Mar 4, 2018

Drunken Davening

I spent part of Friday, and Shabbos, in Jerusalem. Jerusalem celebrates Purim on Shusan Purim, which was Friday. I had forgotten about it, but that means Purim going right into Shabbos ends up meaning a lot of drunk people going into Shabbos might end up in shul Friday night possibly leading to a very interesting experience.

Normally, the shul we daven in when in Jerusalem is a very European shul, semi-hassidic, with strict decorum and a very serious membership. It is also always very tight with many guests and yeshiva bochurim.

It struck me that we were in for an experience even before I got to shul. As I was leaving to shul I saw some hassidim still in costume heading out to shul, some walking crooked, clearly inebriated, some carrying cups or even bottles of wine, etc. I then realized that Purim leading into Shabbos was going to be interesting,

We get to shul and it isnt quite full yet, and seats are available, which is unusual in and of itself. There are a few people with Purim hats and some people looking a bit disheveled, but overall most people were Shabbosdik and seemed ok. Shortly after, the action began. Some drunk people came in, people were coming and going, it seemed like every few minutes some more drunks came, and things got very lively.

The davening was raucous and wild, with many drunk or high people standing by the aron kodesh and dancing and jumping and screaming and leading services. Along with that,m many were also on the bima doing the same. Essentially, there were many drunk chazzanim all at the same time, some with tallis, some without, most with wine bottles. This normally very stodgy minyan that does not really sing much was doing the entire kabbalas shabbos davening wildly to the Carlebach tunes. We thought the bima would collapse at some point, there were so many people on it and they were jumping and dancing.

Davening was wild. I was surprised that the gabbaim or leadership let it happen, but they were ok with it. I guess they expected it and consider it part of the routine because of Purim.

Some observations and thoughts:
1. on the one hand it felt really bad, like serious "bizui bet knesset" - degrading to the sanctity of the shul. I know some shuls say that drunks should not come in order to not mistreat the sanctity of the shul. It really felt wrong.
2. On the other hand, it is nice to see people enjoying themselves and happy, especially in the the framework of a mitzva and celebrating the holiday. And they were not out drunk stealing things, beating people up, and the like, just a wild davening.
3. most of the people drunk and out of control were young - guys in their early 20s or so, it seemed. The older adults were either not drunk or at least in control of themselves. Is getting drunk on Purim something largely done by young yeshiva guys but older adults do it less, make do with just drinking a bit more than usual? Do they get drunk too but stay home form shul? Do they get drunk but not to the point of losing control?
4. The drunken davening was all good and fun but that is only as long as it doesnt get violent. I saw two instances where a drunk was borderline violent - I did not see exactly what he did - and in both instances people from the shul physically threw the drunkards out of shul. The rest they let continue undisturbed.

Reach thousands of readers with your ad by advertising on Life in Israel

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...