Ignoring The Social Drinking Problem

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    It has become prevalent today to see young adults becoming drunk on a regular basis at Simchos on Shabbos.

    I am writing this letter at the end of the summer but should have been mentioned in the beginning where the problem seems to grow in bungalow colonies and country home developments. How are we expected to explain to our children about the effects and problems of alcohol addiction when they see adults who are respected people in the neighborhood drinking away the whole Shabbos Kodesh.

    When I see adults and teenagers discussing and comparing various drinks like Scotch, Whiskey Bourbon etc. it makes me cry.

    You may disagree and explain that alcohol was always offered and allowed at Kiddashim. My answer is that it was never with so much focus, abuse and abundance.

    The problem is growing as teenagers are taking on this habit which can lead to irreversible consequences.

    A Concerned Parent.


    Didnt we have a whole thread on this last summer?

    Y.W. Editor

    you people are making the problem bigger than it is.


    I for one am not ignoring the drinking problem…


    In all seriousness, it is a very serious issue which needs to be addressed and re-addressed again & again until it’s dealt with.

    jO jO

    I was a kiddush recently, and there must have been 30 bottles of booze with one guy just forcing everyone to have a few more drinks.

    Utterly disgusting.

    Not to mention that each bottle was $100 or more….


    I have never seen anyone get drunk by a kiddush, you gotta hang around the right pple.


    Dont let your friends drive after drinking if they are the least bit tipsy or acting funny. DUIs should be treated like murder.


    This is a big problem that we all must take seriously!! This includes camps. Somehow no one seems to be on top of the boys and plenty of drinking goes on in camp and on days off.


    The problem really becomes serious at Purim. I have seen teenagers who were way too young to drink who were drunk to the point of being ill (not to mention sometimes being obnoxious). Some of them had obtained the alcohol at the homes of their rebbeim whom they had gone to visit and take shalach manos! I have also seen some pretty rowdy behavior by bochrim at chasanahs.

    What goes for Purim seeps into the rest of the year. A similar problem goes for smoking. I’ve heard that many people who were hooked on nicotine smoked their first cigarettes on Purim as a “joke.” It should also be noted that using alcohol in excess is frequently a first step in using harder drugs.

    Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski has addressed this issue many times. The problem is that we have had the “shikkur is a goy” drummed into us for so long that we have forgotten that Jews can drink too. I have known a number of people who were hard-working and sober all week but who got quietly bombed at the Shabbos table. Their behavior was never offensive or non-Torahdik, but I’m sure the young people saw and took note.

    When I was in college back in the ’60’s one of the excuses my friends gave for doing drugs was that after all their parents drank at parties and got sloshed, so why is it so bad to do it with marijuana? At least you stay quiet and don’t get into arguments.

    As for guidelines, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for a nation-wide pronouncement, but maybe prominent local Rabbonim could be persuaded to do something. I personally hold with the old-fashioned idea that 21 should be the drinking age for hard liquor, period, Purim or not. A small amount of wine or liqeuer at the Shabbos table should be the limit.

    For those interested in medical issues, studies in brain function and neurology have shown that the areas of the brain that have to do with judgment don’t fully mature until around 20 or so, and that excessive alcohol consumption as a teenager can have unpleasant effects on development.

    It is time to do something.


    This is becoming a greater issue. I have been to weddings where the number of expensive Single malt scotches on the boys table rival’s shelves in stores! And they were being emptied!

    I went to a Simcha where all the bottles were taken from the public Kiddush table by the boys and when an adult came to take a lechayim the boys were very unhappy. I myself removed a bottle, took it to my table shared some with the adults, who drank a Lechayim, no more. Just to put a dent in their drinking. One of the boys came back to take back “his” bottle. When I said he had enough, he said “I am a responsible adult” I looked at him and said “Apparently you are not!” He then took a new approach and just said “are you drinking that? I said yes, and poured it into an empty glass. (Which was thrown out) He made an issue of gathering up every bottle of booze in the place and walking by trying to catch my eye. (He did not, my wife said something to me afterwards)

    It should be noted that HIS PARENTS were there also!

    I find this behavior so obnoxious that when I someone points out an available boy on these tables as a potential shidduch, I tell the shadchan, he is not a potential for any of my children! These boys attend what people would call IVY LEAGUE yeshivas. I think it is reprehensible.

    I would like to say that I attended an aufruf last week and there was not a single bottle of booze on the boys table. The boys all acted with the utmost derech eretz and remained Sober.

    There will be no Booze served at that wedding either!

    The only way to address this problem is for adults to take a stand, even if the adult is not related. Get the bottles off of the table. Caterers have no problem with removing booze from tables. Rabbeim should also remove booze from their talmidim’s tables and then when they are back in yeshiva give these guys a shmooz about such behavior.

    Will this help? Maybe, maybe not. But it may, and it certainly will be better than doing NOTHING!


    i have been at lostof simchos were there was both man and women and young yeshiva boys drunk speciality when they have mixed drinks at weddings or bar mitzvh each drink when mixed has a lot more liquor then you drink a regular shot of liquor i do not know what shall be done may be a responsible person should give the drinks



    It has come that time. Dry simchos/Kiddushim may be needed. Another option that I have seen is that only the Baal Simcha has a bottle, and goes around with it offering to his friends.


    This has become a tremendous problem. The competition as to who has the better single malt, who can drink more etc. is rampant.

    The other issue that has been addressed in the past, but seems to have been swept under the rug, is the popularity of the kiddush club. In some shuls, this has become the main reason to come to shul shabbos mornings. And the children that witness this can only grow up thinking that this is the norm.

    Shuls need to place a stop to the kiddush club and, as someone else said, perhaps a stop to all drinking in the shul period.

    NY Mom

    I have a really simple question.

    As I am generally home with small children and do not attend kiddushim, it may seem silly of me to ask, but…If this is such a major problem, why doesn’t the Rav of each shul address the issue? I mean, limit the shnapps or assur it or whatever.

    If each Rav of each shul would do this, wouldn’t that address the drinking-in-shul-as-an-excuse problem?


    It all begins with the ridiculou custom of using shnapps/ I have seen people at a simple weekday yahrzeit kiddush down several shots of liquor. What halachah is he fulfilling? Why serve liquor at all?


    Mi Keamcha, you think that we are making too much of this, when in fact, the problem is even worse and more pervasive and insidious than you think! I live next door to a Yeshivah, and the UNDERAGE boys get HAMMERED on Purim and Simchas Torah. I have seen boys throwing up on my lawn. These boys were not even 17, much less of legal age to drink. One boy had to be brought by Hatzalah to a local hospital, suffering from acute intoxication. Another one crashed into the local UPS trick during Shalach manos deliveries taht the boy was making in his father’s car, and wrecked the car , dented the UPS truck, and grinned stupidly as the UPS guy read him the riot act. I found out, because the non-Jewish very nice UPS guy stopped by my house to deliver something for my neighbor who was not home, and he asked me if getting smashed was a religious thing. What a chillul Hashem this was!


    instead of assuring teach

    Dr D

    We in fact made a liquor-less chassunah just a few weeks ago. Our michutanim did not want to pay the outrageous fees and we were completely fine with that. There was wine served by the hotel wait staff at the meal as the only alcoholic beverage and it was only served in moderation to those who appeared to them as 18 and over.

    I received a total of 4 comments, 2 were made as simply as an “aside”, one made a prolonged comment and one was persistent until he got some alcohol (the next day). Out of 450 guests I would state that it was NOT a major issue in any way. Perhaps if everyone stopped serving hard liquor, the families would save a great deal of money, the behavior exhibited by the males present would be a greater Kiddush Hashem, and people would stop feeling a sense of entitlement, that a simcha owes them the booze.


    I think all of you including the letter writer are totally mixing up the issues and by doing so you water down the severity of it all

    The issue is not that people enjoy one type of scotch over another or if a mature adult has a few shots at a yartzeit kiddush (that’s his desion as a mature or not so adult ) or the costs of the shnaps at a wedding (that’s the person that’s paying for its problem stupid him throwing out his money like that these “problems” have been around since the invention of the drink

    The main issue is self control if we live our lives out of control and that goes for everything let it be the way we dress the jealousy the backstaging and so forth then its no wonder one has no self control when it comes to drinking its no wonder a teenager that was never taught by hos father moderation and self control that was brought up what ever you want how ever you want (and theres no reason to blame this on the “IVY LEAGE YESHIVAH”) then what do you expect where always giving excuses for bad behaver its everyone and everything but ones self

    Let’s take a minute step back and look into our lives and the chinuch of our children are we acting and teaching self control schar veonesh or do we just let every thing slide by for after all it wasent my fault


    Something that’s been mentioned in this thread has only made the problem even more clear. Being a connoisseur of sorts of single malt scotch whiskys, I enjoy sipping on a small glass at a kiddush while having a conversation. But the whole concept of “shots” is absurd. Nobody takes shots because they enjoy the taste; you take a shot for one purpose only: to get inebriated.

    Alcohol should not be something that is used for the purpose of getting inebriated. When I drink (scotch or beer), it is because I enjoy the taste. If you feel the need to get drunk in order to have fun, you probably have other issues that need discussing.


    I think people shouldn’t be serving alcohol at Bar Mitzvahs either! The young 13 year olds are drinking regular alcohol- that might be when the problem starts! I’m sure(at least I hope) their parents wouldn’t be to thrilled!


    I dont feel there is any need to eradicate all drinks at a kiddish, come on!!!! A person should know the crowd he is inviting and its practiclly the only time I actually have a shot. Most people do drink responsively and for the few that dont they will eventually grow up. Dont go to retarded kiddishes where everyone gets plastered cuz those arent the ones you enjoy going to anyways. To eradicate booz at a kiddish is like banning cake, it did start as Lekech and Bronfon did it not? Im sorry but you need to grow up!!


    I used to think this whole topic, especially as it related to underage bachurim, was overrated and overhyped, until my nephew went away for yeshiva (after 12th grade). He would come home every off shabbos and tell us how “guys in the dorm would get plastered on long friday nights during the winter”. Week after week. Guys would get so drunk friday night, they would miss most of shabbos.


    i didn’t know it is such a serious issue. I thought smoking was the serious issue


    Editor: Whatever you did, sure was successful in getting a lot of non-regulars to post here!


    The problem is bad and wont stop until they ban it at Simchas. Theres no reason to offer it. We grew up in the last generation without it and there was a pure happiness at a freinds Wedding. I was at a wedding recently and found a 6 yr. old with his older brother only 8 years old drinking outside the hall. I immediately took it away from them and explained them how bad of a habit it can become. Where are the parents! Once i drove a bachur in Lakewood from his Dorm to Yeshiva in middle of the week before second seder and i smelled alcohol on his breath! Whats next? Drugs?! Hashem Yishmor.This a new Mishugaas and it got to STOP! QUICK! The Rabbonim can say no shnaps at awedding or we’re not Mesader Kidushin! What would be if the Chosson or Kallah would say I dont want aMechitza or we want mixed dancing? Would the rabbonim still go along? This is Worse! Its Saconas Nefashos! So we must get the Rabonim to stand up and do something! Next we will get to stopping the crazy music!

    Avreich Man

    What is this, “Do as I say not as I do??”

    Guidelines and other efforts forced upon young people will have no effect so long as the parents are still drinking.

    And they won’t stop.

    They only way to stop your children from copying your drinking is for you to stop your drinking.

    And that’s just too hard for most people.


    Is drinking Moshka during the Kiddush on Shabbos part of Oneg Shabbos? Stronger is better ( I don’t know why) I have seen where the emphasis at a Shabbos Kiddush is based on the Alcoholic Content of the Moshka.

    I respect Young Israel of Woodmere (which I heard) has a non alcoholic Kiddush Policy.


    Dear gotch. If the alcohol problem was solved, people would be sober enough to realice the music is ridiculous. It would stop on its own 🙂



    Everyone is different, but for me the mashke kiddush on Shabbos and Yom Tov (which indeed is not the proper minhag even and especially for us in Chabad!) prevents me from wanting to go near alcohol during the week, even at simchas except those of people who I am very close with and where I must make lechaim.

    The buzz I get is fine for resting on Shabbos, and since I eat a lot more on Shabbos and YT than I do during the week the ethanol gets absorbed fast and the buzz is all over and done with fast especially if I have a chance to put my head down between kiddush and Mincha. Since I know full well I don’t want that buzz or any drowsiness during the week I don’t touch the stuff and haven’t even kept any mashke at home for anything but cooking in a long time.


    When I was in Israel last year, people on my program thought I was “weird” because I didn’t drink, EVER, except for a Dixie cup of wine at Kiddush. I do like the taste of wine, but after seeing them all go crazy with hard liquor, getting drunk every night, I decided I didn’t want any part of it. Unfortunately, because the drinking age in Israel is 18, alcohol is easily obtainable. The saddest part is that when I expressed my concerns to the program director, he didn’t seem to care.


    Liquor, at a Bar Mitzvah?? That is ridiculous. That is really a waste of money. What purpose is it to serve liquor at such an occassion where so many young boys are around.

    Also, I don’t understand how some simcha halls don’t ask for ID when people ask for liquor. Although, I did attend a wedding in February, with my 17 year old son, and when he asked for a Pina Colada, the bartender, would not give it to him because it had alcohol in it. My son told me about it and I was happy to see that someone was doing their job. I think the heavy drinking has got to stop. It is dangerous and just asking for trouble. They only people who should be drinking the wine at a wedding is the Bride and Groom.

    I also like to drink the occassional small glass of wine, only on a Friday night(where I will be home and not going anywhere). I don’t understand how can a person who has thrown up because of drinking, would ever want to drink in access ever again. Do these people like feeling sick?? A few years ago, I did not want to “waste” the bottle of wine that we had around, so I finished it up. I had never felt so sick in my life. I threw up and had such a major headache for the next for hours. I stayed next to the toliet for 1/2 an hour. That episode had cured me of trying to have more then one glass of wine. I just don’t understand the draw. It is absolutlely revolting to get drunk.


    Mazal, I thought that a bride and groom can’t drink on their wedding day. (Unless you meant that little sip at the chuppah.)

    I don’t see social drinking among adults as a problem in general. People should know their limits. We can’t control everything. Of course adults should be responsible around teenagers and adults, especially on Purim and Simchat Torah when the spirits run free…but to ban drinks by a kiddush or parties is taking it too far.


    600kilo’s comment makes me wonder: if men get buzzed on Shabbos, how much time do they have for meaningful learning?

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