The Matzav Shmoooze: The Truth About Smoking


smokingDear Matzav,

In response to this letter on Matzav: I’m a head and neck, ear nose and throat surgeon. I get paid to cut out peoples tongues and throats when they get cancer. Besides the heart attacks that smoking causes, there is COPD, where people can not breathe. Lung disease, artery disease. I tell people ALL DAY LONG do not smoke -ever – and that the only good cigarrette is the one you DO NOT SMOKE AND THROW AWAY. I have patients who tell me if they knew at a young age what they know now they would never have picked up smoking. It is not worth it. You have to be crazy to smoke in todays age = it is reality!

Yes it is true = we have to eat properly, sleep properly, excercise. It IS a mitzva to take care of your health and it is an aveirah to put your life in potential danger. OTOH the yetzer hara puts obstacles in peoples lives – to induce them to get sick so they have to run from doctor to doctor =or worse – so they would learn less Torah and do less mitzvos!

I dont want such business (and I see plenty of head and neck cancer cases) and would rather people live long and happy lives! (So I can sit in beis medresh and learn!)

Daven for all the cholei amo Yisroel and hope not be one of them!

Pesach Ledereich, MD
Clifton NJ

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  1. It’s called common sense. It’s amazing how people are willing to entertain that certain things which are assur should be allowed as an outlet while they are adamant about others never being allowed. If your going to allow outlets that are assur why allow the one that will kill the bochrim and physically damage those around them? Why not allow movies or mixed beaches? Both of those don’t harm others and by the beach you”ll at least get exercise and there is a lifeguard. If you won’t allow those two examples don’t allow smoking. Smoking is worse.

  2. That is more like it! All those fools who think that they know better should spend a few hours on the oncology wards or ICU where most of the ventilated patients were smokers or exposed to second-hand smoke. Smoking KILLS, no ifs, ands, or butts! (No pun intended.) It is time once and for all to stop glamorizing or enabling smoking by anyone.

  3. Thank you doctor for posting this!
    95% of the comments demonstrated opposition to the former ridiculous post; so at least it sounds like most people have basic sense.
    But, for these far between individuals & for the writer himself & for those who subconsciously might be thinking that “it’s not that bad”, it was most beneficial to have heard from a doctor, who observes first hand the damage that smoking does.
    Do you really care about our youth??
    Read them this article. Tell them how you love them & care about them & never want them to have to go through anything like this doctor deals with r”l.

  4. All nice and true but there are equal sicknesses to cancer that smoking may help people stay away from…I know it’s hard to believe but it is fact…
    A yeshiva bochur under enormous stress needs an outlet. Mental health is important. You can say change the system and have more gym etc. Yeshivos don’t and won’t…

  5. I am a smoker. If you are a non smoker you just won’t get it. You just cannot understand it. Above will definitely not getany smoker to stop.

  6. I wholeheartedly agree with Dr. Ledereich. As a radiologist, I see hundreds of smoking related cancers, heart disease, and people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). But it is not just a medical reality that smoking is harmful, it is a clear halachic issue. I invite people to read my article on the halachic requirement of pursuing a “healthy lifestyle” in the Jewish Observer from November, 2007 ( see if you are convinced.

  7. Baruch HaShem! How refrehing that there are doctors-and mentchen-like you.
    May you continue to be a good shaliach for HaKadosh Baruch Hu.

  8. quoting R’ Avigdor zt”l,
    “There is a minhag, among Yeshiva Bochurim, when they become chassanim, they give out poison to their friends. And to their real close friends, they give a whole pack of poison!”