Rabbi Yosef issues warning
Photo: Guy Assayag
Do cigarette and Torah go together?
Photo: Yisrael Bardugo

Rabbi Ovadia: Smoking students should be slapped

In his weekly sermon, Shas' spiritual leader defines smoking as 'a breach which must be prevented', calls on parents and teachers to act against it. He also offers tips for quitting habit

Shas' spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, called on parents and teachers to act to prevent smoking among youth, a phenomenon which he referred to as "a breach which must be thwarted."


Speaking during his weekly sermon Saturday evening, the rabbi said that "if a person sees his son smoking a cigarette, he should shout at him and defend him and stop him from doing it… A yeshiva head who has a meeting and sees his student smoking, should slap him in the face. What are you smoking for?"


Rabbi Yosef, who spoke during the sermon about the laws allowing smoking during holidays, stressed that dealing with the issue does not make it legitimate.


"It's very bad. Whoever can quit – blessed be he," he added. "It damages a person's body… puts smoke inside his lungs, God forbid, it stupefies the lungs, the lungs can't operate. There are people who die of this thing… Some rabbis have written that it's strictly forbidden."


The rabbi went on to slam yeshiva students' habit to hand out cigarettes to their friends after getting engaged. "This is stupid. Why are you getting used to cigarettes? It starts with one cigarette, and then they get used to it. You want to give them gifts? Hand out candy."


'Cut every cigarette in half'

Addressing people's addiction to smoking, Yosef said, "On Shabbat they keep on looking at the stars to see the three stars come out so that they can smoke cigarettes again. And there are those who hide a cigarette at the synagogue and tell the manager, 'After the Havdala (ceremony at termination of Shabbat), let me smoke immediately.' Poor things. They've gotten used to it."


So how does one quit? "Stop smoking one cigarette every day," Rabbi Yosef recommended. "How many cigarettes do you smoke? Thirty a day? Tomorrow have 29, the day after tomorrow 28. When you only reach 10 – is 10 difficult? Cut every cigarette in half. You had 10 – now you have 20."


Rabbi Yosef also spurned Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman's proposal for a new tax on cigarettes, saying, "Now the health minister proposes making another shekel for every pack of cigarettes to get people to abstain. That's a lie. What will this give? Whoever pays 20 shekels will add one more shekel – so what? It won't do any good or bad."


The rabbi also took advantage of the lesson to convey a special greeting to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "There used to be a king, the king of Persia, who was very sick," he said. "I hope it happens soon to the president of Persia."


פרסום ראשון: 04.27.09, 11:56
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