Shas' spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia, Yosef saaid Saturday evening that "drunkenness is an abominable and nefarious act" and that in Purim one must drink very little wine, only as a symbolic act to remember Ahasuerus' feast – without getting intoxicated.
In his weekly sermon Saturday eve, Yosef said, "Haman was intoxicated, but we must act with good manners." The rabbi recommended drinking until one falls asleep – a situation in which one does not distinguish between 'Haman the agitate' and 'Mordechai the blessed'."
"A man that is drunk – what good is he?" wondered Rabbi Yosef, and stated that instead a man must "take a rest, rise up and practice religion throughout the day. Some people are up to no good. They get drunk and then take the bus and act in a rowdy manner – that is defamation of God," he said.
Hours after The Book of Esther was read throughout the country, Rabbi Yosef retold the tale, while adding his own interpretation and humor. He added that the people of Israel were rescued by the Torah, and called on the public to donate to the institutions where the Torah was being taught.
The rabbi noted that one does not fulfill the mitzvah of exchanging Purim gifts (mishloah manot) by giving them to gentiles, and explained that the purpose of the tradition was to "show a lot of affection and love," and therefore it did not matter if it was given to "a Hassid, a Lithuanian or a proselyte."