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Israel - Rabbi Ovadia Yosef Calls on Faithful to Quit Smoking

Published on: May 8, 2011 05:39 PM
By: Read more at Jerusalem Post
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Israel - Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, president of the Shas Council of Torah Sages, has warned his followers of the dangers of smoking, and stressed the importance and plausibility of quitting if one is already addicted.

“Doctors are against smoking; they say it causes lung cancer. Whoever can refrain from it, all the better; he should take every effort to keep away from it,” the senior Sephardi adjudicator said in his Saturday night televised sermon, which dealt with the laws of Jewish holidays.

“A person who is used to smoking – it’s hard to quit, but [he] should distance himself from it a step at a time,” he continued.

“Praise the lord, we do not smoke,” Yosef said of himself.

Yosef also suggested a less harmful substitute for social instances where cigarettes are smoked.

“There are those in yeshivas who distribute cigarettes among friends when someone gets engaged,” he said.

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“Better to hand out candies than cigarettes. You start by smoking one cigarette, and then it becomes a habit, and then an addiction, and that is very bad,” the senior adjudicator warned.

Read more at Jerusalem Post


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Read Comments (34)  —  Post Yours »

1

 May 08, 2011 at 05:54 PM G-Bro Says:

It's time his fellow colleagues (ie the Gedolim) to all call for an end to smoking and ban it from yeshivas. It will kill you and is assur. Some have called for it-now it's time for all to.

2

 May 08, 2011 at 06:12 PM couldbe Says:

Jewish law and tradition put a premium on maintaining one’s health. As Maimonides (1138–1204) famously said: ‘one cannot possibly pursue the knowledge of God unless one’s body and mind are functioning properly’. In that regard, when the first questions were asked about smoking in the 19th century, since the medical science of that era was enthusiastic about the health benefits of tobacco, experts in Jewish law were generally positive about its use. However, as scientific understanding has changed, the reaction has modified along with it. Today the halakhic community recognizes that the imperative to be ‘extremely careful with our lives’ (lit. with our souls) requires that we stop smoking, work to help people beat the smoking addiction, prevent people from beginning a life-long connection to smoking, and protect people from second hand smoke.

3

 May 08, 2011 at 06:19 PM anti smokers Says:

Reply to #1  
G-Bro Says:

It's time his fellow colleagues (ie the Gedolim) to all call for an end to smoking and ban it from yeshivas. It will kill you and is assur. Some have called for it-now it's time for all to.

Yes, it should never have been allowed anyplace and in any yeshiva.
It will kill you and is assur-It may very well harm you even if you do nothing but learn while others smoke!

4

 May 08, 2011 at 07:25 PM SteveW Says:

As one who has smoked for over 40 years I know the difficulties that come with trying to quit. I have quit but I have used an e-cig to help (and not one of those expensive things from a kiosk in the mall). My doctor has approved its use, and I am now smoke free. I am trading one habit for another, but my new habit is not hurting me (or anyone else), and as I said, my doctor is all for my new habit.

5

 May 08, 2011 at 07:26 PM Anonymous Says:

Why is there even a question whether to assur it completely? What is the possible reason someone should be allowed to continue smoking?

6

 May 08, 2011 at 07:27 PM Anonymous Says:

People who smoke are killing themselves therefore they do not get buried
in the " cemetery proper" End of debate if a person shojuld smoke

7

 May 08, 2011 at 07:42 PM Anonymous Says:

Smokers have rights from the top of their heads to the bottom of their feet. However, the minute that their second hand smoke starts emanating in the direction of other people, their rights effectively cease.

8

 May 08, 2011 at 07:48 PM MordyS Says:

What took so long!!!!!!!
About time somebody speaks up.

9

 May 08, 2011 at 07:48 PM Mordy Says:

I would never marry off my daughter to a smoker

10

 May 08, 2011 at 07:52 PM Anonymous Says:

Maybe we should ban air travel becuase the plane can crash, or car travel for the same reason.

11

 May 08, 2011 at 07:56 PM Frum Viet Nam Vet Says:

I started to smoke shortly before going into the US Army in 1969. The day I went entered and was sent to basic training they raised the price of cigarettes from nine cents a pack to eleven cents a pack. This greatly contributed to my addiction to cigarettes and in no time I was smoking 3-4 packs a day. I continued this filthy habit until the day I got married. (about 8 years later)

I gave it up as I entered the chupah hall. I took one last satisfying puff, flicked the remainder of the cigarette into the street and NEVER smoked again.

How did I do it? I'm not sure. I guess I thought to myself that if I can go all Shabbos without the need for a cigarette than I can give it up altogether.

Now if I can only get my son to quit smoking.................

12

 May 08, 2011 at 07:59 PM Upset Says:

Whener I see a Jew smoking I go over to him in a nice way and tell him that he is precious so why should he bring harm to himself and others. I ask him to try to quit. I say I know it isn't easy but you must try for yourself and your family.

13

 May 08, 2011 at 08:11 PM BinderDundat Says:

Reply to #1  
G-Bro Says:

It's time his fellow colleagues (ie the Gedolim) to all call for an end to smoking and ban it from yeshivas. It will kill you and is assur. Some have called for it-now it's time for all to.

hmm, lets see, listening to lipa wont kill you but they banned that. I highly doubt they would ban smoking.

14

 May 08, 2011 at 08:53 PM G-Bro Says:

Reply to #10  
Anonymous Says:

Maybe we should ban air travel becuase the plane can crash, or car travel for the same reason.

Hehe...that's funny. You are a funny guy/gal. I appreciate your humor and the absurdity of your remark was so great, that you couldntpossibly be serious, so I must conclude you are a funny person.

15

 May 08, 2011 at 09:12 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #9  
Mordy Says:

I would never marry off my daughter to a smoker

Only if u will know before!!!

16

 May 08, 2011 at 09:12 PM Anonymous Says:

Reb Moshe didn't ban it... That means halachicly you can't say its assur

17

 May 08, 2011 at 09:30 PM anti smoking Says:

Reply to #7  
Anonymous Says:

Smokers have rights from the top of their heads to the bottom of their feet. However, the minute that their second hand smoke starts emanating in the direction of other people, their rights effectively cease.

I agree with your point and I am against smoking as you are.
I am not sure the right to smoke should be based on not harming others. Society as a whole pays tremendous medical costs because of smokers and the multiple chronic conditions that do not kill, they just cost a lot of care. These costs are picked up by private insurance (and averaged into everybody's rates), Medicare and Medicaid.
the right to smoke should include a separate smoker's insurance.

18

 May 08, 2011 at 11:04 PM WiseDude Says:

I agree with banning smoking. But I do remember vociferous arguments in yeshiva from rabbis who insisted absolutely that there was no way halacha could ban smoking.

19

 May 08, 2011 at 11:35 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #16  
Anonymous Says:

Reb Moshe didn't ban it... That means halachicly you can't say its assur

Your right,rav moshe didn't assur it because its hard to do that. Rav ovadia brings him down in his sefer and rav moshe said that you should still refrain from it. He also brings down from rav wossner shelita that paskins its ASSUR. Anyway I think that anybody that has the will power can quit,and if not totally at least slowly cut down. I'll start myself!!

20

 May 08, 2011 at 11:53 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #16  
Anonymous Says:

Reb Moshe didn't ban it... That means halachicly you can't say its assur

The fact that Rav Moshe, Z'tl, didn't assur smoking does not mean it cannot be deemed assur by rabbonim today. Rav Moshe was clearly a great scholar but did not know what rabbonim today know about smoking and its consequences. Just because he was wrong, that doesn't mean his mistake should be perpetuated by today's gadolim. We don't regard our gadolim from any generation as perfect and without error.

21

 May 08, 2011 at 11:59 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #16  
Anonymous Says:

Reb Moshe didn't ban it... That means halachicly you can't say its assur

The medical knowledge that Reb Moshe had access to is grossly oudated. Who knows how he would have decided if he had access to the information that we have today? Gedolim are allowed to make decisions based upon new scientific information.

22

 May 09, 2011 at 04:56 AM Inhaler Says:

Jews were big tobacco traders. I believe Jewish traders introduced tobacco smoking to Europe. It isn't tobacco that is unhealthy, in fact it was prescribed for treatments of lung ailments. The problem in modern cigarettes is in the chemicals in the paper, the filter and the chemicals used to process the leaf. Pure, organic tobacco and chemical free paper is no worse than schanpps. Jews have a long history with the tobacco plant. Rothman's anyone?

23

 May 09, 2011 at 08:15 AM DavidMoshe Says:

“Praise the lord, we do not smoke,” Yosef said of himself.
OK, he's definitely sending a good message to his followers, but, is this an oddity of translation, or does R' Yosef actually refer to himself in the plural?

24

 May 09, 2011 at 09:28 AM David123 Says:

It doesn't matter if one is already addicted or not. It's a drug! And perturb others. Is there nothing in the Torah against the use of drugs?

25

 May 09, 2011 at 09:41 AM monseyyid Says:

Smoking is the new scapegoat for all the other things we do wrong. Heart attacks kill more people every year than smoking, as do car accidents. How about a speech on the dangers of Oil soaked Thursday night chulent? Rippled potato chips? Driving while talking on a cell phone, or worse, texting?

26

 May 09, 2011 at 09:45 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #23  
DavidMoshe Says:

“Praise the lord, we do not smoke,” Yosef said of himself.
OK, he's definitely sending a good message to his followers, but, is this an oddity of translation, or does R' Yosef actually refer to himself in the plural?

All the big gadolim use the "royal WE" when referring to themselves and their immediate groups of gabboim and family. its a sign of their importance and perceived "gadolus".

27

 May 09, 2011 at 10:00 AM The_Truth Says:

Reply to #16  
Anonymous Says:

Reb Moshe didn't ban it... That means halachicly you can't say its assur

Reb Moshe also didn't say it was permitted to smoke - which halachically means you can't say it is mutter either.

28

 May 09, 2011 at 10:53 AM Chaim Says:

Eyeglasses with metal frames are banned but not smoking?

29

 May 09, 2011 at 11:55 AM GB_Jew Says:

Reply to #22  
Inhaler Says:

Jews were big tobacco traders. I believe Jewish traders introduced tobacco smoking to Europe. It isn't tobacco that is unhealthy, in fact it was prescribed for treatments of lung ailments. The problem in modern cigarettes is in the chemicals in the paper, the filter and the chemicals used to process the leaf. Pure, organic tobacco and chemical free paper is no worse than schanpps. Jews have a long history with the tobacco plant. Rothman's anyone?

** Jews were big tobacco traders. I believe Jewish traders introduced tobacco smoking to Europe. **

No, it was not; you can blame us Brits for that. Sir Walter Raleigh brought the first tobacco back from Virginia to England in the early 17th century. However, King James I saw the inherent evils of nicotine addiction and tried to ban the sale of "the noxious weed", as he described it.

** It isn't tobacco that is unhealthy, in fact it was prescribed for treatments of lung ailments. **

Yes, tobacco *was* prescribed - once. However, Inhaler #22, the world of science and medical research has moved on since then.

** Pure, organic tobacco and chemical free paper is no worse than schanpps. **

Really? Can you prove that by quoting an appropriate research paper? I think not.

Nice try, Inhaler! Do you:

(a) work in the tobacco industry?

(b) own shares in a tobacco company or companies?

Or perhaps you are a confirmed smoker who could no less stop smoking than the 'rav harashi' could eat bacon?

30

 May 09, 2011 at 12:38 PM Chazer Fleish Says:

Reply to #29  
GB_Jew Says:

** Jews were big tobacco traders. I believe Jewish traders introduced tobacco smoking to Europe. **

No, it was not; you can blame us Brits for that. Sir Walter Raleigh brought the first tobacco back from Virginia to England in the early 17th century. However, King James I saw the inherent evils of nicotine addiction and tried to ban the sale of "the noxious weed", as he described it.

** It isn't tobacco that is unhealthy, in fact it was prescribed for treatments of lung ailments. **

Yes, tobacco *was* prescribed - once. However, Inhaler #22, the world of science and medical research has moved on since then.

** Pure, organic tobacco and chemical free paper is no worse than schanpps. **

Really? Can you prove that by quoting an appropriate research paper? I think not.

Nice try, Inhaler! Do you:

(a) work in the tobacco industry?

(b) own shares in a tobacco company or companies?

Or perhaps you are a confirmed smoker who could no less stop smoking than the 'rav harashi' could eat bacon?

"Or perhaps you are a confirmed smoker who could no less stop smoking than the 'rav harashi' could eat bacon?”

Please explain this sentence.

31

 May 09, 2011 at 12:54 PM anon Says:

Reply to #25  
monseyyid Says:

Smoking is the new scapegoat for all the other things we do wrong. Heart attacks kill more people every year than smoking, as do car accidents. How about a speech on the dangers of Oil soaked Thursday night chulent? Rippled potato chips? Driving while talking on a cell phone, or worse, texting?

I know you're not being entirely serious, but wouldn't that be a good thing? I can't speak about what halacha says regarding eating properly, but I can say that if our leaders can use their influence to help Jews eat better and take care of ourselves in other ways, we all benefit. Nothing wrong with eating a delicious lower-fat chulent and walking the long way to shul when possible to get a bit more exercise.

32

 May 09, 2011 at 02:08 PM Myron Says:

I'm not saying smoking is a good thing, but the only people I know who have contracted lung cancer have been non-smokers. I knew a man who smoked 2 packs a day and lived til 90.
It's very hard to quit, nicotine is the world's most addictive drug, worse than heroin actually, if you're trying to quit.
It is mind over matter.... your mind must control your body.
But the same thing goes for people who EAT too much and kill themselves just as quickly.....

33

 May 09, 2011 at 06:26 PM kollelfaker Says:

Reply to #1  
G-Bro Says:

It's time his fellow colleagues (ie the Gedolim) to all call for an end to smoking and ban it from yeshivas. It will kill you and is assur. Some have called for it-now it's time for all to.

the old rosh yeshiva may his name be blessed and revered hanoch lieberman forbid smoking in the yeshiva ten twenty years ago realizing that there were smokers they were told to smoke out side and away from the buildings. others also tried to stop it but once you go to israel smoking and drinking becomes the norm

34

 May 09, 2011 at 06:57 PM chachom Says:

Rav Moshe used the term Shomer Pesoim Hashem for smokers. Thus anyone who smokes is gepaskened a fool by Rav Moshe. He may not have assered it, but he said your a fool.

35

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