Stopping the Madness

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51 Responses

  1. SA says:

    If we must already deal with the madness of the shidduch scene, this is at least one area in which the obsessive investigating could prove valuable.

    EVERY shadchan, professional or otherwise, should be asked if a bachur being suggested smokes, and EVERY parent or girl should refuse a shidduch if the answer is yes, or “I don’t know,” until the latter can be clarified. The same way people ask for Dor Yesharim numbers, they should ask about this. Better yet, shadchanim should ask, and refuse to make shidduchim for boys who smoke.

    Moreover, I would suggest that no one who smokes deserves to be supported in learning, if only because of the high cost of cigarettes, not to mention that the in-law/parent/community investment is likely to go down the tubes due to early illness.

    I would imagine that in communities where it gets out that this is a question that’s asked, within a few months we would see a change.

  2. Pini Schmeltzer says:

    Lets be honest, the reason why smoking is tolerated is clear. it’s because anti-smoking is seen as being touted by the liberal media. It’s not a coincidence that Rush Limbaugh would brag about his nicotine stained hands. Smoking shows that we are counter-cultural. it’s also a pleasurable outlet in our environment which has a lot of restrictions.

  3. Bob Miller says:

    This goes beyond instilling fear. There should also be all necessary support to help bochurim kick the habit.

  4. Sc says:

    If you smoke in yeshiva, you get kicked out for causing harm to yourself and others ( second hand smoke). (Let’s put aside the fact that smoking inside a building like a bet Midrash is probably illegal in many states). Any rabbi who permits smoking or smokes himself should be fired if they don’t change their ruling or cannot quit within a reasonable time. Should a yeshiva employ rabbis who are bad role models? No. Smoking is harmful to self and others. If yeshivot followed these simple rules you would not have to do anything else to solve the problem

  5. joel rich says:

    Some people smoke as a way to relax/relieve tension/escape. What alternatives do we offer bnai yeshiva to accomplish these (IMHO learning won’t accomplish these goals for some subset of bnai yeshiva). It would be best to have an alternative before you start taking it away.

    KT

  6. A.Schreiber says:

    I agree with SA that no one who smokes should be supported because of the high cost of cigarettes, but we should also apply that to anyone who wears a Borsalino hat. There are much cheaper options, why does he have to wear a Borsalino? Same thing with cotton shirts – no one with cotton shirts should be supported, why can’t they wear machine-washable shirts? Ditto with boys who wear 100% wool pants, which are very expensive. Also anyone driving a new model car, or who is seen eating at a restaurant, or buys something he enjoys but does not actually need – no one should be supported unless they are living a bare bones, no frills lifestyle of pas bamelach toachal. And that should apply, individually and communally, to those who want to eat yoshon or chalav yisrael, which are triple the price of regular items. No one who keeps these practices should be supported either.

  7. Azi Schwarts says:

    In BMG the smoking has declined exponentially over the last ten years. In fact most chassanim no longer give out “choson cigarettes”. The percentage of smokers in kollel is far less than in other societies. In fact, as the author writes, the problem is immature kids starting to smoke and then not being able to kick the habit. Most do but the minority do not. The challenge is for us as parents to help our immature teenagers…

  8. ben dov says:

    It’s time to put cigarettes in the same category as ham sandwiches. Would any Bais Yaakov girl consider a shidduch with someone who eats that?

    I have not verified this story but it sounds realistic: the Bostoner Rebbe zt”l said that anyone who smokes is not a Bostoner chasid.

  9. L. Oberstein says:

    Maybe it is different out of town but I see very little cigarette smoking among bochurim or yungeleit in Baltimore. When I go to a chasuna and see a gaggle of bochurim smoking outside, they are not local.
    A bigger issue is alcoholism We used to say that only non Jews got drunk, but that stereotype is not true today if it ever was. And…dont forget marijuana which leads to other drugs that is very common in many schools and among many more youth than we care to believe. Rav Dovid Kronglass ,of blessed memory, the Mashgiach of Ner Ysroel said about smoking that it begins with Gaiva and ends with Taiva.
    Maybe I am mistaken, but smoking is normative in Israeli chareidi circles and among lomdei torah in Israeli yeshivos. There it isn’t looked upon as “low class’ which is how it is seen in Baltimore.

  10. Tal Benschar says:

    “When a Yeshiva allows bochurim in the Beis Midrash to smoke – this entirely undermines the anti-smoking message.”

    There are yeshivas that actually permit smoking IN the beis midrash? I thought the Steipler and others stated that such is clearly ossur because it disturbs the learners and causes bittul Torah.

  11. Mordechai says:

    Of course I strongly agree with Rabbi Hoffman here.

    However, I think there are some big omissions in his article, such as stress being a factor in young people getting into smoking. If kids are under a lot of stress and don’t have other outlets, they may try smoking for relief. Most young people are not cut out to sit inside and study around the clock exclusively. To combat the problem from that angle, a major root cause in my opinion, they need to really enjoy what they are doing and not feel stressed out by it. If one says that some stress is unavoidable, they need to have alternate mechanisms to reduce it, whether it be by engaging in physical activity, sports, or maybe even riding a bicycle or walking instead of traveling by car. They should be able to get high on what they are doing, learning and/or otherwise, rather than need tobacco for such an effect.

  12. Micah Segelman says:

    I think that part of the issue is that people justify smoking based on an erroneous conception of bitachon/hashgacha pratis – and go so far as to assert that a maamin must believe that smoking can’t affect them. They put emuna on the side of smoking, r”l. I see the author addressed this point briefly by writing “Smoking is halachically considered a makom sakanah and one needs a lot of zchusim to remain healthy when one chooses to follow the appeal of smoking.”

  13. Elitzur says:

    How can it be that the charedi world can gather thousands of people to denounce the internet, convince yeshivot not to accept kids who have internet in their homes, and make having internet a black mark on a shidduch resume but cannot convince people to stop smoking? The only reasonable answer is that the charedi world is not interested in stopping its constituents from smoking. This article should address why doesn’t the charedi leadership care that its constituents commit suicide and murder via smoking?

  14. Miriam says:

    Hmm – I never had the impression that smokers die in their 30’s from it. Which is why in reality it’s so hard to get these younger “older bachurim” to stop – they don’t have anectdotal evidence to fear it all that much.

  15. Yehoshua Friedman says:

    I just received a copied article in Hebrew saying that Rav Abergil poskened that people who smoke are pasul l’eidus (invalid to give testimony) because they are putting themselves in danger and hence in violation of the mitzvah to protect oneself. I meet these hilltop kids who smoke and it really creeps me out.

  16. Toby Katz says:

    Elitzur wrote:
    “How can it be that the charedi world can gather thousands of people to denounce the internet, convince yeshivot not to accept kids who have internet in their homes, and make having internet a black mark on a shidduch resume but cannot convince people to stop smoking? The only reasonable answer is that the charedi world is not interested in stopping its constituents from smoking. This article should address why doesn’t the charedi leadership care that its constituents commit suicide and murder via smoking?”

    The premise of this post is completely wrong. In fact, charedi media have already been pushing an anti-smoking message for quite a few years now, and I don’t know of any yeshivos that still allow smoking in the bais medrash. In fact I am not entirely sure why Yair Hoffman even wrote this article. It’s always good to reinforce the message but again, the premise is not correct: yeshivos no longer tolerate smoking in public areas on their premises. Furthermore, to answer SA, who wrote, “EVERY shadchan, professional or otherwise, should be asked if a bachur being suggested smokes” — that in fact is already the case. Smoking is considered a negative on the shidduch scene.

  17. Yaakov Menken says:

    What Rabbi Hoffman doesn’t elaborate upon is the reasoning behind why Rabbi Dovid Feinstein said that his father would say differently, and it is not merely because the medical knowledge today is more firm. It’s that it’s over a generation since R’ Moshe said that people should not begin smoking.

    Contrary to “Pini Schmelter,” Elitzur and comments of that kind, the fact is that there has been no more successful anti-smoking campaign than R’ Moshe’s psak. He said you cannot begin smoking, and the fact that your father and your Rebbe smoke makes no difference. And that had a huge impact. Look at the percentage of American yeshiva students who smoke today, versus the percentage of people outside our community. Depending upon whom you ask, 25 to 33% of college students today are smokers!

    This year, my son switched from an out-of-town high school with a Bais Medrash to a Bais Medrash in the center of Brooklyn. In both cases, he said, he doesn’t know who the smokers are, because they do it in hiding. In my day, smokers were very public about it, and handing out cigarettes when a person became a chosson was absolutely the norm (one friend of mine handed out candies instead).

    In the high school, the Rebbeim did everything they can to discourage smoking, as they do at Ner Israel. If an eighteen-year-old adult chooses to smoke, you have to decide whether to throw someone out of yeshiva on that basis. And I have a hard time criticizing those that don’t, if they are discouraging smoking at every turn.

  18. Yitzy Blaustein says:

    Y. Menken wrote:

    “What Rabbi Hoffman doesn’t elaborate upon is the reasoning behind why Rabbi Dovid Feinstein said that his father would say differently, and it is not merely because the medical knowledge today is more firm. It’s that it’s over a generation since R’ Moshe said that people should not begin smoking.”

    This is illogical. R. Moshe paskened that one must not start smoking, but that its not assur if one has already done started. Now R. Dovid is saying that were his father alive, he would have assurd it even for people who are already smoking.

    Surely many people who started smoking before R. Moshe’s psak are still alive and still smoking. R. Dovid is saying that were R. Moshe alive today he would tell those people that halakhically they must stop smoking. This is an important change that has nothing to do with whether or not Rav Moshe’s original psak was effective or not.

  19. Steve Brizel says:

    For those with daughters “in the parsha”, would you let them smoke or marry a smoker?! I think that the idea of visiting a cancer ward is excellent, but so is a simple pictorial of x-rays of a non-smoker and someone who has been smoking at least 2 packs a day and has been diagnosed with lung cancer-anyone who knows the difference between day and night can see the difference. FWIW, I have heard RHS state that smoking is a form of suicidal behavior,

  20. Zvei Dinim says:

    Joel Rich (KT?) wrote:
    “Some people smoke as a way to relax/relieve tension/escape. What alternatives do we offer bnai yeshiva to accomplish these (IMHO learning won’t accomplish these goals for some subset of bnai yeshiva). It would be best to have an alternative before you start taking it away.”

    In fact, contrary to popular belief, smoking seems to actually cause stress. The evidence overwhelmingly shows that nicotine addiction is sustained by negative reinforcement – i.e. it stresses you out when you don’t have it, not that it relaxes you.
    Seee for example –
    psy.haifa.ac.il/~ep/Students_Post/Projects/Project_2/2010-11/parrott_1999.pdf
    ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3340450/

    Rabbi Yaakov Menken,
    “What Rabbi Hoffman doesn’t elaborate upon is the reasoning behind why Rabbi Dovid Feinstein said that his father would say differently, and it is not merely because the medical knowledge today is more firm. It’s that it’s over a generation since R’ Moshe said that people should not begin smoking.”
    That may be true (I even heard it your way), but the updated medical knowledge is what is quoted by his Talmid (Rav Boruch Moskowitz, Mechaber Shu”T Vedibarta Bam) @ this source:
    ashanhamaves.blogspot.com

  21. Rafael A. says:

    Joel Rich – agree with you about having kosher outlets to let off steam. In Israel, where bachurim have fewer ways to relieve stress due to societal strictures of Israeli yeshivish chareidi society, there is much more smoking going on.

    A. Schreiber – I don’t understand how you can group wearing Borsolinos, 100% pants and cotton shirts (all which I agree with) together with legitimate chumros like cholov Yisroel and yoshon! Maybe if less was spent on gashmius like what you listed, having Golden Flow milk wouldn’t be as big a deal.

    I agree with Rabbi Oberstein about drinking. That has replaced smoking as the new vice. However, if you look at general society, with all the anti-smoking campaigns that have been going on now for decades, drinking is on the rise among the young and smoking is on the decline. So if anything, our society reflects general trends but to a lesser degree.

  22. ben dov says:

    “there has been no more successful anti-smoking campaign than R’ Moshe’s psak”

    Yaakov,I think you are greatly confusing cause with correlation.

  23. mycroft says:

    Smoking in general is clearly a killer-but is it a greater killer than excess fat and sugars that are present in our diets? How about a campaign against unhealthy kiddashes and simchas. Car accidents are a major cause of deaths-especially among the young-are our Yeshivas emphasizing following traffic rules or are talmidim joking about “Yeshivish” driving.
    For a balanced discussion about nicotine see https://class.coursera.org/drugsandbrain-002/lecture/185 by a Cal Tech Prof. Like all drugs tobacco seems to have some benefits protection against Parkinson’s disease-not advertised too much because far more people will be harmed by tobacco than benefit by it.
    Nicotine is probably the toughest addiction to kick the habit of-much tougher than heroin, marijuana etc. Very few people start after 22 or so-probably most got addicted as an early teenager way before a realistic age of maturity. Should we read out those who made a terrible mistake at 14,15 for the rest of their lives?

  24. Eli Julian says:

    Rabbi Hoffman touches on a very important issue, something that any forward thinking and open-minded person would certainly agree with. However, as long as the negative attitude towards all the is related to science and discoveries of modern medicine prevail in the Charedi world, I don’t think it is realistic to expect any change. If we educate our children that when it comes to issues like the age of the universe, dinosaurs, fossils etc. the scientists are simple fools who don’t know what they are talking about, why should we expect them to surrender their social pleasures when it comes to what doctors/scientists say about how the lungs work? It’s just not honest, and children are very keen on picking up on that. I am not necessarily advocating any kind of compromise on what is seen as traditional philosophical approaches towards these issues, but rather a change in the derisive attitude towards science in general. One can vehemently disagree with certain scientific principals without compromising our children’s respect for science as a whole.

    Additionally, as long as we keep our kids in the dark from the most rudimentary knowledge of how the body works, how can we expect them to have any understanding about the correlation between smoking and the different forms of cancer it causes? When I say this I refer primarily to our education system here in Israel, but the same holds true in many yeshiva high schools in the States. Secular studies may officially be taught, but the derisive attitude of the role models towards the goal of acquiring any significant amount of secular knowledge compromises the efforts of the teachers.

    In short, the smoking issue is symptomatic of much deeper and more serious issues in our education system, which must be addressed before any effective anti-smoking campaign can be implemented.

  25. Zvei Dinim says:

    mycroft,-

    You are gravely misinformed. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death, killing half a million annualy in the us alone cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/health_effects/effects_cig_smoking/

    According to the most recent studies smoking kills two thirds of smokers
    Medical Daily, Oct 11, 2013. Cigarettes Even More Dangerous Than Once Thought: 67% Of Smoking Deaths Linked Directly To Habit. http://www.medicaldaily.com/cigarettes-even-more-dangerous-once-thought-67-smoking-deaths-linked-directly-habit-259631
    The Lancet, Volume 381, Issue 9861, Pages 133 – 141: The 21st century hazards of smoking and benefits of stopping: a prospective study of one million women in the UK. http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(12)61720-6/abstract
    BMJ 2004;328:1519 bmj.com/content/328/7455/1519 – p. 1524 – “This indicates that about two thirds of the persistent cigarette smokers born in the 1920s would eventually be killed by their habit”

    Only about one percent of deaths result from motor vehicles (and if you take precautions that rate is significantly lower.)

  26. joel rich says:

    r’zvei denim,
    KT=Kol Tuv

    “In fact, contrary to popular belief, smoking seems to actually cause stress. The evidence overwhelmingly shows that nicotine addiction is sustained by negative reinforcement – i.e. it stresses you out when you don’t have it, not that it relaxes you.”

    imho may well be a distinction without a difference to the average smoker and still would need to address the need for relaxation/stress relief in that society.
    KT

  27. Mr. Cohen says:

    Rabbi Avigdor Miller, tape # 846, Life and Time:
    “A yeshivah bochur who smokes cigarettes, he is
    learning and smoking cigarettes, it is a contradiction.” (exact quote)

    Rabbi Avigdor Miller, said this at one of his Thursday night lectures:
    “Any yeshivah man who smokes cigarettes is a behemah.” (exact quote)

    Rabbi Avigdor Miller, said this at one of his Thursday night lectures:
    “Any yeshivah man who smokes cigarettes is lower than a goy.” (exact quote)

  28. David F says:

    I don’t deny the terrible effects of smoking and resisted the pressure to do so myself although it was quite common when I was a bochur, but I think the facts on the ground are not quite as dire as Rabbi Hoffman would have you believe.
    When I came to the Mir about 25 years ago, smoking was prohibited in the Beis Medrash during the day but at night it wasn’t uncommon for smokers to light up. That is no longer the case. It is prohibited in the entire building all day and night and there are far less smokers there.
    My son’s friends all do not smoke and my son has told me on repeated occasions that he feels very little social pressure to begin so while only anecdotal evidence, I’m not convinced that the ship is sinking.
    Moreover, the idea that we’ll throw a boy out of yeshivah for smoking seems a bit extreme especially when the trend in recent years has been to insist that throwing a boy out of yeshivah for far bigger issues is tantamount to retzichah and we’ve been warned repeatedly by the activists that it must only be done when every other option has been exhausted. Suddenly we’re told that smoking is legitimate reason to cut ’em loose. Nu nu.

  29. Bob Miller says:

    If something else is more dangerous, let that be forbidden, too. Can we only discourage the very worst behaviors?

  30. Y. Ben-David says:

    Interesting how these bachurim who are so committed to the Torah which demands so much self-discipline from us can’t seem to avoid this bad habit.

  31. Benshaul says:

    A a former smoker i must say that the premise of this article astounded me. While i respect the Rabbi, i dont know where he is getting his facts from. In almost all American Yeshivos smoking is NOT allowed, and at the high school level will get you thrown out. additionally -simply put, smoking is NOT popular anymore. Very few bochurim smoke; i know this because back in the day when i smoked it became increasingly harder to find anyone to “mooch” a cigarette from. I am told that the percentage of smokers in the Israeli yeshivot has gone down, but i cannot attest to that. In todays yeshiva most of the bochurim do NOT smoke.

    • Yair Hoffman says:

      Halevai Ben Shaul was right. Granted in many yeshivos the smokers in the batei midrash are down to 10 to 20 percentanf granted that in many yeshivos it is eliminated almost – nonetheless 10 to 20 percent is still very very high.

  32. Dr. E says:

    There are another few reasons why Yeshiva guys smoke:

    Given the value placed on conformity, there are few outlets for individual expression. Everyone should be the same. I would venture to say that yeshivas would frown more on a blue or brown hat or a black hat with a feather than a bochur smoking. These outward trappings reflect the image and reputation of the Yeshiva. Most smoking that does happen is more discreet and is of lesser concern withing explicit rules or implicit norms.

    They are all lamdanim and can all be m’taher a sheretz 70 times over. Somehow Rav Moshe either does not apply to them or they take solace in the pasuk of Shomre pesa’im Hashem inoculating them from the scenario depicted in the post.

    There is overall little accountability placed on Yeshiva bochurim for their behavior as it relates to their learning, life planning–or habits/vices (as long as they are not somehow shaming the Yeshiva)

    As for the “solution”, I am not all that optimistic. After all, isn’t there a self-inflicted Shidduch Crisis! Many young women are facing tough choices when it comes to shidduchim. When the phone rings, many of the young women are desperate to get even one date. Who is going to tell the young women that she needs to discount the opportunity because the bochur smokes? Or because he drinks? (Or more commonly, if he is merely mediocre in his learning and hasmada–whether he smokes or drinks or not?) Ask the non-well-connected BY educated young women out there. They are desperate. As long as the guy looks the part and outwardly behaves reasonably consistent with the expectations of the System, they are good to go. If she turns the guy down, the phone might not ring for another year and a half!

    If you don’t believe me, stay tuned and observe what passes for appropriate behavior of Bnei Torah this coming Purim. You will see drinking, smoking, reckless driving. If you are astute, you will realize that what you see is not merely a one day a year occurrence. They are merely more intense manifestations of what they do throughout the year. See how many parents, wives, and Rabbeim tolerate this. Wives and kallahs think that it’s “so cute” when their chossen debases himself. And after all, there is the Halachic imperative to do so, as per the literal reading of the Shulchan Aruch, right?

  33. c-l,c says:

    Rabbi Avigdor Miller, tape # 846, Life and Time:
    “A yeshivah bochur who smokes cigarettes, he is
    learning and smoking cigarettes, it is a contradiction.”

    Rabbi Avigdor Miller, said this at one of his Thursday night lectures:
    “Any yeshivah man who smokes cigarettes is a behemah.”

    But be that as it may,

    They’re are very few inexpensive outlets out there for our youth!

    Particularly ones that could be done multitasking.

    Most youth expect to stop after marriage ,and yes, they DO!

    IT’S rare to accost someone still smoking regularly into their 30’s!

    Perhaps marriage is the ultimate outlet!

    Therefore,unless they’re smoking more than a few a day,it is in the realm of halacha AND Issura

  34. c-l,c says:

    insert:

    “someone” in that milieu or environment “still smoking regularly”

  35. mycroft says:

    “mycroft,-

    You are gravely misinformed. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death”

    I wrote : “Smoking in general is clearly a killer” Way beyond Cross-currents topics but a response see http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/pdf/10LCID_All_Deaths_By_Age_Group_2010-a.pdf and how many deaths of Yeshiva students are from smoking vs other causes- see also http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/blowing-smoke-about-tobaccorelated-deaths . I’d appreciate an analysis by Joel Rich on the last piece.

    I am lucky I have never smoked a cigarette in my life. It is clearly dangerous but other behaviors are big risk factors too eg overweight, blood sugar which are certainly correlated with overweight and sugar.

  36. Mr. Cohen says:

    Rabbi BenZion Halberstam, second Rebbe of Bobov,
    smoked cigars. When his doctor told him that smoking is
    unhealthy, he quit smoking immediately and never smoked again.

    SOURCE: Gut Voch (paragraph titled:
    Will Power To Live, found in chapter 7, on page 84)
    by Avrohom Barash, 1998 CE, Mesorah Publications, Brooklyn,
    New York, ISBN 1-57819-273-9 (paperback).

    MICROBIOGRAPHY: Grand Rabbi Ben Zion Halberstam
    (born 1874 CE, died 1941 CE) succeeded his father as the
    second Rebbe of Bobov at the age of 31. He wrote
    a commentary on the Torah called Kedushas Tzion.
    He was murdered by Nazis, שמם ימח.

    Rabbi Simcha Bunim, born 1898 CE, died 1992 CE:
    I was a smoker, and with me it was not for gashmius.
    When I found out that it was harmful, I promptly discontinued it.

    MICROBIOGRAPHY:
    Rabbi Simcha Bunim Alter was the fifth Rebbe
    of Ger from 1977 CE to 1992 CE. He was known
    as the Lev Simcha after a book he authored.

    SOURCE:
    Jewish Action: Magazine of the Orthodox Union, Spring 1995 CE, page 7

  37. Shaya Karlinsky says:

    I believe the problem is greater in Yeshivas in Israel than in the US. Go to any charedi wedding, and see for yourself. Having no other outlets and the need to “look/feel cool” certainly contributes to what is a lethal activity. I believe some of the hesitation on the part of the “leadership” is their fear of implying something negative about earlier generations where smoking was prevelant, and still exists among some of the Rebbeim in the Yeshivas. And also being afraid they will be ignored (ein gozrim gzeirah she’ein hatzibbur yachol la’amod bo). When my daughters were in shidduchim, one of the first questions we asked was whether the bochur smoked. Anything less than an unequivocal “no” led to our response (parents and daughter of one mind) “thank you, but not for us.” It is truly a serious problem. The solution really has to start at the beginning, especially after revelations a number of years ago accusing tobacco companies of ADDING addictive agents to amplify the natural addictive power of nicotine. Close with an old joke told in Yeshivas many years ago. “Why doesn’t a bochur make a ‘shehecheyanu” on his first cigarette? You are not allowed to make a bracha in the bathroom.”

  38. joel rich says:

    r’ mycroft,
    All facts are theory based. Smoking is a huge risk factor (when I first started taking the actuarial exams in the early 70’s half the room was set aside for smokers, by the time I finished in 1978 there was hardly a smoker in the room!) categorizing deaths by cause and knowing corellation vs. causation can be a judgement factor – e.g. overweight diabetic smoker dies from heart disease while in the early stages of lung cancer – what is the cause of death?)
    FWIW my guess is international longevity would increase dramatically if the US spent some money now used for cancer research to provide clean water and sanitation in africa. Not saying we should do that, but it’s an example of the unspoken ethical dilemma in allocating resources.
    KT

  39. c-l,c says:

    (For the many who are prepared to tolerate and explain away the transgressions of dati youth (and adults),including those which fall within the rubric of Y’hareg V’al Ya’avor,but are unable to countenance any misdemeanor (however uncouth)of Bnei Torah,

    please perhaps educate me as where in the library of the Bais Midrash, “rumspringa” might just be found.

    Plus,)
    Putting aside those who desire to turn this site into an another continuous polemic (Eli Julian,etc.),the issue would be better addressed through weighing what might be offered as alternatives.

  40. Mr. Cohen says:

    Rav Schach (born 1898 CE, died 2001 CE) was a heavy smoker
    in his younger years, before it was known how injurious smoking is to health.
    After an operation, he asked his doctor if he could start smoking again.
    The doctor said: ‘It would be better for you not to begin again.’
    Rav Schach reacted: ‘If smoking is dangerous for my health, even slightly,
    I will stop completely.’ He threw his cigarettes away and never smoked again.

    SOURCE: condensed from HaRav Schach: Conversations (page 234) by Feldheim

  41. cvmay says:

    Eli J, I am in agreement 100%.

    As one who directs a large Driver Education Program for Yeshiva students aged 16 – 18, when issues of safety ex.: safety belts, speeding, texting, cell fone use, signaling & communicating intentions are discussed & taught, the attitude of youths are WHO SAYS ITS DANGEROUS? HOW DO THEY KNOW?

    IOW if its not specifically stated in the TARYAG Mitzvot, it is not taken seriously or given much value.

  42. Mr. Cohen says:

    “The Halachah Committee of the Rabbinical Council
    of America (RCA) said that Jewish Law is opposed to smoking.”

    SOURCE: The Jewish Press, 2006/07/14, page 38.

  43. Observer says:

    To Joel Rich – Your question about alternatives is valid, but in a sense not relevant. Smoking is a killer. It really is. Do you think it’s ok for guys to smoke pot to deal with stress? Get drink each Shabbos (or any other day of the week)? In a very real sense, this is no better.

  44. Mr. Cohen says:

    Yeshiva Zichron Dovid [an affiliate of the world renowned
    Rabbinical Seminary of America (Chofetz Chaim Yeshiva)
    of Queens NY] has a strict NO SMOKING policy for its
    students, and forbids smoking on its premises.”

    SOURCE: The Jewish Press, 2007/2/23, page 23

  45. Mr. Cohen says:

    “ Jews are not allowed to smoke, and they are required to
    observe a healthful way of life, said Rabbi Moshe Shaul Klein,
    Rabbi of Bnei Brak’s Maayanei HaYeshua Medical Center
    and representative of the halachah committee of one of
    Jerusalem’s leading rabbinical arbiters, Rabbi Shmuel Wosner.”

    SOURCE: article by Judy Seigel Itzkovich,
    2008 July 11, in The Jewish Herald, page 30.

  46. David F says:

    C V May,

    “As one who directs a large Driver Education Program for Yeshiva students aged 16 – 18, when issues of safety ex.: safety belts, speeding, texting, cell fone use, signaling & communicating intentions are discussed & taught, the attitude of youths are WHO SAYS ITS DANGEROUS? HOW DO THEY KNOW?”

    This attitude has nothing to do with Yeshiva students or Taryag mitzvos. This is the attitude of teenagers the world over.

  47. Mr. Cohen says:

    Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky, Rosh HaYeshivah of the Philadelphia Yeshivah:

    Today smoking is a Torah prohibition, because today we know the dangers.

    There is no question in my mind that if the chachamim [the early sages]
    would be around today, they would forbid smoking because it brings a person
    into a sachanah [danger].

    …there is also a danger for the people around him who can be affected by the smoke.

    SOURCE: Who Wants Life by Baruch Twersky, Mishpacha Jewish Family
    weekly, 2007 April 11 (5767 Nisan 23), page 33

  48. Mr. Cohen says:

    Rabbi Kanievsky, Sefer Shailas Rav:

    QUESTION:
    If a person smokes approximately seven cigarettes a day,
    would it be permissible for him to smoke on Yom Tov?

    ANSWER:
    It is prohibited to smoke on weekdays, as well.

    SOURCE:
    Hakhel Email Community Awareness Bulletin, 2008/11/13

  49. Mr. Cohen says:

    Jack Klugman was born in 1922 CE to Russian Jewish immigrant parents.

    A longtime cigarette smoker, he was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1974.

    The cancer returned in 1989.

    The cancer destroyed a vocal cord, which harmed his ability to speak.

    He appeared four times on The Twilight Zone from 1960 to 1963,
    a record which was probably never equaled by any other actor.
    He starred in The Odd Couple as Oscar Madison from 1970 to 1975 CE.

    He died from prostate cancer.

    The lesson of this true story: Smoking cigarettes causes cancer.

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