Ask a Rabbi: Maimonides on the new drinking guidelines

Hola friends and comrades! It is I, Maimonides, noted 13th-century rabbi, physician, philosopher, author of the Guide to the Perplexed and general PARTY ANIMAL!!! Which animal, you ask? I’ll get back to you as soon as I have worked out how to classify the entire natural world in a clear and rigorous hierarchy.

I have been asked by mi amigos in the UK to give my wise and learned opinion on the new drinking guidelines issued by the rulers of your country. I haven’t read these guidelines yet, but I know “the legislators have known, as have the physicians, that wine is beneficial to mankind”, so I trust they are very sensibly pro-booze!

Therefore I must assume the new guidelines are around drinking WATER, because it can be SO VERY DANGEROUS if not carried out properly. To drink water safely, you must follow these important medical recommendations:

1. NEVER drink water with meals.

It forms a cushion around the food in your stomach and stops you digesting properly! To be safe it’s best to wait two hours after eating before consuming this riskiest of libations.

2. DON’T drink too much water.

Even if you have waited the appropriate amount of time, careful with your intake! Try to stick to ten ‘units’ of water a week – and no saving them all up for a Shabbat evening hydration binge! Spread them out – a few ounces on Tuesday night with friends, a sip or two after particularly hard work. It’s okay to ‘reward yourself’ with a treat of water occasionally, but don’t go overboard!

3. NEVER drink water at room temperature!

Oh my Adonai so many things can go wrong! Tepid water reduces appetite, interferes with digestion, weakens your constitution, and thins your blood (NO ONE WANTS THIN BLOOD!! YOU COULD DIE!!!).

4. ONLY drink water that has been BOILED and then COOLED, but NEVER LEFT UNCOVERED because you don’t know WHAT could be in there!

You don’t want to weaken your spleen or liver! Such high risk factors! Your National Health Service (love the name!) I’m sure can tell you more.

Now, Rambam, you say, if I’m not supposed to drink water then what CAN I drink?

I’ll tell you: WINE!!!!

Wine is SO GREAT, and I mean this from a medical perspective. It helps you digest food well. It helps you wee and sweat, which are very important for healthy body functioning and getting rid of toxins! It warms you up in winter! If you’re too ill to eat, GOOD NEWS, you can just drink wine instead! (And remember – never go to bed on an empty stomach. But food is too hard to digest at bedtime. You know what that means: bring on the VINO!) If you have migraines, wine CURES THEM! In fact wine is SO GREAT that it has MANY AMAZING PROPERTIES that I WILL NOT EVEN DESCRIBE HERE because Muslims can’t drink it, and I don’t want to be a dick about it. If you need wine but are unable to get it, let me know and I’ll write you a medical note for some.

That said, EVEN WINE can be slightly dangerous in excess (although it’s hard to see how considering how WONDERFUL it is for basically EVERYTHING!!), so don’t drink too much – about three or four cups with food is right. And here’s some free financial advice: when you’re drinking your three or four recommended cups per meal, it’s often better value just to buy a bottle!

Shabbat shalom, all!

– ‘El Rambam’

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