Rav Ovadiah Yosef Strongly Criticizes Smoking, Calls for Practice of Chassanim Giving Out Cigs to Be Halted, Bochurim Rebuked


chacham-ovadiah-yosefChacham Ovadia Yosef shlit”a, head of the Shas party’s Moetzet Chachmei HaTorah, in his weekly shiur, called on parents and rabbeim to act to prevent smoking among bochurim, a phenomenon which he referred to as “a breach which must be thwarted.”

Speaking during his weekly shiur on Motzoei Shabbos, Chacham Ovadiah said that “if a person sees his son smoking a cigarette, he should rebuke at him and defend him and stop him from doing it… A rosh yeshiva who has a meeting and sees his talmid smoking should slap him in the face. What are you smoking for?”

Chacham Ovadia, who spoke during the shiur about the halachos of smoking during Yom Tov, stressed that dealing with the issue does not make it legitimate.

“It’s very bad. Whoever can quit – blessed be he,” he added. “It damages a person’s body… puts smoke inside his lungs, chas veshalom, it stupefies the lungs, the lungs can’t operate. There are people who die of this thing… Some rabbonim have written that it’s strictly assur.”

Chachacm Ovadiah went on to criticize the practice of bochurim to hand out cigarettes to friends after getting engaged. “This is foolish. Why are you getting used to cigarettes? It starts with one cigarette, and then they get used to it. You want to give them gifts? Hand out candy.”

Addressing people’s addiction to smoking, Chacham Ovadiah said, “On Shabbos, they keep on looking at the stars to see the three stars come out – tzeis hakochavim – so that they can smoke cigarettes again. And there are those who hide a cigarette at the shul and tell the gabbai, ‘After Havdala, let me smoke immediately.’ Poor things. They’ve gotten used to it.”

So how does one quit? “Stop smoking one cigarette every day,” Chacham Yosef recommended. “How many cigarettes do you smoke? Thirty a day? Tomorrow have 29, the day after tomorrow 28. When you only reach 10 – is 10 difficult? Cut every cigarette in half. You had 10 – now you have 20.”

Chacham Ovadiah also spurned Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman’s proposal for a new tax on cigarettes, saying, “Now the health minister proposes making another shekel for every pack of cigarettes to get people to abstain. That’s a lie. What will this give? Whoever pays 20 shekels will add one more shekel – so what? It won’t do any good or bad.”

Rav Yosef also took advantage of the lesson to convey a message to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. “There used to be a king, the king of Persia, who was very sick,” he said. “I hope it happens soon to the president of Persia.”

{Yair Alpert-Matzav.com Israel}


  1. Bravo Chacham Ovadiah! Someone who gives cigarettes to another person, especially young bochurim, should be labelled a ratzeach and put into cherem. Yidden should be barred from selling cigarettes to other Yidden. Yeshivas should crack down on the benevolent entrepreneurs who shlep down south, buy cigarettes at cut rate prices and then sell them for a quarter each in the dorm. (There’s a plastic container full of cigarettes in one of the L…. dorms. Anyone, even 10 year olds, can go into the dorm, put a quarter into the container, and take a cigarette. The yeshiva stopped the seller a number of times, but he, or one of his cronies, reopened a few weeks later in a different area of the dorm.)
    Also, I can’t understand how someone can stand in shul davening for his life on Yom Kippur, cry out “chasmeinu bsefer chaim tovim” at ne’ilah, and then go out five minutes later and light up a cigarette. It makes no sense whatsoever.

  2. In Pittsburgh there is a Rov, Rabbi Swift who has been saying for a few years that it is not healthy. He insisted that his Mispallelim quit.

  3. Dear Staff,
    May Hashem bless your work.
    I recently came across the following article —> http://matzav.com/rav-ovadiah-yosef-strongly-criticizes-smoking-calls-for-practice-of-chassanim-giving-out-cigs-to-be-halted-bochurim-rebuked/
    I thought it was a very important article since It’s been a few days since I have been looking for the opinion of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef of blessed memory on the issue of cigarette smoking.
    Could you please help me find this same article in Hebrew? it would help some of my friends very much.
    Thank you!