It’s almost Purim, and Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb is feeling a mix of joy and dread.

Joy because the Jewish holiday commemorates the survival of ancient Jews against the threat of extinction and children dress in costumes and exchange gifts and candy. Purim, on Wednesday (March 7), is also Weinreb’s birthday.

Dread because too many times, Weinreb has seen the high cost of Purim’s darker side, the “ugly and despicable behavior” of young yeshiva students who drink to excess on a day that is equal parts Halloween and Fat Tuesday.

A close friend was killed in a drunk-driving accident, and another car accident — in the parking lot of a famed Torah institution — nearly claimed the leg of a young boy.

In a recent commentary, Weinreb described “scenes of young Torah scholars rolling in puddles of their own vomit, totally incoherent, uttering obscenities that they would be ashamed to pronounce if they were sober.”

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