The obligation is to eat at least one seudah with bread, during the day of Purim. Although one can fulfill this obligation by eating in the morning, the custom is to start the meal after Mincha, and continue it into the night.
Simcha can be attained only by eating meat (not poultry) and drinking wine. If one does not enjoy eating meat or drinking wine, he should eat other foods which he enjoys. A person must drink wine during the seudah until he can no longer tell the difference between "Aroor Haman" (cursed is Haman) and "Boruch Mordechai" (blessed is Mordechai).
The Mishnah Brurah explains that there were two main miracles in the Megilah, the downfall of Haman and the rise of Mordechai. One should drink until he doesn’t know which miracle is greater.
The Bi’ur Halacha (695) asks how could there be a mitzvah to get drunk, when getting drunk led to many transgressions, throughout the Tanach?
He answers that many of the miracles in the Megilah occurred during a party where wine was drunk, therefore we are obligated to drink wine to commemorate these miracles. [According to this view the mitzvah is to drink only wine, no other alcoholic beverages.] The Biur Halacha says that if as a result of drinking a person knows that it will lead him to mistreat even one mitzvah such as washing for bread, bentching properly, not davening Mincha or Ma’ariv etc., than he shouldn’t get drunk. The Ramoh says that a person should drink a little more wine than he is accustomed to, and then go to sleep. While he is asleep, he can’t tell the difference between Aroor Haman and Boruch Mordechai. The Mishnah Brurah says that this is the proper thing to do. If a person will get sick as result of drinking, he is not obligated to drink.
A women is not obligated to get drunk.
While bentching al Hanisim is said. See Al Hanisim page for all details. If one forgot "al Hanisim" while bentching after the Purim seudah, he should consult his local Rabbi.
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