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At a recent Shabbat meal the conversation was about how Purim was a "guy holiday" where women felt like second class citizens, especially married women who often found themselves cooking the seuda, serving it to their husbands, guest, and the bevy of half-drunk people who come by. As well as watching the kids while the husband gets drunk, trying to make sure the house doesn't get destroyed, cleaning up, etc. All the women at the table wholeheartedly concurred (they had similar feelings about Simchas Torah). Simply put they did not feel that Purim, post shaloch manos time, had anything positive for them to relate to.

My question is, assuming this is true, what can be done to make Purim more enjoyable for women, especially married women? Please only post answers which have proven to be successful, not just conjecture.

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    Sounds like her husband isn't being a very good husband. – Double AA Sep 29 '14 at 13:28
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    In our community, the synagogue hosts seudah with an admission fee (certainly less than you'd spend making it yourself), there by reducing the stress on households - no one HAS to host, they can all go to the shul! – Isaac Kotlicky Mar 2 '16 at 13:20
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I have found that at Purim meals where no one gets seriously drunk, everyone tends to have an equivalently-good time. How good a time that is, of course, depends on the quality of the company, conversation, etc., just like at any other gathering. If you're looking for a great source of both holy and fun holiday-appropriate conversation-starters, I recommend our free Purim book, Purim - Mi Yodeya?.

Conversely, at Purim meals where some people get drunk to the point of severely impaired judgement, others at those meals who choose not to attain that state, of any gender, tend to have a less good time as a result. I would advise people who want to enjoy the holiday without getting seriously drunk to try to avoid gatherings where others do.

In particular, if I was a woman with children whose husband was intent on getting seriously drunk, I would consider having him attend a meal with like-minded individuals (making sure that he has a safe way to get home!) and attending or hosting a separate meal for people in my and my children's situation. I am not in that situation, so I can't testify personally as to the effectiveness of this approach.

I can testify to this: A couple of years ago, I decided (beli neder!) to not drink enough on Purim to noticeably affect my behavior, where my previous practice had been to get drunk enough at the Se'uda to act pretty silly. This decision was influenced by multiple rabbis that I look up to preaching against Purim drunkenness year after year, as well as by my wife's annoyance at my relative uselessness, while tipsy, at dealing with the kids. My wife reports (and urged me to add after I showed her the previous paragraphs of this answer) that her Purim experience has, in fact, been enhanced by my drastically reduced inebriation and consequent enhanced usefulness.

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As a man, I can only tell you what my wife tells me she enjoys about Purim.

My wife enjoys dressing our kids up in costumes that sometimes match a theme with our Shaloch Manos and sometimes are just cute, and then showing them off.

When I was single, I did not get drunk on Purim - I followed the opinion of the Rema, to drink more than my usual (which was any amount, since I never drink), and then take a nap. My wife thought this was too boring, and she actually asked me to get a little bit drunk. I try to do it with moderation, but now I get a little bit tipsy on Purim. My wife says this is one of the highlights of her Purim, to see what I'm like when I'm loosened up a bit. (Apparently I have made a good impression thus far.)

We have visitors who come by and we sing and dance with them. My wife likes having people come into the house to just stop by to celebrate with us, and she likes watching our kids dance with the people who come in.

I make sure my wife has time to daven at a pace she would like. Purim is said to be an auspicious time for davening, and my wife enjoys that.

Hatzlacha figuring out what works for the women in your family.

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My mother likes going to a women's megillah reading, where women read for women. She says going, especially reading, gives her a feeling of being more involved on Purim.

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    How does this help the rest of the day ("post shaloch manos time" in the OP's words)? It didn't sound like Megilla reading was the issue for the OP's group. The vast majority of men do not read Megilla personally and don't feel like second-class citizens so I'm not sure this answers the question. – Double AA Sep 29 '14 at 14:02
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    It might not be directly related to drinking and the seuda, but it is something that has been proven successful for improving a woman's Purim experience. – Scimonster Sep 29 '14 at 14:07
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    So what? It doesn't seem to be addressing the question. – Double AA Sep 29 '14 at 14:08
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    @DoubleAA, The bottom-line question is how to make Purim more enjoyable for women. Even if it's not coincident with the less-enjoyable time mentioned in the question, a women-oriented high point earlier in the holiday, which this answer suggests a women's Megilla reading can be, could improve the involved women's experience of the holiday as a whole. – Isaac Moses Sep 29 '14 at 15:03
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    @DoubleAA, if the answer suggested, from experience, how that has proven to be a way of enhancing the holiday experience, it certainly could be. Given that it's implied in the question that shaloch manos is assumed to be already providing a certain level/duration of enjoyment, an answer that suggests a way to enhance either the level or duration of this enjoyment beyond the norm would be much more valuable than one that doesn't. – Isaac Moses Sep 29 '14 at 15:28
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Drinking helps. I know a good number of women who also drink and enjoy the raised spirits.

As to childcare or care for the home - why is this only the responsibility of a woman? Am I no longer a father because I have a drink? Both parents need to be aware of the children, safety, elderly, pets, breakables, etc.

I also know women who, out of concern for issues of tzniut, host a women's only seudah where they can drink and let loose in a fashion they'd be uncomfortable with mixed company.

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    How is encouraging more net alcohol consumption going to lend itself to more net awareness of children, safety, etc.? This sounds like a terrible plan on its own for alleviating the concerns in the question. – Double AA Mar 1 '16 at 13:24
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    @DoubleAA not exactly what he's saying, but one way, along these lines, to make womens' experience more fun than the only-men-drink status quo in the question, without additionally jeopardizing safety, etc., would be to switch either to only women drinking or to alternating years of only women drinking and only men drinking. – Isaac Moses Mar 1 '16 at 14:52
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    Or both genders drink and both maintain a sense of responsibility. Yes, it means you (or you) can't get blackout drunk. But you can (and should) drink and enjoy the day. – SAR622 Mar 1 '16 at 15:41
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    @SAR622 The question was about a women whose intoxicated husband is not being helpful and leaving her all the work. Your answer says she should [leave and] drink away her problems. If that's not what you meant to write, then please edit. Right now it seems like terrible advice. – Double AA Mar 1 '16 at 16:39
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Rav Hutner says the purpose of getting drunk on Purim is to demonstrate a trust of your body's natural inclination to keep the Torah even while not under control of your wits.

Subsequently it would seem if getting drunk does not lead to a good experience for all concerned there is no mitzva to get drunk.

The mood of Purim is to have a good time, there is no direct relationship to ethanol consumption.

  • How does this address the question at hand? – Isaac Moses Mar 3 '16 at 0:56

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