Alcohol vs Simcha

I have to admit to liking a drop. Strangely however I’ve never been able to take part in the rather heavy “straight to the head on an empty stomach” that occurs on Shemini Atzeres during or before Hakofos. I don’t know why, but if I had to hazard a guess, I’d say I appreciate that people have been generous, but the “barn like” atmosphere affects half of me.  the Brisker side, and not the Amshinover side. That’s speculation. I don’t really know. My disposition on Simchas Torah is laboured. I tend to look at the Sefer Torah and find it harder as I get older to muster Simcha because the older I get the more I realise that there is much more that I don’t know than I do know. I tend to stand, and look in a Sefer, and probably appears (unintentionally) pompous or remote. It’s my issue. I heard I nice vort today from Rabbi Chaim Tzvi Groner where he said the מחשבה … cognisant thinking are the same letters as בשמחה and that through מחשבה of good things as opposed to wallowing in one’s “I haven’t yet achieved where I should get to” one may get to בשמחה. This is of course quite consistent with modern-day psychology which exhorts parents et al to concentrate on the achievements and the good things. Likely, I am still affected by the hole in my life, that is my father, but should concentrate on the wonderful new additions of our four beautiful grandchildren כן ירבו בדרך התורה והמצווה על פי המסורה הקדושה.

The following two videos are presented in this blog as food for thought. I think there may be a part 3. I’m not sure. I will post it, if I see it.



Personally I have a long way to go to get past “going through the motions”. When one is younger, especially returning from higher Yeshivah, one is convinced that they have the Torah. The Brisker influenced part of me, especially from the Rav, and then realising what an ant I am listening to HaGaon Rav Hershel Schachter שליט’’א, has turned me into something more sanguine. It’s not humbleness. It’s just reality. I can’t hide reality.

Author: pitputim

I've enjoyed being a computer science professor in Melbourne, Australia, as well as band leader/singer for the Schnapps Band. My high schooling was in Chabad and I continued at Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh in Israel and later in life at Machon L'Hora'ah, Yeshivas Halichos Olam.

7 thoughts on “Alcohol vs Simcha”

  1. So far I have heard the first dvd and part of the second.
    It seems that as part of the simcha it has to be expressed through dirinking wine on yom tov.
    To my mind this can be fuliflled with a reviis wine (apart from wine for the kiddush). In fact I think that if a Cohen has drunk more than a reviis wine he cannot do the avoda in the beit hamikdash.
    Do the 2 dvd’s deal with making kiddush on simchat torah on “mashke”?
    Am I correct that the sources say that on purim its a mizvah to get drunk but there is no such mizvah for simchat torah?


    1. There is no mitzvah there is an expectation! As I get older I need less to release the ‘other’ that prevents me being in pure Simcha but I’m an oddball. I get Simcha by learning AND understanding what I learned


  2. I am sorry I’m replying to this blog so late.
    The purpose of the Yom Tov of
    Simchas Torah is to dedicate and
    in rejoycing of the Torah. At what point does this go from a dignified way of celebrating and the rejoicing of our Torah to the point of going too far and spoiling this beautiful Yom Tov


    1. But there IS a Gemora brought in Shulchan Aruch that on Yom Tov we should drink wine (and have meat). They say Red Wine is good for you. I guess two glasses and you are good!


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