web analytics
July 2, 2015 / 15 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities

By:
Chronicles-logo

Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

Dear Readers,

This column recently featured a letter written by a reader who expressed concern about the alarming rise of marijuana abuse in our frum communities by those with the “mistaken notion that the use of marijuana is, firstly, not against halacha, and secondly, not harmful to one’s health.” (Chronicles Aug. 10)

The writer cited the position of Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l (as documented in Igros Moshe, Yoreh De’ah Vol. 3, Siman 35) who held that smoking marijuana is in violation of many of the basic laws of our Torah since it causes physical harm to the user and is detrimental to the mind and thus affects one’s performance of mitzvos.

The following letter was submitted by a young man in response to Concerned…

Dear Rachel,

Rabbi Moshe’s teshuvah is, I believe, addressed to yeshiva students who need to keep their minds sharp, though I’ll admit the reasons stated for prohibiting marijuana would apply equally to most Jewish teens. To note: The Torah does not forbid marijuana use, but Reb Moshe does — based on the reason that it is disruptive to a healthy Torah lifestyle. If the reasons underlying that assumption fall, then the issur falls.

The argument that marijuana disrupts kavanah, thereby rendering a user unable to study Torah or perform mitzvos, is highly contentious and something that ultimately only good medical research, that unfortunately does not yet exist, can set straight. A parent’s aggravation is unfortunate, but the fact is that many teenagers – probably not unlike their parents before them – engage in behavior their parents often find disappointing.

In the case of marijuana, the degree of concern warranted is not clear, but one thing is: the more you fan a flame, the stronger the fire gets. Marijuana will not destroy you child’s brain. Most Americans have smoked marijuana and the American who has not ever done so is the exception to the rule. Good or bad, it’s a fact.

Parents who say “We are Jewish, this isn’t our way…” are completely right, but smell the coffee; it’s 2012 and we’re in America. If you can raise a child away from marijuana, away from a computer, and away from a TV, more power to you. If your child has been exposed repeatedly to television, computers, and cholov akum then taking a puff and chasing the dragon fits right into that list.

That’s not to say marijuana can’t be a detriment. It can, and with an unhealthy person, especially one with the usual instability of a teenager, it is a real concern. Many people say marijuana is not addictive. That’s a lie. Maybe not like heroine, but it most certainly can and often does develop into an addiction, and no addiction – besides maybe a Torah addiction – is healthy.

Even here the real concern is not so much the effect the marijuana has on the body or mind but more so the affect it may have on the person’s behavior. Most people in America smoked marijuana and most are not addicted by any measure. Often the person experimenting with marijuana, especially the teenager, is of a fragile nature and will likely respond to conflict by fighting back and digging deeper into the cycle of experimentation.

Better not to fuel that fight and to focus on positive goals. In my opinion the subject of marijuana should be addressed only as far as goals and an otherwise normal lifestyle have been impacted by its use. I humbly advise parents who would like help in dealing with what they believe is a problem, namely a teenager engaging in marijuana smoking, to take the issue to a doctor and rabbi (trusted by both parent and teen) to openly discuss it, with the teen and without. If you don’t have a rabbi and doctor, this could be the first problem and certainly is your first step to reconciliation.

If your teen is smoking marijuana you may think it is a big deal and you may be right, but it probably didn’t start here, it won’t necessarily end here, and you can overreact and make things worse. Try to create a real connection with your child. Take joy in simple things, like preparing food for Shabbos together and eating together. On Shabbos let your worries melt away. Indulge in family togetherness, good food and wine, and read the parshawith the commentaries. Even your estranged teenager is apt to join you in such an environment. Shabbos is an ideal time to reignite the light of love and friendship. Be patient but resilient and see if your problems won’t slip away.

A Frum Realist

Dear Frum Realist,

About the Author: We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories via email to rachel@jewishpress.com or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 4915 16th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11204. If you wish to make a contribution and help agunot, your tax-deductible donation should be sent to The Jewish Press Foundation. Please make sure to specify that it is to help agunot, as the foundation supports many worthwhile causes.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
investing-in-gold_4548807_lrg
What Sanctions? Iran Receives 13 Tons of Gold From S. Africa
Latest Sections Stories

Anna Henriques, who hopes to one day head back to Jamaica, says, “Rabbi Raskin must be willing to respect what exists in Jamaica. The way to the future is to gently bring in the traditions of the past and at the same time embrace the idiosyncrasies of the Jamaican people.”

Food-Talk---Eller-logo

The Silver Platter has it all: gorgeous photography, oodles of useful tips and, more importantly, incredible recipes that you will find yourself making again and again.

Emmer-052915-History

It may be that seeking to connect with the past is rooted in the impermanence and impersonality of modern life.

It is very hard to build a healthy marriage when you do not have good role models.

My best book is one that hasn’t been published yet.

We tend to justify and idealize this division with pride attributing these tendencies as demonstrating a higher level of kedushah.

Everyone in the kehilla can get involved, she added, and mothers can network with each other.

On her first ever trip to Israel last week, popular radio talk-show personality and clinical psychologist Dr. Joy Browne, whose spirited broadcasts regularly attract millions of listeners across North America, paid a visit to OneFamily headquarters in Jerusalem in order to learn more about the physical and emotional challenges faced by victims of terror in […]

With the famous Touro Synagogue, a variety of mansions, each with its own distinct personality, as well as the beautiful coast, Rhode Island makes for an excellent vacation spot.

To avoid all this waste and unnecessary anxiety, let’s break the task down step by step and tackle each one at a time.

While there are those who insist they need full-color photos to be truly entranced by a recipe, I suggest you get over that particular requirement because the written word here will draw you in and cause you to salivate as you peruse the recipes scattered throughout The Well-Spiced Life (Israel Book Shop).

For those who couldn’t go off base, a personal parcel was priceless in its ability to convey a feeling of home.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/chronicles-of-crises/chronicles-of-crises-in-our-communities-168/2012/08/30/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: