Rav Avigdor Miller on The Sin of Smoking



Is it against the Torah to start smoking?


The Alter of Slabodka was once asked, what’s the first mitzvah of the Torah?  So he said – he said it in litvishNebuk dur nisht – “Don’t be a fool.” That’s the first commandment of the Torah – don’t be a fool.  Anybody who’s a fool is a choiteh.  

If a person starts fooling around with drugs, he’s a sinner – a very big choteih. So you’ll say what did he do wrong? Where does it say that drugs are ossur? It’s a glatt kosher drug; he’s not eating treif. What of it? 

What of it?! It’s a glatt kosher funeral.  A man jumps off a roof and he says it’s glatt kosher to jump off a roof. It’s as ossur as could be.  ושמרתם את נפשותיכם – Hashem says, “I’m lending you your body.  It’s not your body – I’m lending it.” And a sho’el is chayav b’onsim.  If you borrow something you have to pay for whatever goes wrong. Let’s say if I lend you a watch, so now you have to guard my watch.  You can’t throw it around. “I’ll lend you the body,” says Hashem, “so you have to guard it.” 

Now, here’s a person who start smoking; he takes a pack. On the package it says, if you start smoking, you should know it can be dangerous for your lungs, emphysema, cancer and so on.  And this meshuganer lights a cigarette.  So Hashem says “Look, it’s a mitzvah to have some common sense.  You don’t have common sense – therefore you’re a very great choiteh.”  And therefore anybody who smokes is a very great choiteh.
TAPE # E-213 (November 1999)