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Saturday, January 13, 2007

No Smoking

Smoking is dangerous. Period.

It is a well-established and accepted fact.

Yet, with all the pressure in the outside world to limit and even eliminate smoking, there is still one place where it continues to flourish.

And that, dear readers, is the Yeshivah world.

Innocent Bachur after innocent Bachur succumbs to the peer-pressure and allows himself to indulge in that first cigarette. The rest, of course, is history.

I know that some of you reading this are thinking “he’s exaggerating; my son would never bring a cigarette to his lips”. But believe me; I know it from the inside. The majority of Bachurim smoke. Most parents are simply unaware or are in denial, but this is a fact. A neighbor of mine, who was lamenting this very phenomenon, consoled himself by saying that at least none of his five boys smoke. I didn’t have the heart to reveal to him that in actuality three of them do, but successfully manage to hide it from him.

The Gemorah is replete with prohibitions based on Sakana-danger. The Gemorah even says Chamirah Sakanta M’Issura; committing dangerous acts is more severe than committing an Aveirah. There is absolutely no excuse for this phenomenon, and it must be brought to public awareness.

The oft-heard justification is that many Gedolim smoked, and if they did so, how dare we question their actions.

That argument is ludicrous for a variety of reasons. Firstly, most Gedolim didn’t smoke, and one should follow the majority. Secondly, many Gedolim were simply unaware of the terrible health effects smoking has on a person. They lived at a time when such knowledge was not common. Besides, there were many Gedolim, who upon being told that their behavior was detrimental to their health, stopped smoking “cold-turkey”.

Recently a Sefer on the subject of health and Halacha was published. The author writes that he asked Rav Chaim Kanievsky what his opinion is on the issue of smoking. Rav CK forcefully responded that one shouldn’t smoke, and added that his uncle, the famed Chazon Ish, as far back as fifty years ago warned people about the dangers of smoking. The author then asked Rav CK if this was also his father’s, the Steipler Gaon’s, opinion, since it is well-known that the Steipler smoked. Rav CK replied that when he was first going off to Yeshiva, his father insisted that he must not smoke. When he asked his father how can say this if he himself smokes, the Steipler responded that he was an orphan and fell in with bad friends. Once the habit was formed he felt he couldn’t break it!

Such stories pull the rug from under the feet of those who use the actions of previous generations of Gedolim to justify their habit.

Recently many Gedolim from across the spectrum have called for the end to this widespread phenomenon. However, the fact remains that the peer-pressure in Yeshiva is to strong for most young Bachurim. To a young Bachur in Yeshiva, almost nothing is more important than being accepted into the group. If smoking is the price to pay, then in the mind of a young Bachur it is a minimal and necessary one.

Smoking is not just dangerous. It is also a colossal source of Bitul Torah. One can not compare a Seder being learned uninterrupted, to one interrupted every hour for a cigarette break. There is no question that those who learn smoke-free eventually outgrow their smoking counterparts, although it may take some time for this to become apparent.

As parents, parents-in-law, future parents, wives, etc., we all share in the obligation to stymie the growth of this cancer (pun-intended).

It is unhealthy, both for the body and for the soul.

Let us try to put an end to it, once and for all.

68 Comments:

Anonymous said...

Excellent post.I won't entertain any bochur that smokes for a shidduch for my daughter. To one shadchan that tried to push me, I told him, ask the other party if they mind if my daughter smokes.
We should boycott the Yeshivos which allow smoking and not allow our girls to marry any smoker.
I would like to see Kol Korehs and articles against smoking on a constant basis. The Hamodia had one a few weeks ago.More are needed.

Anonymous said...

Interesting answer back, anonymous!

My brother is 16 and currently in a yeshiva where unfortunately, the majority of the boys smoke. I know that on several occasions they have tried to get him to (why do people feel better when others share in their downfall?), but he unequivocally refuses. Why? Well, besides for the fact that each family member would stand in line to rip out his tongue if he did, my grandmother passed away of cancer, and regardless of the fact that it was pretty unrelated to her heavy smoking, he still holds a great correlation between the two in his mind. So we don't exactly discourage that. As depressing as this may sound, maybe what it takes is to introduce these kids to some live people who have holes cut out of their throats or who are dying of lung cancer. Even if it is only a wake up call for a handful of bochurim, it is still a worthy cause, I believe.

Anonymous said...

http://www.rabbihorowitz.com/PYes/ArticleDetails.cfm?Book_ID=9&ThisGroup_ID=236&Type=Article

Anonymous said...

I smoked for many years until I got sick,B'H I was saved quit cold turkey.That was 15 years ago.

Recently a Shadchin proposed a shidduch for my daughter.In the course of the conversation I asked him if the boys smokes,he hesitated and finally said yes he smokes.

My answer to him I was not interested in bringing up my daughters children,I am getting too old for that.

I understand the smoking idea in Yeshiva, especially here in BMG.The only way to stop the smoking is to refuse shidducen for these boys.

Radical? Hard? Not Nice? Could be ,but we must protect our children.

It's All Good Now said...

And you post this NOW? After I just bought stock in Phillip-Morris????? Shame on you!! Nah! Seriously though, smoking is probably the only remaining addiction that is still legal, although that status is slowly but surely changing. In all honesty, I tried smoking a cigarette on two separate occasions, and I almost choked both times. I don't get what it's all about, but there's obviously something there that can't just be blown off.

Y.Y. said...

the baal shem tov smoked so i doubt its harmful to health tzadikim used to say doctors are there to heal not to say what harms you or how long you have left to live

socialworker/frustrated mom said...

Can't agree more I can't stand smokers and I wish it could stop.

Independent Frum Thinker said...

Anonymous Jan 14, 12:39 –
You do have a point. If prospective in-laws wouldn’t consider boys who smoke, there would be pressure on them to stop. However, there are so many Bachurim who don’t “officially” smoke, but in reality do. It’s not very easy to find out the truth.
Boycotting Yeshivas that allow smoking is somewhat extreme, in my opinion. Yeshivos are bastions of Torah & Kedusha, and are the training grounds for the next generation of Frum Yidden. However, pressure can be brought upon the Hanhala in other ways.
As for seeing more Kol Koreihs; frankly, I don’t think we can expect the Gedolim to cheapen themselves by issuing repetitive declarations. The issue lies with us. We should learn to heed their words immediately without forcing them to beg and plead.

Anonymous Jan 14, 3:57 –
Let’s hope your brother continues to withstand the pressure.
Interesting idea about visiting cancer patients.


Anonymous Jan 14, 5:56 –
Thank you for the reference.

Anonymous Jan 14, 8:48 –
B”H you’re okay today.
Perhaps a united effort on the part of prospective in-laws would help, though I doubt it would ever happen. However, we can not change the world. If we change ourselves and our immediate family/surroundings etc., we can slowly make this world a better place.

It’s all good now –
I see how much “stock” you put into my post. You really think it’ll cause Phillip Morris to devalue.
Like I wrote in my post, smoking usually starts from peer-pressure. Therefore, although it is universally difficult for anyone to initially inhale smoke into their lungs, societal pressure often perseveres. Once it is a habit, it is too late.

Y.Y. –
I beg your pardon?
My entire post was devoted to refuting your, dare I say, ignorant argument. We can not justify dangerous activity by using people from years gone by as examples.
Perhaps doctors are only here to heal, but would you drink poison too, since after all, a doctor has no right to tell you what is harmful? Obviously, anything clearly dangerous is forbidden by the Torah.

Socialworker/frustrated mom –
Same here. But this is a lot more than personal preference. Even if we didn’t mind smoking, it is still dangerous and thereby wrong.

knaidel maidel said...

Smoking is a disgusting habit. If a person wants to blow away their own life, fine (I speak of goyim here...) but now it's clearly known that secondhand smoke is even more dangerous. So lay off my air.

The Baal Shem lived centuries before smoking was known to be harmful. And even the Rambam, whose medical advice we still honor today, said that we should go by the advice of current doctors over his; he acknowledged that new facts surface which can be very useful.

It is said of a certain gadol, forgot which, who used to smoke a pipe every day, but when news came out that tobacco had been declared dangerous, he stopped cold turkey. Total control, no habits for a true eved HaShem.

I often wonder why tobacco is still a legal substance in the U.S.A. They've banned marijuana, which is far less harmful than tobacco. I suppose it's because it would spark a black market totally out of control.

Y.Y. said...

my sister inlaw died of lung cancer at age 33 never smoked or been exposed to second hand smoke so its all BS

Y.Y. said...

knaidel maidel
the baal shem didnt need the knoledge from doctors his madreigeh was big enough to be maasig everthing through his kedisha

hesh said...

great post and 100% dead on. In my school an unnamed chofetz Chaim institution the Rosh Yeshivah smoked at least two pack a day and still does. They finnally banned smoking inside the school, so you had to go outside. But of course being a hypocrite the Rosh Yeshvah was the only one allowed to smoke inside.

I attended yeshiva for all of highschool and have never smoked in my life. But I do many as mentioned above that got their start in yeshiva bec there was nothing else to do and why not be cool.

When I have kids I would much rather them smoke weed then cigs. More of a fan if you ask me.

TRW said...

Amen, IFT.

You know there are some cities that are becoming smoke-free? I think it's awesome!

Anonymous said...

I once heard a story of one who met someone else in the street smoking. He went over and gave him a resounding slap in the face. Said he: "If you don't care about yourself, should I?"

About the Baal Shem Tov smoking. Did he smoke tabaco? Did he smoke regularly. And finally: Do you do everything He did?

I don't konw what this whole issue is about. Rabbanim some time ago came out with a Psak that it's ossur to smoke. What is there more to add?

Anonymous said...

with all due respect (and as a former smoker myself) it continues to flourish in many other areas as well.
the majority dont smoke
many do
but the word majority posits that it is more than 50%
it isnt (although still too many)

annonymous #1 : what a stupid comment. the moderator JUST SAID (and is correct) that most dont know that a given boy smokes. the fact that they mentioned it to you with regard to a shidduch means its so obvious in that case that it couldnt be hidden.
my wife swore she would nbever mary a boy who smoked . i was not aware of that, but while going out i hid it well. after we got married i quit because i didnt want my children to deal with the unhealthy effects.
let me ask you a question. if your daughter goes out with a fellow and its perfect, besides for the fact that it comres out that he smokes moderately (10-12 cigarettes daily), what would you do if he wasnt going to quit? just curious....

knaidel maidel: i'm sure you have mnany disgusting habits as well. like wearing the latest fashions (or wishing you could) and ewanting (or having) a fancy car. lay off the vociferousness why dontchya...

and why dont any of you draw any meaningful conclusiopns from the fact that THE STIEPLER CONTINUED !!!!!!!!! im not advocating it, im just saying that there is more substance that you folks are giving credence to.

hesh: good point. marijuanna is less addictive and less dangerous. all natural and nowhere near the carcinogens. but thats a discussion for another day.

last annon: i hope that person stuck a knife in his throat. that would be appropriate.
and one more thing, rabbonim have come out with many psaks that niether you nor most others listen to. like mosros.
have a nice day

steve said...

The only way to stop it is if the roshei yeshivot tell them it's ossur and that they will be thrown out if they are caught. Unfortunately, many of the rosh yeshivos themselves smoke, and the talimidim love to emulate them in every way. In certain yeshivahs, you see them imitating the rosh yeshivah's gestures and the way he walks, out of respect. You see it at weddings where young bochurs, 15-19 years old, are hanging out outside with their cigarettes and cellphones. That has become the official status symbol for being "cool" in the yeshiva world. Not to mention the underage drinking. I was approached at many weddings by young boys asking me to order an alcoholic beverage for them. You see it especially on Purim, where often it leads to a chillul hashem where inebriated frum teenage boys are seen in the neighborhood making a spectacle of themselves. This is only going to get worse, until the rabbanim take a stand and say "enough already". Drinking and smoking are the ways of the goyim. It is certainly not befitting a ben torah. There are no excuses for this type of behavior. The excuse you most often hear is that they need an outlet and that they are under tremendous stress with their learning. There are other "outlets" for them, such as sports.

shmaya gestetner said...

hello ift.
i have been smoking for about 12 years. it is a very bad addiction and clearly unhealthy. although i agree with most comments here, it sounds like a lot of the anti-smokers need a cigarette themselves! there are many terrible habits in our society. when you see an over weight man in his 60's attacking the sweet table at a chasuna, do you yell at him too? do you yell at your grandparents for overloading their system with legal drugs that the f.d.a. just approved recently? next time you go to the mikva, take a look at what the average frum person looks like, not examples of perfect health at all.
i don't mean to take the attention away from smoking, but everybody has health issues to work on. i.e; exercise, diet, stress etc. don't be so harsh, man.
smoking is both a physical and emotional addiction. alot of times you may have the physical strength to quit, but not the emotional strength.
finally, there is a whole list of things the yeshivas could add to their services to benefit our health, i.e; sports, healthy eating habits, music, relaxation etc. etc. however, the yeshiva has a hard enough time getting boys to sit and learn properly and they don't always have the energy or desire to work on everything else that bothers you.

hugs and love,
shmaya

Anonymous said...

I'm very against smoking but I'd still prefer someone addicted to cigerattes to someone addicted to blogs anyday.I also question this inside knowldge IFT has about the high smoking rates that I'm unaware of (I learn in a local yeshiva daily so I see whats going on).Then again most blogs seems to have whole shopping list of evils that prevade most of our society that I'm somehow bliisfully unaware of(and hope to keep my head in the sand in an effort to remain that way...)

Anonymous said...

Anon @1:37,
What does one issue have to do with the other? Reading blogs does not cause cancer. It's like saying that smoking is not as bad as gambling. Each one is a vice that one should never get started with. As for the high smoking rates, go visit any yeshiva high school dorm or any chassuna and you'll see scores of young bachurim smoking. Don't be so naive.

Independent Frum Thinker said...

Knaidel Maidel –
Like I wrote earlier, we can not draw on the actions of previous generations, when facts of today, and today’s Gedolim, dictate otherwise.

Y.Y. –
In other words, if a car went out of control, flew onto someone’s lawn, and killed someone, does that prove that running across a highway is not dangerous?
As for the Ba’al Shem Tov; perhaps he was on the level to be protected from bad, but most others are not.

Hesh –
Thank you for your comment. Though I don’t think smoking other substances, even if less harmful, is okay either.

TRW –
So do I.

Anonymous Jan 15, 12:43 –
I agree. We must listen to the directives of our Gedolim, and not live in the past. If something is dangerous according to contemporary medicine, it becomes forbidden Halachikly.

Anonymous Jan 15, 10:55 –
Thank you for taking the time to write a lengthy comment.
My decision to use the word majority is due to my years of observing. I still feel it is a majority, though many may successfully hide it, like I wrote earlier. Either way, even if only a significant minority, it is still too much.
As for the fact that the Steipler continued; that Sefer quotes R’ CK as saying that his father said that at his stage he couldn’t stop, but emphatically declared that R’ CK should never start.

Steve –
Welcome back!
Hopefully, we can spread enough awareness so that sincere efforts will be made to stop this problem.
As for drinking at Simchos and/or Purim, perhaps that will be the subject of a future post.

Shmaya –
Firstly, I like your sense of humor.
Also, thank you for giving us a smoker’s perspective on this. It is important to hear the physical and emotional struggles our smoking brothers go through in their efforts to stop.
As for the rest of your comment; just because there are other problems doesn’t mean we can’t focus on one at a time.

Anonymous Jan 15, 1:37 –
You may prefer someone with one addiction over another addiction, but we can still focus on one addiction at a time.
For your information; this blog is not about bashing, whining, or complaining, in any way whatsoever, Chas V’Sholem!! If you’ve read the header to my blog, and followed the posts and my comments, you will see that I am sincerely dedicated strictly to helping our community by bringing awareness to things that may be left untouched. As for my knowledge of the goings-on that you seem to question, all I can say is that from my vantage point I am obviously a lot more privy than many others.
May Hashem help us all!

Anonymous Jan 15, 3:52 –
My sentiments exactly.

Anonymous said...

I true story I had when I was young.
I met a Rosh Yeshiva who was smoking in the airport,in the days when it was still legal.He really stunk the place up.I asked him if he is a RY.Yes. Do you give Musar to your Bochurim?Yes.
What would you say if a bochur was Mezaneh,would you tell him anything?Of course.
Well, how can you tell him, you can control your Taivus and he can't control his.
He went ballistic.But I still would tell any RY this.

chaverah said...

IFT - right on my friend. I totally agree with EVERY word you said! So sad that in the yeshiva world its still a thing to do. oy!

shmaya - what a copout answer! How can you compare diet, exercise and weight to smoking??? You have a very brainwashed way of thinking that smoking and a weight problem are in the same catagory! Yeshiva's should focus on this topic and put an end to it!

Anonymous said...

i agree that it is a terrible thing to smoke it puts many lives at risk and it smells however but it is incomparable to zinus there is a physical addiction by smoking while tayva is a very hard thing but there is no physical addiction i most cases. additionlly i agree that rosh yeshivas should not accept people who smoke but to throw out people who smoke i do not agree with. there is a big shikul that must take place before we throw people out of yeshiva and maybe the RY feel that peoples lives will be ruined if they are thrown out an if they are kept there are ways of getting to them and helping them break their addictions

socialworker/frustrated mom said...

I wasn't saying it as a personal comment only of course it's dangerous and that's the reason to stop it!

shmaya gestetner said...

chaverah- i'm not saying that smoking and diet are the exact same thing, but they are both clearly health issues. look around and i don't think you will find more 85 year old people that are 300 pounds then 85 year old smokers. you may be less disgusted by someone smoking then by someone who is ordering a heart attack at kosher delight, but that is just your preference.
i did not intend to defend smoking, i just wanted to help others understand a smokers perspective and the possible reason why rosh yeshivas don't deal with it.
-shmaya

steve said...

Shmaya,
You are diverting attention from one health issue to another. Obesity is certainly dangerous, that's why they are outlawing trans fats. However, nobody thinks that being fat is "cool". It's just a situation where the individual can't control his appetite. In the case of smoking, usually one starts lighting up because of peer pressure. Once he's hooked, it's very difficult to stop (you would know from your own experience). The point we are making is that boys and girls msut be taught the dangers of smoking before they light up for the first time.

shmaya gestetner said...

steve- i agree with you. unfortunately, another experience i have is working for a short while in the tobbaco ind. and its scary how much power they have in the u.s.a.

steve said...

In my opinion, the heads of the tobacco industry are two-bit drug pushers. They are no better than the drug peddlers that hang out on the corner.

Y.Y. said...

just finished a good smoke

shmaya gestetner said...

steve- the tobbaco ind. is terrible, but if you're that strong minded, don't invest too much in the pharmac. companies. there may be alot of useful/life-saving drugs, but these companies have alot of blood on their hands, and our society has become totally dependent on prescription drugs. i know we are tackeling one issue at a time here, but keep this one on hold, i'm sure ift will get to it one day.

hugs and love,
shmaya

steve said...

One major difference, pharmaceutical companies by and large produce drugs that save lives, despite their corruption. The tobacco companies by and large produce products that destroy lives.

Anonymous said...

To anon,
On the contrary, humans have a built in Tayva, yet, we must control it, while smoking is not a built in Taiva, you must aquire it.Though the Aveira is worse,there at least is an excuse. There is no excuse for smoking.

Moshe Y. Gluck said...

I am actually aware of a yeshiva that has only two infractions that are punishable by immediate expulsion, and one of those is smoking.

Also, I agree with Shmaya that the evil of obesity is vastly underestimated, and should be publicized. I happen to be on a diet now, and I grant that it's a difficult thing to do, but a necessary one.

Shmaya, I'm waiting for your call-back. :-)

mj said...

of course it is worse to cause yourself to get a new tayvah however you were taking to the RY once he already acquired it which may have been because of a dumb youthful indiscretion and now he is stuck with the PHYSICAL addiction which in most cases does not exist by reglar tayvah
so in the beginning it is worse to allow yourself to get hooked but you were criticizing him for smoking not for allowing himself to get hooked

shmaya gestetner said...

I.F.T.,
you must remind everybody that your blog is about self-betterment, not SELF-BITTERMENT!

like i mentioned, i am a smoker. i am pretty interested in quiting one day, but right now you guys are scaring me off! is every non-smoker as critical and bitter as the people posting on this topic? i'm a very nice guy! i didn't know i'm causing so much trouble to society every time i smoke on the street!
if there was a post regarding a common habit that i didn't have, i wouldn't make you feel like the lowest creature in our society for having that habit. besides, the original topic was why yeshivas don't do more about it and how we could change it.
love and more love,
shmaya

Anonymous said...

You are missing my point. If a RY is telling Musar to his students, it all boils down to control yourself. Whether you control your tongue from speaking LH,Bitul Torah, getting up on time for Davening. My example was extreme to prove a point. If a RY can not control his Taivos,and remember, this is an unatural Taiva, then he has no business of telling me to control my urges.
Who is being critial of whom?If you want to go ahead and follow the directions to kill yourself, who am I to say no.Just remember, following the directions of usage from the manufacturer,is the main cause of death in smoking.

Independent Frum Thinker said...

Anonymous Jan 15, 10:06 –
I don’t know if you have to come across so strongly to bring out your point. It’s always better when done in a pleasant way.

Chaverah –
Thanks for agreeing.
As for Shmaya; he was merely trying to give us a smoker’s perspective, which I appreciate hearing. As for his other points; like I answered him earlier, it may be true that there are other issues as well, but we can still focus on one at a time.

Anonymous Jan 16, 12:48 –
I agree that throwing someone out of Yeshiva, especially nowadays, is a very grave decision and should only be taken as a last resort.

Social worker/frustrated mom –
I didn’t really think you meant that. However, I was still trying to emphasize that even if smoking was a pleasant thing, it still shouldn’t be done due to its dangerous effects.

Shmaya –
Your point was heard and well-taken. Thank you for giving us a smoker’s perspective.
Please see what I wrote to Chaverah a few lines up.

Steve –
Good point. Smoking usually starts from peer-pressure, hence the need to eradicate it from its root, which is proper education of the dangers while people are still young and not caught up in it already.

Y.Y. –
I hope you had the same Kavanos in mind while smoking as the Ba’al Shem Tov did.

Anonymous Jan 16, 6:43 –
Good point. Most people don’t start off enjoying smoking. That first cigarette almost always causes them to violently cough out the smoke. It’s not a natural Taivah, rather something acquired, hence the importance of nipping it in the bud.

Moshe Y. Gluck –
Thank you for your input. It’s good to hear that there is a Yeshiva that has such a rule. However, more Yeshivos should, and sadly don’t.

MJ –
Like I wrote earlier, it is an acquired Taivah. But one should still speak and act with Derech Eretz. Besides the issue of Kovod HaTorah, rebuke is usually accepted better when given in a pleasant manner.

Shmaya –
I hear you. People shouldn’t be too critical, and rather focus on discussing the issue and how to best deal with it. Good luck on your eventual quitting.

Anonymous Jan 16, 9:54 –
You’re points are true and well-taken. However, like I wrote earlier, even though you make a good point, it’s probably worth bringing it out in a less confrontational way, don’t you agree?

Anonymous said...

I agree, but do to the serious manner which is affecting our children, that is, kids getting hooked on in a young age, kids learning from adults, RY which have no business smoking in public, I feel it deserves the shock treatment.
If A RY smokes, my child is not going to that yeshiva , and neither is my money.I really do not care how chashuv he is.

mj said...

i do not mean to say what the RY is doing is right he is wrong and should be working on stopping but maybe he has and so far he has failed bec of the physical addiction. and your right he should not be smoking in public but according to the way the story was written he criticized the RY for smoking period not for smoking in public. although both smoking and zinus are wrong i do not think it is fair to compare the two. pick something better to compare it to

Anonymous said...

So far with with all posts about the well known evils of smoking I havn't really seen any concrete suggestions for how WE(not our school system)can prevent or stop smoking.

mj said...

i agree with you we are always quick to say that it is up to others to fix the problems. it is really our problem and it affects us we have to fix it. is there anything we can do to cause others not to smoke. are we doing anythin to contribute to others smoking

mj said...

i think if we are talking with freinds or others and they take out a cigarette we should tell the person (nicely- we can not change people by acting not nice) i can not keep talking to you if you smoke so please put it away or i will go away. and if we have kids old enought to understand we should take them to visit ling cancer patients. also if we see people smoking in public we should ask them to go to a secluded area so other kids do not learn from them. but to just go over to people in the street that you have nothing to do with and crticize them about smoking will be counterproductive

FrumWithQuestions said...

Hesh, I don't know which Chofetz Chaim you are talking about but the one thing I like about the Chofetz Chaim yeshiva in Queens is that I have never seen anyone smoke in the Yeshiva or outside the Yeshiva and it doesn't appear to me that any of the Rabbaim there smoke either.

IFT- I agree with your post but I have to say in a way what YY said is true. Many of the Rabbaim in Europe used to smoke, not only the Baal Shem Tov. It wasn't neccessarily tabacco that they would smoke and whatever they did smoke it did not have all the additives the cigarettes have today. It was not known that they were dangerous then and whatever was smoked was not smoked for physical pleasure but was smoked for a spiritual pleasure that would help them. Now the situation is much different and I cannot find any Rav who would tell anyone it is permitted to smoke.

FrumWithQuestions said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Shpitzle Shtrimpkind said...

Once again, a heartfelt well written post on a painful subject. I just can't believe some bloggers here actually justify the habit by saying that our rabbis did so.

I just wish there was a single solution listed here that would seem workable.

Independent Frum Thinker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Independent Frum Thinker said...

Anonymous Jan 17, 11:26 –
Personally, I think respectfully approaching him would have been more effective, but I understand your strong feelings on the issue, especially when being done in public.

Anonymous Jan 17, 1:39 & MJ –
Stressing the graveness of an issue allows one to realize that something must be done in order to rectify it. The first step towards solving the problem is increasing awareness. Perhaps in a future post we can suggest practical ways to obliterate this phenomenon.

MJ – Interesting ideas.

Frum With Questions –
Exactly. The danger wasn’t known, they smoked other less-harmful substances too, and we can not relate to their level. Nowadays, there should be no allowance for it.

Shpitzle –
I can’t believe it either, and in a number of my comments I explained why we can’t use them as examples.
As for a single workable solution; please read what I wrote above to Anonymous Jan 17, 1:39 & MJ.

Semgirl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Semgirl said...

I have very often crunched the numbers and calculated that at even five dollars a pack once a day for three hundred days a year (hopefully they don’t smoke privately on Shabbos), for all the members of our Kehillo that smoke it comes to approximately 1.5 million dollars that isnt going to all the wonderful Mosdos that need that money.
In fact it is height of antisemitism and ingratitude that there isnt a Winston-Salem bais medrash in Lakewood with all the money we send them.

Independent Frum Thinker said...

Semgirl –
Interesting twist.

Y.Y. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Independent Frum Thinker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Independent Frum Thinker said...

I just deleted a comment due to its sarcastic and demeaning intent.
Please keep the discussions intelligent and respectful. Thank you.

Y.Y. said...

imho it was a very intelligent rebuttal to semgirls point whatever

Independent Frum Thinker said...

Y.Y. –
You can try to make the same point with a different analogy as the one used. I’m sure you understand what I’m saying.

hasid_letz said...

"Rav CK replied that when he was first going off to Yeshiva, his father insisted that he must not smoke. When he asked his father how can say this if he himself smokes, the Steipler responded that he was an orphan and fell in with bad friends. Once the habit was formed he felt he couldn’t break it!

"Such stories pull the rug from under the feet of those who use the actions of previous generations of Gedolim to justify their habit."

This story, if true, only shows that the Steipler was saying, "do as I say, not as I do." Any wonder why people don't take the Gedolim seriously?

Letz

mj said...

even if he is saying do as a say not as i do his actions are not breaking an addiction and he was saying dont do anything which will cause yourself to get addicted

Independent Frum Thinker said...

Hasid_letz –
Absolutely not. The Steipler was bemoaning the fact that he became addicted at a time of weakness, and was instructing his son to never start. At that point the Steipler was already addicted and felt he couldn’t stop, but was trying to prevent his son from ever reaching his situation.

Mj –
True.

hesh said...

In my yeshiva the bais medrish guys were alowd to smoke as well as everyone who basically wasnt in high school. It wasnt a danger thing it was purely age. The Rosh Yeshiva smokes afew packs a day- talk about influences.

Anyway a few years back they decided to ban smoking inside the building. Of course everyone had to walk outside in the cold and other weather. But the rosh yeshiva was of course sitting at his desk smoking up a storm.

Independent Frum Thinker said...

Hesh -
At least your Yeshiva recognized the issue and is trying to change policies.
How the official policy is no smoking indoors, yet the Rosh Yeshiva himself smokes inside, is beyond me.

Anonymous said...

R' Nachman of Breslov, who was clearly ahead of his time in all areas, also spoke out against smoking, at a time when noone dreamed it was unhealthy.

Independent Frum Thinker said...

Anonymous Jan 25, 12:00 -
Thank you for sharing that with us.
And nowadays that we ALL know it's dangerous, there is no excuse anymore.

Anonymous said...

It's probably a bit too late to add to the discussion here, but for what it's worth, I'll say it anyway.
Lung cancer is not a significant risk in smoking. I heard a physiologist, a former smoker say that you've got a 1 in 500 chance of getting lung cancer if you smoke. In a stroke of creative genius, he used this fact to illustrate the way the nicotine addict's mind works. "Put me in a firing line with 500 people and only one gun and bullet -- I'd take that chance to smoke again for the rest of my life!" He then discussed the most dangerous aspect of smoking, the stress that the the nicotine and carbon monoxide put on you heart and circulatory system. Nicotine is a vasodialator, it constricts your blood vessels, forcing your heart to work harder for no effect (unlike exercise). And carbon monoxide, present in cigarette smoke, binds to hemogloblin (the molecule which carries oxygen to your cells) 200 times stronger than oxygen! Smoking puts great stress on your heart, and its greatest risk is heart disease.

Independent Frum Thinker said...

Anonymous Jan 28 -
Thank you for the information, and no, it's never to late to chime in.

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