How much credence should a Torah Jew give to current medical theories in the field of health and proper nutrition?
As much as common sense requires. That’s all we can say. If it’s something that one man has recently propounded, and it’s not accepted by the body of medical men, so why should you bother? But if it’s already so widely accepted, that it has become sensible to follow the advice, then you should do it.
For example, smoking. Today, more or less, most knowledgeable people say that smoking is dangerous to the health. Therefore, it’s common sense today. And if a person persists in smoking, so he is transgressing what the Torah says, and therefore he is guilty. There’s no question that a person who smokes today is guilty.
Only that there are some ignorant people who don’t understand these things. And they think that what their father did, holds forever. And because their father didn’t know about germs, they think they could also drink from a dirty cup. There are people like that. They’ll drink from a public drinking cup because their father also did! And they think, “My father also smoked; why not?” And the fact that this father might have died from smoking, that doesn’t occur to them. Well, he’s just an ignoramus. But those people who have some intelligence are required to take into account the accepted medical opinions of the time.
TAPE # 13 (June 1973)