I am sure that it will come as a great shock, but I can no longer keep quiet. No doubt, it will cause the death of several of my readers and severe trauma to others, but how long can one continue to stick with a lie? Most of my readers believe that I am a rabbi. Not true. The truth must prevail, however painful: I am sorry, I am not a rabbi; I am a committed Purim alcoholic with a long talmudic history. The reason why I have not spoken about it until now is because, like most men, I love truth, so much so, that I was afraid that it would get spoiled by overexposure. Even as a young child, I had a strong inclination to take a nip at breakfast along with my milk with oats. (In fact now that I think of it, it started with my berith mila when the mohel wanted to keep me quite after removing part of my personality. He replaced it with some wine that he served me immediately after the surgery so as to teach me that a drink can cover up any deficiency.) Over the years this habit expanded to include the other meals till I reached a level of intoxication which only a few have achieved. Only a few days ago I got so drunk that I waited for the stop sign to change, and it did! In fact, I have a great dislike for camels and all other creatures who can go without a drink for more than a week.
Last year I won the UWAP (the Ultimate World Alcohol Prize), which up till now was only won by gentiles like Bill Whiskey and Norman Schnapps. But, nowadays, when we Jews try to outdo the gentiles, I felt the need to prove that we could drink more than they do, and so I started to work on this. True, I really do not like to drink. In fact, I abhor it, like most of my fellow Jews, but my teachers used to say that if we Jews want to really become part of western civilization we must join their ranks, we have no choice but to make this sacrifice and start drinking. This is called emancipation.
Today I work for the police, since I have developed such expertise that I am able to tell what kind of alcohol people drank by the way they walk. In fact, lately I am even able to give accurate information about what year the wine was bottled and whether it came from the south or the north of France. But, I can only do so when I am drunk myself which is one of world’s most famous paradoxes. Above all, I am convinced that alcohol is not habit forming. I should know because I have been taking it for years. So you see I am not a light-weight!
Many may wonder why I keep on writing serious observations about Judaism in the form of Thoughts to Ponder. They ask: What has an alcoholic of my caliber to do with the Jewish Tradition? Well, first of all you can only be a philosopher when you drink. The main reason has been well stated by the famous philosopher George Berkeley (Ireland, 1685-1753) who used to say that reality is an illusion created by a lack of alcohol. (Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge, X. 235)
This is no doubt true. Emanuel Kant expanded on this theme when he said that we can not know “das ding an sich” and every thing is abstinence imposed (Kritik der Reinen Vernunft, ll, 436). On top of that, it can not be denied that the greatest problem for most people who do not drink is that they are really sober. Indeed, philosophy is the art of bewildering oneself methodically.
But there is much more to my Thoughts.
While many people take me seriously and read my Thoughts very carefully because they presumably see deep things in them, my real friends know that it has actually nothing to do with philosophy, but that these thoughts are in fact secret codes. They are “gematrias,” linguistic statements about the latest discoveries I have made in the field of proper drink. I will give one example, and no more — nothing more, since I am afraid that my enemies will try to break the code, which would force me out of business.
Take the following statement:
“Civilization occupies international notions, though rabbinical education advances universality.” This obviously alludes to the new availability of Cointreau. Or take the following: “What Heisenberg illustrated simultaneously kindled effective yperite.” An allusion to whiskey.
So, my dear friends you now know the truth: It is not the word that is written but the drink behind it. When you read my Thoughts to Ponder next time be aware that there is more to rabbis than you may think. But remember: a rabbi’s confession is like being stoned with popcorn.
May you have a great Purim,
Reproduction of this essay is permitted when inebriated in full.