Rabbi Menachem Stein Shlit”a:
All cigarette smoking is like eating Non-Kosher Meat.
In the past, mainly due to lack of awareness and lack of activity in the field, smoking rates among yeshiva students were much higher – in recent years there has been a relative decline following the instruction of Maranan and Rabbenu Gedolei Yisrael Shlit”a about the prohibition of smoking and the public education campaign in the field. The main danger, as stated, lies in the stage when people start smoking.
How do you explain to a young man that it is best to avoid smoking?
Hagaon Rabbi M. Stein Shlit”a, replies at length:” There are several points that it is important to emphasize to Bnei Torah, regarding the smoking of young men. ”
“The first point is the common halachic prohibition of ‘guarding your souls’, and they have already emphasized that fact that they smoked in the past was due to a lack of knowledge about the dangers –
Today it has become clear that smoking shortens life. I heard myself from a senior doctor. That every cigarette takes 12 minutes of life! That means 10 cigarettes take two hours of life. One hundred cigarettes take twenty hours and so on, this accumulates; many years later in the future, the young man will fervently ask for them … You can look at the book “Glory instead of Ashes” in which he extends the matter, and in Rabbi Ashaik’s pamphlet, it is unbelievable to be told. All the more so for a guy who starts his first cigarette on Purim or at an engagement party; it’s just like those secular boys who like to inhale gas – and die of it; smoking is a kind of drug.
“You have to tell a yeshiva student who is about to take his first cigarette, first of all read the material! Before you start to get into the route that takes you to the way of no return, read what smart people wrote. Before you insert ash into your body, understand the dangers. Do not draw conclusions from the fact that our great rabbi, Rabbi Shach, of blessed memory, smoked – because on the day he learned that smoking was dangerous to health, he stopped smoking that day!
From the halachic perspective each additional cigarette is an additional prohibited act like eating Non-Kosher meat. From my point of view, there is no difference between them. “
”A second point – let the young man take into account the fact that he is enslaving himself to the thing. Even if it were not forbidden, smoking would cause him to waste quite a bit of life and bring him into absurd situations. After all, a smoker who does not have a cigarette cannot do without it. If he gets stuck without a cigarette, he starts running from one to the other to ask for a cigarette, and if he does not have friends he will go out to the street to look. These are acts that happen every day. A person creates dependence on an external factor with his own hands! When you are about to start smoking, you are enslaving yourself to something inherently addictive, which means total dependence without the ability to function when it’s missing. This dependence will limit your life. Think very well if you want this”!
“Third point – smoking is a complete contrast to the entire process of thinking in the world of Torah and morality, the central point of the world is to learn self-control.
The beastly inclination is to do what I want, we teach in the yeshiva to be kings. King – the mind, the heart, the liver in accordance to the words of the Chida. Who are the kings? The rabbis, for his heart is in his possession, the righteous their hearts are in their possession, and he controls his desires. At least working on it. A man, all his work is to think about, to where does It leads? Everything he does in life has a four-word question in front of him, מה ייצא לי מזה?’,’ ‘What will I get from this?’ Not what’s pleasant but what’s good. The Hebrew word טוב, good, is textually related to the word להיטיב to improve; the Torah leads to preparation for the purpose. When secular people ask what they do here in the yeshiva, they do not learn degrees or skills. Our answer is, here we are building a man that will be a king, with self-control. The entire act of the cigarette is a complete contrast to the spirit of the Torah, to perform an action that is of no use other than destruction. “
“The fourth point is that smokers make a claim because it ‘helps them with concentration.'” The answer is, “You do not have to go into the system, that the way you get concentration, is to be dependent on a cigarette.” A young man who feels he needs it, as a means to concentration; then he should involve himself with other things, such as, using a pen and paper, etc. but not a cigarette…. We’re talking about those who are about to start with the first cigarette – do not put yourself in danger at the outset, do not enslave yourself and ruin your life. “”
A fifth point is what we say to a young man who sees that the teacher of his shiur or the mashgiach smokes. They had already become addicted, perhaps starting at a time when the damage was not known, or when they were young. On the contrary, he will learn from them how difficult it is to get rid of this habit, that even Torah scholars, people who are the elite of the nation, cannot stop. Surely, they would like not to smoke and not to be a slave to a cigarette, so rehabilitation is hard labor. “
“The sixth point smoking has become a symbolic matter for the topics related to arrogance. An expression of arrogance. A young man wants to smoke because he feels grown up; he has to understand that this is an imagined and stupid sense of pride.”
“Point seven – to describe how much harm this may make in matches. Sometimes small things are more daunting now, many people immediately drop offers if the guy smokes. Neither the girl nor the parents are interested in a guy who smokes, from all the explanations we have given. “
“Eighth point – those who smoke. On Shabbat and Holidays, they simply suffer. All Shabbat is just waiting for Saturday night, the cigarette causes him to be suffering all Shabbat and only wait for Havdalah. Maran the Steipler did not take medication all week, to avoid a situation where he would feel worse on Shabbat than in the middle of the week. That is understood, is fitting for someone on his spiritual level. Smoking causes the young man to bring himself to spiritual trials. A person who smokes brings himself to spiritual trials; and we are brought up with the approach, of not bringing us to a spiritual trial”.”The last point that is important to raise is the damage done to others because of passive smoking; a youth who smokes, brings direct harm to his friend; he harms all those in the radius around him.””Therefore, the wise have their eyes in their head. Just do not get into this! “