For the week ending 7 March 2009 / 11 Adar I 5769

Preventing Purim Pranks

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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Question: With Purim coming up there seems to be a proliferation of youngsters storing firecrackers and other noisemakers to celebrate this special day in their strange way. Since many leading rabbis have banned this practice the question arises as to what action should be taken when we see youngsters about to set off an explosion. What is the right thing to do?

Answer: There is certainly no need to elaborate on why the rabbis have come out against this juvenile behavior that presents a danger both to the noisemaker and the people whom they shock. But what can you do to prevent this?

The simplest thing to do is to confront the potential perpetrator and point out to him the harm that he may be doing to himself and others. If your efforts of persuasion prove to be unsuccessful, you should ask the youngster for his name and address so that you can report him to his parents.

Remember that even if you feel incapable of preventing the noisemaking nuisance, you have an obligation to try. Who knows, perhaps another Purim miracle will take place and you will succeed!

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