Kill Me Twice, Shame on Me

March 5, 2012 | By

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One of the more famous Jewish customs surrounding the Festival of Lots (also known as Purim) is the liberal consumption of alcohol. The Talmud itself teaches (Megillah 7b), “People are obliged to drink on Purim until they cannot tell the difference between ‘cursed is Haman‘ and ‘blessed is Mordecai.'”

However one time,  the Talmud recounts, the sage Rabba took this obligation a little too far. He and his friend Rebbi Zeira got drunk together one Purim. Rabba got carried away and slaughtered Rebbi Zeira. The next day, Rabba prayed for Divine forgiveness, and God had mercy and brought Rebbi Zeira back to life.

The next year, Rabba again invited Rabbi Zeira for a festive Purim meal. But Rebbi Zeira declined the invitation. “Not every time,” he said, “will we experience a miracle.”

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