The prevalent מנהג is that women do not get drunk on Purim. I assume this due to tznius (modesty) concerns. Is there any ancient or recent source that explicitly discusses women not/yes drinking on Purim?


Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky writes on page 129 of Kovetz Halchos that a woman is obligated to drink a rivies of wine on Purim, and that she can fulfil this obligation with grape juice (see footnote 231).

In footnote 230, he holds that since women are obligated in all the mitzvos of the day, they are also obligated to drink a little wine, but to drink a lot of wine is an issur and degrading for women, as it says in Kesuvos 65a. The Kehillos Yaakov in Orchos Rabbeinu 3:97 paskens the same.

See also Rivevos Ephraim 7:210, and other tshuvos of his in chelek 1 and 4. (I don’t remember siman.)

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    Ever seen a drunk man vomit? Its degrading for him too... – Double AA Feb 5 '14 at 2:14
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    I saw in one of the Rivevos that a woman doesn't bench on a cos because it is a genai,so he made a kal vchomer if by a mitzva of a cos is pushed aside then drinking certainly can be pushed aside,something along those lines – sam Feb 5 '14 at 2:21
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    Who said women dont bentch on a kos? Ive seen many women do that at the seder. – Double AA Feb 5 '14 at 2:29
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    @doubleaa ,see Sharei Tzion 6 ,see also Rivevos Ephraim 1:458 at end hebrewbooks.org/… – sam Feb 5 '14 at 2:38
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    The Talmud in Pesahim says that Gd hates one who gets drunk. Go figure. – Baby Seal Mar 12 '14 at 0:06

The following sources indicate that though women are included in all the mitzvos of the day of Purim (Megillah 4a, Pri Megadim Eishel Avraham 695:14) this does not include drinking:

Rivevos Ephraim 1:458, 4:173:10, 53, Mekadesh Yisroel Purim 334, Moadim V’zemanim (Rav Moshe Shternbuch shlitah) 2:190, Natei Gavriel Purim 73:4, Shevet HaLevi 10:18:2, Shulchan Aruch Hamekutzar 123:footnote 19. See Shaar Hatzion 199:6.

Source: Halachically Speaking 10:3 page 12 (pdf)

  • But Megillah 4a (your source) doesn't distinguish between the different mitzvot. How do any of these sources know to add this distinction to the Halakha? There appears to be no basis for this other than their intuition. – Double AA Mar 13 '14 at 17:05

According to Rabbi Efrayim Greenblat (a student of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein), in his work Rivevot Efrayim, it is inappropriate for a woman to drink intoxicating beverages, even on Purim.

Source: Rivevot Efrayim (1:458), taken from http://www.dailyhalacha.com/Display.asp?PageIndex=&ClipID=1596

  • Back in the day people drank wine like we drink water. When did this prohibition begin? – Double AA Mar 13 '14 at 16:56
  • What about Dalet Kosot? – Double AA Mar 13 '14 at 17:40
  • This seems a duplicate of part of this preexisting answer. I recommend you delete it therefore, MarkN. – msh210 Mar 13 '14 at 17:40
  • What about Pesach? Should they have grape juice instead? – SAH Apr 27 '16 at 15:01

I heard from the Rivevos Ephrayim's uncle R. Nota Greenblatt Shlita that perhaps women are pattur from mitzvos on Purim as mitzvos assei shehazman grama, except for Megilla which is zecher lanes and they were also involved in the nes. It is possible that the s'udah which is likely for simcha is not included. Drinking would seem to be a part of the Seudah as implied by Rambam Hil. Megillah 2:15.

[Furthermore on a technical level, even if the drinking also serves to commemorate the miracle that isnt sufficient to obligate them, for there are other commandments such as succah which the Torah describes as being "so that your descendants shall know that I settled you in Succos" yet women are exempt from. This is because (as explained by R. Soloveitcihk and presumably earlier writers) the commandment of succah is not defined as a commemoration of the miracle; rather the commemoration is merely a theme of the commandment. Readiing the Megillah which is the Gemara's example of the obligation of women on Purim is different because the commandment is technically classified as being a commemoration. Thus even according to the opinions that drinking on Purim is to commemorate the miracles that came about through wine, it is still entirely possible that women would be exempt.]

Nit'ei Gavriel says women do not need to drink at all.

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    Isn't RNG the Rivevos Ephrayim's brother? – Double AA Jan 23 '15 at 5:00
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    Nope. He is the younger brother of R. Ephyayim's father. – mevaqesh Jan 27 '15 at 15:17
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    Even if it is entirely possible a priori, it is extremely unlikely as the vast majority of poskim require a woman to given Shaloch Manos and Mattanos Laniyim. – Double AA Feb 2 '15 at 2:33
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    These poskim that I have found are all clustered in the late 19th century and later. Perhaps the silence of the earlier authorities is telling in the matter. Furthermore, Brisk style poskim dont really worry too much about these poskim, focusing instead primarily on the Rishonim. – mevaqesh Feb 2 '15 at 2:43
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    19th Century? The Rama rules women are obligated in Shaloch Manos and Mattanos Laniyim well before then. – Double AA Feb 2 '15 at 2:53

Women drinking is generally discouraged. In Kesubos 65a the Gemara discusses giving a widow wine. Rashi says the reason we do not is that it increases sexual desire. However, if she is used to it, the Gemara says that it doesn't affect her (so we do give her).

This means that an amount not reasonably assumed to affect her is okay, but not more. I think that it is a reasonable assessment that purim drinking exceeds that threshold.

Maybe the Gemara itself never included women. It says chayav inash--a man is obligated... Maybe that's just Purim Torah...maybe not.

  • Why do you think "man" is used davka instead of just as "human"? – Double AA Feb 5 '14 at 2:11
  • It's not meant to be definitive, but otherwise it would say Adam, the typical term for human. It's a diyuk which is only sensible after one already has an answer. – Ish Ploni ViKohen Feb 5 '14 at 2:43
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    I usually call those: bad diyukim. – Double AA Feb 5 '14 at 20:44
  • @DoubleAA I agree that it is a bad diyuk. Incidentally it is made by Rabbi Harpennes. – mevaqesh Mar 2 '16 at 20:11
  • @mevaqesh I don't know who that is or why that matters. – Double AA Mar 2 '16 at 20:25

The Rambam says by hilchos yom tov in general where he famously states that men women and children get simchah in different ways on yom tov. The source for it being simchah on Purim is Moadim Vizmanim based on the Gra. This is where he points out children don't drink, the same ligic applies to women. Also note, the Brisker Rav basically states that it is the simchah of drinking in Emek Brachah I think. Additional, thirds fits with the shiur of arur/baruch only being a Petur.

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    Are you suggesting women have a Mitzva of getting new clothes on Purim? There is not a shred of evidence for that in the Rambam AFAICT. Here is your Moadim Vizmanim [sic] quoting the Gra hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=19963&st=&pgnum=390 Note how he distinguishes multiple kinds of Simcha, and how his logic about children doesn't apply to women at all (!) as they are Gedolim who are obligated in a Seudah. This post leaves much to be desired. – Double AA Mar 15 '16 at 19:55
  • The source for what being simcha on Purim? Also what does this sentence mean? "Additional, thirds fits with the shiur of arur/baruch only being a Petur." – wfb Mar 15 '16 at 20:07
  • Welcome to Mi Yodea user12218 The rambam says that women and children get simchah in the same way? – kouty Mar 15 '16 at 23:35
  • aa, If you recheck that Rambam (Hilchos Shvitat Yom Tov Chapter 6 Halacha 18), you will see that he says men eat meat and drink wine, women get new clothes, children toys or sweets or something. Note that is by Yom Tov, not Purim. Also see Moadim Uzmanim by Purim where he explains in the footnotes that children don't have the required "psychological" capacity for the type of simchah Purim drinking brings, hence, no drinking is needed for them (not even for chinuch). Now, if we place these – user12517 Apr 27 '16 at 2:45
  • two facts together, see that since women don't get the type of simcha (that is "Yom Tov Type" simchah) we want, they don't drink. I do not recall exactly where the Brisker Rav says that Purim drinking is simchah, but Moadim Vzmanim references it. Also, the Magid Mishne or one of the Nosai Kailim on the Rambam (this ime by hilchos Purim) imply it. But all this is simple anyway, isn't it? I mean Rebbe told the Matrunisa that he only drank kiddush, havdala, and the four cups. So he didn't drink on Purim because he didnt enjoy it! See Maharsha there for what he didn't drink on Yom Tov. – user12517 Apr 27 '16 at 2:45

Women are not included in the mitzvah of drinking for happiness as codified by the Rambam, so it was always a nonstarter. Nowadays, there are women who like to drink, so modern Poskim point out that it isn't tznius to do so.

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    Can you source this Rambam more precisely? Where does he say that? I'm pretty sure he just says "The Seudah is held like this: XYZ" and doesn't mention any distinction between genders. – Double AA Mar 2 '16 at 17:18

Let's keep this simple:

Women do not get simchah from wine.

Purim drinking is for simchah.

Therefore, women don't drink.

This doesn't mean you buy new clothes, it doesn't mean a lady can't enjoy wine; it means women never had a reason to drink in the first place.

Now, I am about as ignorant as they come, so I can't source this or predict what inferences the internet will make from it, but I can't stand to read what people write. I better take my own advice and go learn something.

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    Ugh welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thanks for your first answer! If you haven’t done so already, you should take a look at the tour. MY places a lot of emphasis on sources (after all most of us don’t know you personally). Maybe you will be interested by something I wrote to help you understand the site "A beginner’s guide to MY - How is this site different from other Judaism sites” ? – mbloch Mar 23 '16 at 14:30
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    and maybe you can clarify the source of the idea that women do not get simcha from wine. It doesn't match my personal experience but maybe Chazal saw it differently – mbloch Mar 23 '16 at 14:31

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