Ethics

For the week ending 16 April 2005 / 7 Nisan 5765

Post-Purim Amends

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Question: In accordance with the spirit(s) of the day, I got a little high this past Purim. After sobering up I learned that I had gotten a little out of hand in the home of a friend and may have caused some damage to his furniture and to his honor. What is the right thing to do in making amends?

Answer: In regard to damages caused as a result of getting high in fulfillment of the mitzvah to drink on Purim, the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 695:2 in the Rama) rules that there is no responsibility for compensation unless there was intent to do damage. There is a difference of opinion amongst the halachic authorities whether this applies as well to bodily damage. The ruling of the Mishneh Berura (ibid. 13) is that both in regard to material and physical damages it all depends on the degree of the damage.

While you may have to consult your rabbi as to what constitutes substantial damage, it is a good idea in any case to ask the forgiveness of your victim for any harm you did to his feelings, his body or his property, even if you didnt mean to cause it.

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