web analytics
May 26, 2015 / 8 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Going Up In Smoke

Walking along a Brooklyn street recently, I saw a scene that could very well be used in a dictionary to explain the word nachas. A young father, who appeared to be in his later 20’s, was pushing a stroller, occupied by a wide-eyed baby who looked about 8 months old. Beside him walked a toddler, who judging by his long golden curls was about 2½. On the father’s other side was a little girl who looked under four.

It doesn’t get better than this I thought – until I saw him lift his hand to his mouth and he took a puff out of a cigarette.

What I felt could best be described as looking down at a peaceful pastoral landscape – a lush green countryside, lazy cows peacefully grazing, when all of a sudden, a warplane whirls into view.

How sad that this young father had taken up a nasty addicting habit – probably in his yeshiva days – and was ruthlessly controlled by it, to his and his young family’s detriment. I have no doubt he had tied to quit. Once his responsibilities as a husband and father became a part of who he is – and being aware of the health risks of smoking – I am sure he had tried a number of times to free himself of this life-threatening habit. It is impossible, in this day and age not to be aware of how deadly smoking is. Besides cancer and lung disease, smokers in their 30’s are five times as likely to get a heart attack as those their age who don’t smoke. Appearing to be a loving, involved father to his beautiful children, I know that he would like to be around to escort them to the chupah and be a part of their children’s lives. But emancipating himself from nicotine was a battle he had fought unsuccessfully.

Now there are some misguided folk who would argue that there are no guarantees in life and will point out that everything is m’hashamayim (decreed in heaven) and if one is fated to live a long or short life, it is out of one’s hands and therefore any effort to try to elongate life is not necessary. They gleefully point out people in their 90’s who are going strong – despite having been chain smokers for over 70 years. Likewise we all know people who routinely exercised, watched their weight, never smoked and nonetheless died of disease at a young age. While our lives are in G-d’s hands, the Torah does admonish us to watch over ourselves. You just can’t jaywalk across a 10-lane highway and say that if it’s bashert (meant) for you to die – than you will.

Hashem wants us to do what we possibly can to extend the days of our lives. That is why we are allowed to desecrate Shabbat and the laws of kashrus if it doing so increases the odds of survival.

That is why I cannot understand why the past few generations of rabbinical leaders have not declared cigarette-smoking treif.

When it became clear without a shadow of doubt that smoking is extremely dangerous to one’s health, a rabbinic decree should have been issued making smoking as forbidden as eating pig meat or shellfish.

Allowances perhaps could be have been made to those older, long-term smokers who were already heavily addicted to nicotine to continue if they – despite all their efforts – could not quit. These would unfortunately include teachers, rabbanim, educators and other role models who unfortunately have been poor role models for their impressionable students.

But once smoking was halachically banned, upcoming generations, especially yeshiva bachurim, would no sooner pick up a cigarette than they would a ham sandwich. It would be disgusting to them and not even be a temptation. And the current crop of rebbeim and teachers would themselves be non-smokers.

Many young people view smoking as a means to look “cool” or they puff away to rid themselves of stress. They start smoking as teenagers. But if today’s young shomer Shabbos smokers had been raised knowing smoking was not kosher – if they were taught to consider smoking as a chillul Hashem – than they would never start in the first place. And they would not end up as young fathers taking their little ones for a stroll out on the avenue, cigarette in hand, leaving a trail of smoke for the Angel of Death to follow.

About the Author:


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 “Going Up In Smoke”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
A rare, 1000 year old ketubah written in Aramaic in the town of Tzur by the scribe Yosef HaKohen son of Yaakov HaKoen.
Rare 1,000 Yr Old Ketubah on Exhibit in Jerusalem
Latest Sections Stories
Teens-Twenties-logo

Girls don’t usually learn Gemara. Everyone knows that.

Lewis-052215-Jewish-Soldiers-logo

Mordechai and his men shared a strong mutual loyalty.

Reidel-052215

“Can I wear tefillin in the bathroom?” That was the question US Private Nuchim Lebensohn wrote to Mike Tress, president of the Agudath Israel Youth Council, in a letter dated November 18, 1942. Lebensohn was not your typical young American GI. Polish by birth, he was forty-three years old and married when he was drafted […]

To what extent is your child displaying defiance?

This therapist kept focusing on how “I could do better,” never on how we could make the marriage work.

Mistrust that has lingered after the fiasco in Ferguson, Missouri, has edged the issue forward.

“The observance of a kosher diet is a key tenet of Judaism, and one which no state has the right to deny,” said Nathan Diament, executive director for public policy of the Orthodox Union.

Two weeks of intense learning in the classroom about Israel culminated with Yom Ha’Atzmaut. Students attended sessions with their teachers and learned about history, culture, military power, advocacy, slang, cooking, and more.

The nations of the world left the vessel to sit rotting in the water during one of the coldest winters in decades and with its starving and freezing passengers abandoned.

Rabbi Yisroel Edelman, the synagogue’s spiritual leader, declared, “The Young Israel of Deerfield Beach is looking forward to our partnership with the OU. The impact the OU has brought to Jewish communities throughout the country through its outreach and educational resources is enormous and we anticipate the same for our community in Deerfield Beach as well.”

Our goal here is to offer you recipes that you can make on Yom Tov with ingredients you might just have in the house. Enjoy and chag sameach!

More Articles from Cheryl Kupfer
Kupfer-On-Our-Own-NEW

The message being conveyed is that without “flour,” without the means to support oneself and one’s family, one’s focus on Torah will be impeded by worry.

Kupfer-112114

Divorce from a vindictive, cruel spouse can be a lifelong nightmare when there are offspring.

Not knowing any better, I assumed that Molly and her mother must be voracious readers.

Unpleasant happenings are quickly discarded if they do not affect us directly.

I have always insisted that everything that happens to anyone or anything is min Shamayim.

It is so hurtful to heighten people’s sense of inadequacy and guilt in a matzav that is already horrendous and difficult to bear.

Make no mistake: in the wrong hands cars are weapons of mass destruction.

Where once divorce in heimische communities was relatively uncommon, nowadays every family has a son, daughter, sibling cousin who is divorced – sometimes twice or even three times!

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/going-up-in-smoke/2004/11/03/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: