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VIDEO: Rav Shmuel Kaminetzky Speaks Against Smoking

no smoking.jpgRav Shmuel Kaminetzky Shlita (Rosh Yeshiva Philadelphia) recently spoke harshly against smoking in a video recording. He pleads with people NOT to start. Click HERE to watch the 3 minute video. 

46 Responses

  1. If only every bochur who learns through a “Reb Elchonon” on any sugya would also try to emulate him-he stopped smoking COLD-TURKEY when informed (Long before they knew what we know now about the dangers of smoking) that smoking can potentially cause significantly serious health concerns and risks. It is harmful when Roshei Yeshivos of yesterday and today did and still do smoke. Today’s Bochrim seem to be too immature to reason with themselves not to start this terrible habit. Oh, and yes, remind me NOT to bring up the “S” word. Too late! SHIDDUCHIM!!!!

  2. There isn’t 1 Gadol who writes any Teshuvah about smoking that suggests in any way that it is mutar to START. The only question is whether it is Mutar to CONTINUE, and even then it is only B’Dochek that one may continue and questionable at that. Please Rabbosai, Don’t start! And if you were foolish enough to start, Please STOP!

  3. I can not watch the video so I don’t know what he says there however the Rosh Hayeshiva Shlit”a once told me that he used to be a heavy smoker (a very long time ago) and that he once heard a shmooz from the great mashgiach Harav Chatzkel ZT”L who said then that to prove that people do not have control of themselves is with smoking. Once a person starts he can’t stop. When the Rosh Hayeshiva Shlit”a heard that, he did not want to be a person that is considered not having control of himself and he stopped then and there (cold turkey) and never took another cigarette. Let us all learn from the ways of our Gedolim.

  4. can not watch the video so I don’t know what he says there however the Rosh Hayeshiva Shlit”a once told me that he used to be a heavy smoker (a very long time ago) and that he once heard a shmooz from the great mashgiach Harav Chatzkel ZT”L who said then that to prove that people do not have control of themselves is with smoking. Once a person starts he can’t stop.

    That’s obviously not a factual statement. Of course people can stop. People are just not willing to put forth the effort to stop, because it’s not easy. I smoked a pack a day for 10 years and stopped cold turkey. People can stop if they are willing to undergo some discomfort. And really, in the larger scheme of things, what’s some discomfort when it comes to your life?

  5. YW – Could you somehow post this video on the site. Many of us who have filters that (B’H) block Google Video. Thanks!

  6. While I strongly commend what Reb Shmuel said,it barely scratches the surface of the problem.
    All yeshivas admit boys who are smokers,yeshivas allow rebbeim who are smokers to teach,second hand smoke ruins the health of innocent victims
    People smoke on yom tov using a heter of the Aruch Hashulchan who actually extols the virtues of smoking.
    This will not stop until the gedolim and chassidishe rebbes firmly ban smoking and smokers.
    My third year mesivtah rebbe lost a lung due to smoking himself into lung cancer.
    Guess what.he continued to smoke until he was niftar.
    Some role model.

  7. Smoking is a bachur’s advertisement that he doesn’t give a wit about halocha, hashkofah, his health or the health of his future wife and kids. The surgeon general paskened 40 years ago. Only a fool would question if its mutar to smoke.

  8. I don’t understand the story either, clarification is needed. This guys wife got sick in elul she died before pesach and the whole time her husband didn’t talk to her??????
    he wont talk to her sisters either?
    and this takes up one minute of a 2:49 minute video about not smoking?

  9. #11: I thought it was the P’nei Yehoshua who discussed smoking as advantageous to one’s digestive health – does anyone have a cite to where the issue is discussed by either or both authorities?

  10. Pizza Pizza, it is not so simple. Smoking is terrible, but is different then most things that are assur since it is physically addicting and very hard to stop.

    You can blame someone for starting, but once addicted, it is very difficult. I wonder if the nicotine gum has a heksher. If not, there is also a nicotine patch that is supposed to help people stop their smoking.

  11. I’m told that R’ Arye Finkel, shlita, still has the rest of the pack of cigarettes he was in the middle of smoking the day his father was niftar from lung cancer, R”L. May Hashem give strength to all non-smokers not to start and to all smokers to stop. In England it is now illegal to smoke in a public place (including shuls and batei midrashim) and anyone caught smoking in them is subject to a fine, and if the owner of the place is subject to a very heavy fine if he fails to enforced the ban in his institution.

  12. lets face it we have a serious smoking problem with our young b’nai torah- all ages, from sixth grade up
    only zero tolerance can help
    also, why do we protect the smoking shidduch age bochurim?
    who are we really protecting and helping?
    if we are a little more honest with ourselves and each other you will see how quickly the problem will get resolved!

  13. it only starts with 1
    also do you realize what kind of money kids are walking around with in their pockets?
    we need to be much more in touch with reality!

  14. I can’t access the video either due to filters.I wonder if Rav Shmuel’s shlita point was that the man had minimal contact with his wife due to requirements that he not smoke around her(e.g. oxygen tank, hospital regulations)?

  15. My daughters (the ones old enough to understand) know that I will not allow a shidduch with a smoker b/c their health will also be compromised

    My Sons (the ones old enough to understand) know that I will not assist them in the shidduch scene if they smoke b/c the health of the young lady would be compromised.

  16. I believe the Rosh Yeshiva intended to say that the man didn’t speak to his wife’s sisters since then. (they were the ones that introduced the wife to cigarettes.)


  17. Unfortunately, many people begin smoking on Purim, when there must be some heter I never learned to do whatever you want, halacha can be put on hold for the day, in order to fulfill the most important “halacha” of simchas purim.

    IMHO, I think that rabbanim/rabbeim should not allow such dangerous life-altering behavior to take place at their houses, and if that means not drinking on Purim so they’re able to be alert and stop their students from smoking those first cigarettes, then so be it.

  18. Cigarettes are NOT kosher!
    People used to smoke a pipe or a cigar,but not cigarettes (Jewish people,I knew). They were not so bad because they never stayed lit. So you take a few puffs and have to light up again,which takes effort. Cigarettes,once lit,burn till they are burnt up,even if not smoking. The second-hand smoke is very uncomfortable and unhealthy for everyone. Why not take a spray can of any spray,or insect spray,and spray it in the face of a person? It’s just as bad to spray smoke into people’s faces.

  19. mdlevine, in that case would you stop your son(s) from getting married? Would you recommend to any potential shidduch to not marry your son(s) for that reason?

  20. Abi meleibt – why are you so sure that Rav Shmuel won’t mind if this is posted on Google video?

    Also, why doesn’t YW post it in a way that noone has to be directed there?

    As for those people won’t let their daughters go out with smokers – I hate to break it to you, but the shidduch scene is bad enough, trust me – you are just making it harder for yourself……….

    Editors Note: YW could not host this video on our website due to technical issues.

  21. Editor: But is there another option other than sending people to a place which you refer to as “v’hamivin yavin”?

  22. I will tell you where this video most surely comes from.

    In the June 9. 2006 edition of Yated Ne’eman there was a short write up about a CD on smoking, called “Who Wants Life”. The CD features powerful admonitions from Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky, and the Bostoner Rebbe. It continues with Dr. Aaron Allen (who who works daily with lung cancer smokers near death) vividly describing the dangers of smoking using graphic visual aids. It was shown to the Moetzes, and Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zweibel of the Agudath Israel of America writes, “The members of the Moetzes were duly impressed by this video which they feel could be put to constructive use in the yeshivos and day schools.” The CD was shown at a recent Torah Umesorah Convention to a large responsive gathering of Rabbonim and Menahalim. The CD (which to my knowledge is not available on any website – except obviously for this excerpt of Reb Shmuel), is produced by the non-profit Amod Foundation dedicated to the health and welfare of Klal Yisroel. I ordered one myself and found it very worthtwhile and impressive and that is why I am telling you about this. I got the CD by calling Rabbi Dovid Cohen at 617-783-5533 and sending him ten dollars to 101 Washington Street, Brighton, MA 02135. I don’t know how else you’d find out about this CD.

  23. As one person I know put it, smoking isn’t technically assur min HaTorah, but isn’t kind of a slap in the face to G-d if you stand outside of a shul smoking and then you walk in and in your shemonei esrei you say refaenu?

  24. I B”H went to a Yeshiva with a zero tolerance for smoking (as well as drugs and alcohol) and my Rosh Yeshiva made it very clear the smoking is absolutely assur. The fact that people use purim as an excuse to start is absolutely disgusting. IT means they don’t know halacha, there is not heter by any Rav anywhere that it is mutter to smoke on Purim.

  25. everybody laughed when they instituted the FREEZER in Lakewood, but since they made Bochurim sign, it worked, we should make Bochurim or their parents sign a no smoking OR ELSE I AM OUT form, it should work too

  26. i would like to hear him speak out against stealing about rhe way we drive and treat each other, then we will be heraing less about all these accidents and tzores

  27. It is kind of interesting to see how everybody becomes so frum and worried about a “chashah” issur when it comes to smoking. There are so many other things peolple do daily which are far more dangerous for the health of our soul then smoking is to our body!!

    Are we all so careful to be kovaya ittim evry single day?

    Are we careful to say Krias Shema in the proper time both times each day? If someone would ask me to pick a problem bochurim have today, I would say Z’man Krias Shema is a big one. Far worse then smoking. It is an undisputed Mitzvah D’oraissah!!

    And what about using every city eiruv on shabbos which relies on dozenz of Daas Yochid’s all put together which according to most poskim cannot be relied upon. (Just remember the trick, don’t ask your rov or rebbi if you SHOULD use it. The most you could do is explain how not using it will kill your Shabbos!! That way you might get a heter. But most people just do not ask!)
    Are we as careful as we should be with kashrus? Brachos? The list goes on and on.

    And we wont even talk about indulging ourselves to taavos oilom hazeh, which in effect leaves us wide open to the terrible Yetzer Horah!!

    So why is everybody picking on “Bachurim” smoking? Is it really because of the Issur? Or the video?

    Or is it because of our own Nigeos? Is it because of our own personalities and disliking to smoking? Are we just using these videos as an excuse of venting our frustrations?

    By the way, I am not a smoker. And I hate smoking!! But I also do not have the nisoyon to smoke. I just feel we must realize where the anti-smoking campain comes frum. Fruma cheshboinos or stam a feeling and personality!!

  28. I just wanted to point out that GOM (# 24) is correct in his assumption. I have heard this story from the Rosh Yeshiva Shlit”a numerous times over the past couple of years and he had said that the husband had refused to talk to his sisters in-law and did not metion anything to the effect that he did not speak to his wife

  29. Regarding shidduchim, I think that boys must be honest about their smoking habits. When I dated my chosson, he lied and told me he didnt smoke. Now I am married with a child and he is still smoking a pack a day. It is unfair when boys don’t tell the whole truth and subject their wives to a lifetime of dealing with the odors and other inconveniences of smoking.

  30. Not disputing the health compromise of smoking, but if there is an assumption that this habit begins in teenage years, and there is a further assumption that the addiction starts due to ‘peer pressure’ or the ‘need to be cool’, can we all brainstorm other ways for boys/girls to be cool/ fit in? Excersize, such as baseball, basketball, etc serve both as a positive affect on the body as well as ‘needing to be cool’ by being a good athlete/sport. (Don’t a good number of teenagers(and even adults) cheer (secretly or not)a baseball player about to hit his 500th homer? Can anyone come up and/or implement good alternatives that would satisfy the ‘cool’ aspect without compromising their health?

  31. Anonymous
    While you are 100% correct that everyone needs to be kovaya ittim and fulfill all the other mitzvos with all of thier souls and obviously these go without say we don’t need a rosh yeshiva to make a video about these mitzvos. These are the basics that every yid learns in the home and in Yeshiva.
    We obviously do need a Rosh Yeshiva to make a young man like yourself understand that HKB’H is as concerned with your health as with your Krias Shema.

  32. 38: I would urge your husband to, at the very least, not smoke in the house. This is necessary to help ensure the health of you and your child. If your husband is interested in quitting, there are many good programs and products that have proven successful for many people. Having been affected personally by the ravages of lung cancer (on a non-smoker, noch besser), I can assure you that nothing is worth increasing one’s risk of getting that disease. If it would help, a bikur cholim visit to Sloan Kettering or another cancer center may have a positive effect.

  33. In theory a parent that says no smoker for my daughter etc. is a great stance but in practice it never works. You get “red” an “amazing” shidduch and then you get the kid to promise to stop which he does for a couple months and then he starts again
    (just ask my shver)

    been there done that

  34. Rivky (My apologies but I don’t know your last name so take it as Mrs. X),

    I know many people that are unhappy with the one they chose to marry but this the first time I’ve seen someone admit it in public.

  35. Ploiderer1 (44): Mrs. X did not say she is unhappy with the one she chose to marry, she is unhappy with his smoking. Let’s not turn this into something bigger than it actually is.

  36. edc (posts 23 and 28) – I am extremely concerned with the health of my sons. my oldest son is not yet Bar Mitzvah – I am telling him NOW (in fact I told him this again about 1/2 before logging on). If I wait until he goes to the higher elementary grades or highschool it could be too late. let him hear and hopefully absorb the messsage now.

    regarding stopping a shidduch – I clearly said that I would not help them. you pose an interesting question. I would make sure that the girl and her parents are aware of the smoking issue and the potential dangers to their daughter from smoking. So I guess the answer to you question is: I love my sons. Now, just because they are biological and his intended is not, why should my love for some little Yiddisha girl running around, or perhaps being tucked in lovingly by her parent(s) as I type these words be any less than the love I have for my son.

    Post 38 – you make my point! they do subject their wifes to a lifetime of… they also potentially subject their wives to early widowhood and their children to potentially becoming young orphans.

    regarding post 29: making it harder??? great attitude, maybe you should not rule out drug addicts (dealers make big money), alcoholics, boys with known violent behavior… make it really easy on yourself – why stick with only the Frum boys or even the Jewish boys?

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