U'shmartem es nafshosaichem

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  • #618572

    flatbusher
    Participant

    The Torah tells us to take care of our bodies yet so many frum people are overweight and smoke, etc. So, how do you interpret this posuk and what do you do to fulfill that mitzvah?

    #1188083

    Meno
    Participant

    Maybe they fulfill the posuk by trying to stop smoking and trying to eat more healthy/exercise.

    #1188084

    Abba_S
    Participant

    Look both ways before crossing the street.

    #1188085

    Little Froggie
    Participant

    Is this a pasuk? If yes, could you please tell me where it is?

    #1188086

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    I don’t smoke – I eat chocolate instead.

    #1188087

    yeshivishe kup
    Participant

    being overweight doesnt necessarily mean youre unhealthy. but smoking is actually going to hurt you. there are various teshuvas from rav moshe and rav elyashiv that breach this subject. when reading them though, one has to remember that they were written about 40 years ago…

    #1188088

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Taking care of one’s emotional health/psychological well-being is more important than taking care of one’s physical health. Of course, ideally one should be able to do both, but most people do find that to some extent they have to choose between one and the other. Most people are not “holding by” living a completely healthy lifestyle and it would break them emotionally to try to be “perfect” in this area.

    For example, I know of a lady who was suffering from depression, and she dealt with it by smoking.

    You never know what choices other people are making, and we have an obligation to judge them favorably, just as we do in other areas. Maybe the guy you see smoking just got out of rehab and is trying not to have a relapse.

    #1188089

    Health
    Participant

    YK -“being overweight doesnt necessarily mean youre unhealthy.”

    Sure it does! I’m overweight, but I don’t smoke!

    Stop being in denial!

    #1188090

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    By not committing suicide. For some people, that is enough of a challenge.

    #1188091

    benignuman
    Participant

    Whether or not that is the correct source for the idea of avoiding danger (the Rambam cites hiShomer l’cha u’shmor nafshecha), everyone agree that there is a mitzvah to avoid danger.

    However this mitzvah is not understood as a mitzvah to be fit and healthy in a general sense (or as you put “take care of our bodies”) but a mitzvah to avoid life-threatening danger. This means avoiding an activity or a situation where there is high chance of losing one’s life (i.e. >50%). Eating a hot dog, or smoking one cigarette are not activities that create a high chance of losing ones life and are therefore not prohibited. See Igros Moshe V.7 Choshen Mishpat 2:76.

    #1188092

    Abba_S
    Participant

    flatbusher – The Pasuk refers to Guarding your body from Danger. Smoking and overeating may kill you after years of doing it but getting hit by a car can kill you instantly, so you can fulfill the pasuk by crossing at the crosswalk with a green light and looking both ways.

    The vast majority of Jews are not smokers so they don’t fulfill it by not smoking. Otherwise everyone should get credit for not eating ham. As far as excising in order to combat overweight, that too is dangerous look at all the medical emergencies during marathon races. Being overweight causes the heart to work harder resulting in heart problems. So Rav Moshe answer concerning smoking, of G-d watches out for the fool applies to overweight too.

    Other examples of fulfilling this pasuk are wearing a seat belt while driving, not speeding, not talking on the phone while driving.

    #1188093

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    The Chofetz Chaim said that it’s assur to smoke (I believe it’s in “Zechor L’Miriam). He gives two reasons: 1. health & 2. bitul Torah (in those days it took at least half an hour to roll the cigars).

    And that was way before the surgeon general came out against it.

    But, I still don’t think it’s “assur” the way that being mechalel Shabbos is assur. And he doesn’t bring it down in a halacha sefer like the Mishna Berurah.

    #1188094

    Joseph
    Participant

    benig, would eating three hot dogs and buns two nights a week and pizza, fries and soda two other nights each week violate the mitzvah?

    #1188095

    benignuman
    Participant

    Joseph,

    I don’t think so. You can eat that sort of diet and live for decades. Read the teshuva I cited. Rav Moshe specifically discusses unhealthy eating and says that it does not violate the issur.

    #1188099

    Joseph
    Participant

    Cut it out!

    #1188100

    golfer
    Participant

    LF, I don’t think there’s a pasuk anywhere with the words the OP used in his title. I think he was trying to quote the pasuk from Va’eschanan,

    “V’Nishmartem me’od le’nafshoseichem…”

    In the context of that pasuk, the words are not instructing to watch our physical bodies.

    Can someone explain how we came to use these words to learn that we have to stay safe / stay healthy?

    And can flatbusher tell us what he was quoting?

    #1188101

    Meno
    Participant

    “You can eat that sort of diet and live for decades.”

    You can smoke 2 packs a day and live for decades.

    You can cross the street without ever looking both ways and live for decades.

    You can play Russian Roulette every Monday and Thursday and live for decades.

    #1188102

    benignuman
    Participant

    Meno,

    Let me rephrase. Most people who maintain that sort of diet will live for decades.

    If you play Russian Roulette every Monday and Thursday you will most likely die before the end of the month. Furthermore, Russian Roulette, unlike eating pizza and hot dogs, is not a normal activity enjoyed on a regular basis by a large bulk of the population.

    #1188103

    benignuman
    Participant

    golfer,

    I believe DaasYochid quoted a Levush that used that posuk that way. As I wrote above, the Rambam learns the source of the issur of avoiding a sakanah is from a different posuk. Also, at least according to Rav Moshe, there is a commandment to stay safe, but not a commandment to stay healthy.

    #1188104

    golfer
    Participant

    Thank you, benign!

    Appreciate the clarification.

    #1188105

    Health
    Participant

    benignuman -“Rav Moshe specifically discusses unhealthy eating and says that it does not violate the issur.”

    Don’t come here – to promote a lot of Frum people who can’t control themselves!

    It’s disgusting that many people smoke and/or overeat! And I’m also guilty in being overweight, but I don’t defend my loss of control!

    Btw, it’s Osser to live such a lifestyle, not from the topic discussed here! If you really think it’s okay, then I’ll post here the Issur!

    But I think that you’re – just defending yourself!

    #1188106

    Abba_S
    Participant

    I am not sure I understand this when referring to Russian Roulette are you referring to a gun with a single bullet place against your head or just walking blindly into traffic.

    Also if you are saying it is prohibited to overeat, when does the prohibition take effect at the first bite or after he is full. If it’s at the first bite is he suppose to starve, a starvation diet is not healthy. People die of starvation. If it’s when he is full how do witnesses know when he is full, if he himself doesn’t realize it. Maybe his weight problem is caused by a chemical imbalance.

    #1188107

    benignuman
    Participant

    Health,

    I am not promoting smoking or overeating. I am not even saying they are “okay.” Not everything that is a poor lifechoice is an issur. Rav Moshe says that people should eat healthy and not smoke, but he holds that eating unhealthy foods and smoking are not a violation of the mitzvah of hishomer l’cha u’shmor nafshecha.

    I have seen some rabbonim argue that Rav Moshe would agree that smoking is assur today because the chances of it causing a smoker’s death is over 50% (at the time Rav Moshe wrote the percentage was believed to be much lower, about 14%). And that may be correct for being a regular smoker. But the occasional cigarette (or cigar, or pipe) is mutar (even if inadvisable).

    #1188108

    Health
    Participant

    benignuman -“Health,

    I am not promoting smoking or overeating. I am not even saying they are “okay.”…”

    Now this last post I agree with; but your previous posts gave the wrong impression!

    #1188109

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Beningnuman – “I have seen some rabbonim argue that Rav Moshe would agree that smoking is assur today because the chances of it causing a smoker’s death is over 50%”

    I think this statement requires clarification. It is pretty unusual(if not unheard of) for someone to drop dead from smoking. What you probably mean is that it causes people to die at a younger age than they would have otherwise in 50% of cases. But I would think that that would put it in a very category than something dangerous that could cause you to die on the spot. There is a big difference between doing something that can cause you to lose your life on the spot and doing something that might lead to your getting sick and being nifter at the age of 70 or 80 instead of 90 (which is what I think happens to most people who smoke).

    #1188110

    Abba_S
    Participant

    Can you also fulfill this Mitzvah by having children who will take care of you in your old age? Smoking may kill you but a decrease in the mortality rate due to glorifying the single lifestyle will kill the Jewish People.

    #1188111

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Abba_S : I find your comments insensitive and offensive as well as iirrelevant. No one glorifies the single lifestyle, but if someone can’t have children, then they have to be able to accept that and find meaning in life in other ways, and that is a very insensitive comment.

    #1188112

    benignuman
    Participant

    Lilmod,

    That is a fine distinction, and you might even be correct that Rav Moshe would hold that smoking would not be assur for that reason. But Rav Moshe is not clear on whether length of time before the activity causes death, by itself, could make something mutar. Therefore some have argued that Rav Moshe basis for being matir is primarily based on the risk of smoking being the ultimate cause of death being less than 50%.

    #1188113

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Benignuman – just want to make it clear that I was not arguing about the halacha. I was just pointing out that I felt that that sentence had to be clarified. I don’t know the statistics, but it seems to me that most people who smoke do not die from smoking before the age of around 70 which is considered a normal life span, so if one is going to say that 50% of people who smoke die from smoking it has to be clarified that what you mean is that they lose a few years of their life (in most cases). If that is the case, it may not be in such a different category from any other unhealthy activity (as opposed to a dangerous activity).

    Just to be clear, I am not recommending that anyone smoke! Just being “medayek” in the loshon.

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