There is a halachic problem, as has been discussed previously, with praying while being drunk. If someone gets drunk on Purim, how does he manage to fulfill the mitzvah to pray three times a day?

Perhaps I'm disregarding various levels of drunkenness. Is it possible to fulfill the halacha of getting drunk on Purim (Shulkhan Aruch Orach Chaim 695:2) and still manage to be in a suitable state to pray (being presentable before a king)? I'm looking to know if a middle ground could work: if being typsy could fulfill the Purim halacha and still permit one to pray.

I would happy to hear if there is a proper procedure that accommodates both the custom and mitzvah. If it's not possible, how does this custom of drunkenness prevail, as a person would then be intentionally skipping a mitzvah?

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    this depends on one's holding that the minhag is to drink until drunk. I have heard 2 other minhagim -- 2 drink a bit more than one is used to, or to drink a bit and take a nap (during sleep one cannot tell the difference between H and M). according to either of those understandings, there is less concern over the davening-while-drunk question – rosends Feb 15 '13 at 13:51
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    @SethJ: I'd be happy to hear how to make the question more constructive. The question I linked cites the halacha of not being able "to stand before a king." That doesn't sound like illness, but general drunkenness (correct me if I'm wrong). Many religious Jews get very drunk on Purim, and I'm simply curious to know what they do to still fulfill the mitzvah of tefillah. Again, I'm happy to hear suggestions that improve the question. – Aryeh Feb 15 '13 at 14:06
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    I think that this question is viable as-is, though it would do better with its assumptions made more clear, per above comments. The current formulation of "How do you do this? If impossible, why does this custom prevail?" seems valid, since I think we can agree to the empirical point that drinking to the point of true senselessness is, indeed, quite common, including in otherwise religious circles. – Isaac Moses Feb 15 '13 at 14:37
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    Also, is this a how-to question, or a how-can-it-be question? – Seth J Feb 15 '13 at 17:02
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    If I'm drunk I'm patur from davening. So what's the problem? I'm patur! – Double AA Feb 15 '13 at 20:13

Most solutions to this question involve either a compromise on drunkenness, or on prayer. Either you can follow one of the opinions which allow you to fulfil the obligation of drinking without actually getting drunk (Rema, M"B) or an opinion that allows you to pray while drunk (see @Gershon Gold's citation from Nitei Gavriel. I didn't know there was a legitimate opinion allowing that until today, thanks.)
There is, however, a solution that allows for both. Remain sober until Mincha Gedolah, and pray. Then get drunk at the se'uda (which is probably the best time for that anyway), sleep it off, and go to a late ma'ariv.

  • It might also be possible to pray at sunrise, hearing the megilah, and then send the gifts and charity, and eat immediately afterwards (to fulfill the Mishnah Brurah's advice to have the meal early) and sleep until Minchah Ketanah. Though this is probably impractical for most people. – b a Feb 17 '13 at 18:10
  • @ba It's interesting that the Rambam's p'sak about sleeping is understood differently by the Aruch HaShulchan and the Emek B'racha. The former holds that a person is yotzei once he falls asleep due to his drinking. The latter holds that sleep is a temporary p'tur; if the guy wakes up, he must continue livsumei. – Fred Feb 17 '13 at 18:32
  • @Fred Where does the Aruch HaShulchan say this? In 695 he quotes lots of authorities, but doesn't make clear his own position. I didn't see him say that. He seems to be dissatisfied with the Rama's psak to sleep, since he says that the intention of the Rambam was that the rule to intoxicate no longer applies, (cont. ...) – b a Feb 17 '13 at 19:39
  • but since most poskim hold it still applies then according to his reasoning you can't fulfill the obligation by sleeping (if he follows most poskim). And who is the Emek Brachah? Is it quoted by the Mishnah Brurah? – b a Feb 17 '13 at 19:39
  • @ba I was referring to the AH's understanding of the Rambam, not the AH's own p'sak. – Fred Feb 17 '13 at 19:59

This question is hard to answer the same for everyone. People function differently when they drink. Nitei Gavriel Hilchos Purim 73:3 discusses one who will be unable to preform the required Mitzvos should either not drink, or drink only a bit at the Seuda. Nitei Gavriel Hilchos Purim 73:5 also mentions one should be careful not to drink so much, that he will be unable to pray Mincha.

see this link

There are 3 different levels of drunkenness. There are those that can still talk to a distinguished person (Adam Chashiv) properly. Rav Kook Zatzal in Sidur Olas Re'iya volume 1:440 says that although regularly it is prohibited to pray even in such a state, on Purim where there is a Mitzva to drink, one may pray in such a situation.

Then you have one who can not talk to a distinguished person properly anymore. Even in this case Rav Kook Zatzal says if he can fear Hashem and control himself he may be allowed to pray on Purim.

However if one is drunk as Lot he is not allowed to pray in such a state.

  • On the other hand, one who is drunk as Lot probably thinks he can still talk to a distinguished person properly. Kind of a problem. – Seth J Feb 15 '13 at 18:27
  • @SethJ He might then also think he davened but really skip or mess up 98% of the words. – Double AA Feb 15 '13 at 20:12

Shulchan Aruch, OC 235:4, reads:

One who reads the evening "Sh'ma" after the rise of amud hashachar [roughly: "dawn"] before sunrise has not fulfilled his obligation, unless he was compelled [to read it so late]: for example, if he was drunk, sick, or the like.

Mishna B'rura 31 comments:

Even if he got drunk after the time of reciting "Sh'ma" has commenced, i.e. after [nightfall], he is not considered a deliberate [transgressor], for he was thinking there's still time during which his drunkenness will wear off. But if he got drunk soon before [dawn], so that there is no opportunity in such a short period to wear off his drunkenness, then he is not considered compelled, and he doesn't fulfill his obligation [of prayer].

This seems clearly to apply to maariv of the night after Purim, and I don't see why that wouldn't apply to mincha of Purim itself (viz that one could get drunk in the afternoon if he expects to be sober by the last time to say mincha), though of course for practical halacha you should contact your rabbi.

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