[Haveil Havalim is here]
I have strong feelings about certain aspects of the Purim Seudah (the meal we are instructed to eat on Purim, to celebrate the miracle of our survival).
In particular, as I've written elsewhere, I believe that adults must not drink alcohol to excess [meaning, drinking more than a normal person drinks at a normal meal] with children present, even if those adults are entirely self-controlled.
I define "children" as:
(a) human beings who will not understand why mitzvah-drinking is any different from other drinking and might be inspired to follow suit at inappropriate times, or
(b) human beings who will not understand the health risks involved in drinking and might be inspired to follow suit in an unhealthy manner.
But once we are past that point, what makes for a good Purim Seudah?
By which I mean: What do you find creates an atmosphere in which people feel the meaning of Purim most, while also enjoying the experience?
* Is family better than community? Or how about family at a community Seudah?
* Should people Seudah-hop?
* Should people be in costume? And does this include rabbis?
* Should kids be involved, or is it better to give them something else to do?
* Should the divrei torah be central or part of a longer program of shpiels, games and contests, etc?
* For those who can drink - Wine, Beer, Vodka or Scotch? Or something else entirely?
* Should it be earlier or later in the afternoon? (Especially in a year like this, when non-Shushan Purim is Sunday)
* Should the food be fancy or simple, elaborately prepared or quick-and-easy?
I ask these questions for a few reasons:
1. I would love to hear your answers;
2. This is the first year that I can actually create a Purim Seudah, or attend one elsewhere as a civilian, instead of being Shul Rabbi;
3. I think that we often rush into the Purim Seudah with little preparation, and I'd like to see this more as a planned experience with a cultivated atmosphere, to optimize the mitzvah.
And, of course, please add any questions I've missed...