? ?????…??? ?? ?????


    Never said all, said many.

    YOU said there’s no such thing.

    short-term memory lapse forgiven.


    popa: As it happens, I always use wine anyway, because:

    And there you come to the reasons why I would continue to drink wine even if I were thoroughly convinced that whiskey was just as good for the mitzva


    Perhaps someone who becomes unwell from a bit of wine, has a heter to not get drunk on a Purim. A shaila could be asked.


    Someone asked R’ Avraham Schorr Shlit”a what to do about drinking on Purim, and he said to just drink a drop of alcohol and go to sleep for a half hour, and you will be yotzeh the mitzvah.

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