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Jerusalem - Israeli Rabbi: Smokers, Reckless Drivers 'halacha' Disqualifies Them As A Witnesses For Rabbinical Courts, Weddings

Published on: August 6, 2008 09:33 AM
By: Jpost
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Jerusalem - Orthodox Jews who commit traffic violations or who smoke are just as ineligible to serve as witnesses in rabbinical courts or in Jewish weddings as pork-eating, Shabbat-desecrating secular Jews, according to a leading religious Zionist rabbi.
Anyone who blatantly and…

Anyone who blatantly and intentionally commits traffic violations, thus endangering human lives, is also purposely transgressing Halacha, says Hacohen.

In a halachic opinion made public ahead of a conference on road safety, Rabbi Re’em Hacohen, head of the Hesder Yeshiva in Otniel, near Hebron, said that reckless drivers and smokers show a callous disregard for human life - whether their own or others - and are therefore considered invalid witnesses.

“Anyone who blatantly and intentionally commits traffic violations, thus endangering human lives, is also purposely transgressing Halacha (Jewish law),” said Hacohen in a telephone interview with The Jerusalem Post, “and this disqualifies him to serve as a witness.”

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Hacohen said that smoking also constituted disregard for human life.

Only men are permitted to serve as witnesses according to Jewish law, but men who intentionally disregard Halacha are disqualified.

Normally, this rule has been interpreted as referring solely to religious observance, such as adherence to Shabbat. That’s why Orthodox rabbis who conduct wedding ceremonies for secular couples routinely bring along a partner who observes Shabbat and can therefore serve as a witness.

Hacohen published his halachic opinion ahead of a conference on traffic safety for the religious and haredi public. He said that both former chief rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu and Chief Rabbi of Hebron-Kiryat Arba Dov Lior agreed with him.

The conference, which takes place on Tuesday, was organized by the National Commission for Road Safety and will focus on driving habits in the religious community.



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Read Comments (28)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Aug 06, 2008 at 09:47 AM Anonymous Says:

How about checking the kosher status of couples before they get married...I'm talking about the US here.

As for smokers not being aidim...that disqualifies most of the Israeli population I would think.

How do these people come up with this stuff?

2

 Aug 06, 2008 at 09:49 AM Anonymous Says:

Makes sense...now all you guys are going to jump down my throat and say they are Zionist Rabbis..who are they to disqualify our Rabonnim who smoke?Our yeshiva culture is from top to bottom smokers,so we are all posul leedus?The nerve of those Anti frum anti yeshivish rabbonim...its their way of marginlizing our gedolim....veshomartem es nafshoseichem?who cares...............?

3

 Aug 06, 2008 at 09:51 AM Anonymous Says:

How about people who commit arson and insurance fraud? How about people who cheat on their income taxes? And what about jaywalkers?

4

 Aug 06, 2008 at 10:09 AM Anonymous Says:

posul.posul,posul....whats your point?they are oyver dina demalchusa ina malchus shel chesed!whats your question?of course they are posul

5

 Aug 06, 2008 at 10:11 AM anonymous Says:

i know that the gemora states that somebody who gambles is pusel for eidis i'm not sure where they pick up smoking & reckless drivers..

6

 Aug 06, 2008 at 10:37 AM Anonymous Says:

will all the witness have to bring along there medical records to show they did not smoke? or a police report showing they never drove reckless?

7

 Aug 06, 2008 at 10:51 AM anonymous Says:

I guess there will be no witnesses in Jewish courts

8

 Aug 06, 2008 at 11:00 AM Yachtzel Says:

anon 10:11

someone who gambles with his (& others) live(s) by smoking, should be included, don't you think?

9

 Aug 06, 2008 at 11:19 AM moshe Says:

He's the head of what-- the Hefker Yeshiva??

10

 Aug 06, 2008 at 11:19 AM Anonymous Says:

agreed...second hand smoke kills....a question to anonymous...should a person have to bring medical records ...are you inlying that its too difficult to adhere to din torah because its curbsome to fullfill..or that its impossible to live in a medina within the parameters of halcha?

11

 Aug 06, 2008 at 11:22 AM Anonymous Says:

moshe...dont you think our gedolim are leaving our kids hefker to sickness and worse R"L by not stopping smoking and drinking?andd by not setting an example?Im sure you know many Rabbonim who smoke,some even while giving shiur!!!!!

12

 Aug 06, 2008 at 11:37 AM yenta pesha Says:

HOLY SMOKE!!!!!!

13

 Aug 06, 2008 at 11:42 AM YYYY Says:

IF CIGARETTES HAVE AN O-U OR B'DATZ HASHGAHAH, THEN THERE SHOULD NOT BE A PROBLEM. SOME PEOPLE HAVE NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT. JSUT POSUL UP KLAL YISROEL!!!

14

 Aug 06, 2008 at 11:49 AM Anonymous Says:

Just a thought. One who speaks "Loshon-Horre" is also disqualified as an aid?
How about a "Malbim P'nai Chavairo Berabim"?
That would disqualify most of us here.
Just a thought.

15

 Aug 06, 2008 at 12:09 PM KANOY Says:

THIS CLOWN OBVIOUSLY HAS MENTAL PROBLEMS,MAYBE HE SPENDS TO MUCH TIME IN THE SUN WHICH IS "SAKONAS NEFOSHOS" SO THEREFORE HE WOULD ALSO BE PASUL L'AYDUS. IT SEEMS THAT WE ARE BUSY WITH SUCH STUPIDITY AND NARISHKIET. THERE IS A FAMOUS ROSH HAYESIVA IN AMERICA WHO CONSTANTLY YELLS "FRUMKIET IS KRUMKIET".
WHY ARE WE BUSY WITH SUCH SHTUS, WHEN WE HAVE MUCH GREATER PROBLEMS FACING US! LET'S ATTACK INTERMARRIAGE, LOSING OUR CHILDREN,MAJOR POVERTY, AND LITTLE THINGS LIKE THESE.
DID YOU KNOW THAT JAY-WALKING IS ALSO A SAKONA?

16

 Aug 06, 2008 at 12:13 PM Anonymous Says:

our posak hador is Harav Hagoan R' Eliashev Shlita until he paskans nothing else is relevent.

17

 Aug 06, 2008 at 12:34 PM DumDum Says:

KANOY,

What shtus? Did u ever hear of "chamira sekanto mei'isuru"?

BTW, we can all read your post in lower case...

18

 Aug 06, 2008 at 12:36 PM Anonymous Says:

Intresting this Rabbi holds that smoking is a cause to ban a person from being a kosher eidus. Where is he from Otniel, lets see its quite dangerous to live there you are litteraly puting your life on the line there, but that is OK. Let this Faiker shut his mouth

19

 Aug 06, 2008 at 01:15 PM Anonymous Says:

Faiker?you have to be kidding..meanwhile this Rav is trying to save lives...u live where?NY?Chicago?thats safe?Lakewood?how can you call anyone a faiker..even if he is not from you anshei shlomeinu?thats disgusting!

20

 Aug 06, 2008 at 01:42 PM Anonymous Says:

Overlooked is the fact that both reckless driving and smoking means you really don't give give a darn about other humans is that really who you want serving as an Eid?? And personally I know enough non-smokers and non-reckless drivers to fill all the Beis Dins all over the world.Fear not!

21

 Aug 06, 2008 at 02:06 PM Meir Bloomy Says:

What about people who eat trans-fat?

22

 Aug 06, 2008 at 02:19 PM Joe Says:

bitul torah is a d'oraysoh too. The good news is that only a Rasha D'Chomos is pasul (learn 3rd perek Sanhedrin). That means someone who cheats on his taxes is definitely pasul, once he is warned and fails to rectify it, lechorah. If anyone learned the sugyah and believes this is mistaken, please correct it here.

Thanks,

23

 Aug 06, 2008 at 04:42 PM Jonny Says:

Just because everyone is smoking - it doesn't make it right. I agree with R' Hakohen but the only problem is, there may not be any kosher eidim anymore.

24

 Aug 06, 2008 at 05:43 PM Anonymous Says:

Any difference between cigarettes, cigar, or pipe?

25

 Aug 06, 2008 at 05:51 PM Anonymous Says:

since when is israel considered a malchus?,thereby causing an issue of dina demalchusa dina .Israel is the haven of apikorsim crooks and politicians.not a medina lefi halacha

26

 Aug 06, 2008 at 06:15 PM KANOY Says:

To Anonymous@5:51
How true..and I bet you're only talking about the RAH BONIM

27

 Aug 07, 2008 at 02:08 AM justakid Says:

we can mock, even make fun of him, but his logic is sound. btw i smoke

28

 Aug 07, 2008 at 10:47 AM Anonymous Says:

Even if you say the medina is not a malchus shel chesed..how about in in america?just answer the question plz and dont weasel out with shtus!is one who is not shomer nafsho a kosher eid?here or anywhere?thanks

29

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