The J-blogosphere is abuzz with stories of lack of parental supervision on "yeshiva break", overindulgence in alcohol on Purim and year-round at simchas. There are just too many posts for me to link them all.
I'm sitting here shaking my head.
My personal feeling about drinking on Purim is this: There may or may not be a mitzvah d'rabbanan to imbibe "ad d'lo yada"--whatever that means. (Yes, I am aware of the literal translation of the words, but there are many non-literal interpretations, to which I am referring.) However, there is a definite mitzvah d'oraita of "kedoshim ti'hiyu". They don't have to contradict each other--au contraire, I have seen some individuals who are absolutely bursting with Torah when they get drunk.
Unfortunately, within my experience, that is rarely the case. Most people who get drunk are doing exactly what the Ramban (iirc) says not to do to fulfill the mitzvah of "kedoshim ti'hiyu": They are being "naval bi'rshut haTorah"--acting in a disgusting way with the supposed stamp of approval of the Torah/rabbis. They get sick, they make fools of themselves (and not in a good way), they make a total chillul Hashem--and they do it all in the name of "ad d'lo yada". I've gotten into arguments with individuals who have argued forcefully about the holiness of this "mitzvah"--but my response is, "So they should be oveir a mitzvah d'oraita to fulfill a questionable mitzvah d'rabbanan?!"
However, the mitzvah of "kedoshim ti'hiyu" goes further than that. As Jews, as G-d's chosen people, we are supposed to behave in a way that befits servants of the King. Clearly, this is a mindset that has not been imparted to the hundreds (thousands? I shudder to think...) of teenagers who are part of the yeshiva break scene in Florida. If they truly felt like they had a connection to Hashem, that they were servants of the King and had to behave as such, they would not--could not--behave the way they do.
And it saddens me. Where have we gone so wrong, that so many people--young and old--have lost, or never had, a connection to their King? What do we, as individuals and as a community, have to do to turn things around? Because rest assured, this cannot continue. More and more young people, MO and yeshivish alike, are turning away from Torah Judaism, for so many reasons that I can't list them all. Many (I'd even venture to say most) educators are not educated well enough themselves to handle the precious neshamot that are entrusted to them; in the face of their own lack of knowledge, instead of building up their own emunah and understanding of Torah, they reject questions and nip creative minds in the bud. Individuality is the enemy; it is safer not to question.
But that isn't what Judaism is about. What happened to the Judaism of Pesach, when so much of the Seder night is designed to inspire curiosity in young minds? We grow by asking questions and discovering the answers, and by discovering that a question can have more than one correct answer. What happened to educators who loved to inspire their students to love Hashem and want to serve Him? Am I the only one left who had teachers who wanted me to learn how to ask questions, to think for myself, and let my questions lead me to Hashem?
I don't have the answers to these questions. I wish I did, but if I knew those answers, I could bottle and sell them and make a killing. But I do think that one place to start is to teach the meaning of kedoshim ti'hiyu. Teach children that they have to behave--and not only that, but that they should want to behave--like b'nei and b'not Melech. Because that's what we are.