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tobacco and other drug use
09-29-2007, 06:53 AM,
#1
tobacco and other drug use
Hello Rabbis and Michael,

Is there any reason why a Noahide should not use tobacco? or to drink to drunkeness and eat gluttonously?

It is easy to say that illegal drugs would violate the seven laws.

But are we Noachides required to follow doctor advice? especially when it comes to mind altering drugs such as alcohol and tobacco?

I read that the Rabbinical Council of America has ruled that to blow smoke in someone's face is equivalent to striking them. So therefore, to take a "hit" off a cigarette would be like striking yourself.

I would love to hear that tobacco is forbidden, then I really would quit. Same with getting drunk.

God bless and happy new year,

Brian D. Schuh
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10-15-2007, 11:48 AM, (This post was last modified: 10-15-2007, 11:59 AM by Rabbi Immanuel Schochet.)
#2
RE: tobacco and other drug use
There is a general ruling that one is not allowed to harm oneself. It is based on a verse in the Noahide Code (Gensis 9:5), and the principle that man's body is not his private possession (it belongs to G-d and is only entrusted to man). Thus it appears to apply to Noahides even as it applies to Jews. Anything that is known to be harmful to the body, therefore, would be forbidden, and one must guard one's health. If there is scientific (medical) evidence that a certain behaviour or practice is definitely harmful (endangering) to health and body, it is clearly forbidden.

On the other hand, there is a grey area in which the Torah allows the individual to use his or her own judgment. For example, the Torah does not forbid alcoholic beverages, but it gives clear examples of consequences that can occur from overindulgence, and these should be taken as warnings (e.g. Gen. 9:21-22 and 19:33-36; Deut. 21:18-20).

Although the Torah discourages the making of vows, it recognizes that a person may need the strength of a vow to overcome a habitual undesirable behavior, such as addiction to alcohol.

The Rabbis have traditionally refrained from making blanket Rabbinical edicts against behaviors such as tobacco and drug use, because the scientific knowledge of today can change tomorrow. Instead there is a general strong advisement to follow the best medical advice that is presently available.
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05-10-2010, 09:24 PM, (This post was last modified: 05-15-2010, 07:09 AM by Director Michael.)
#3
RE: tobacco and other drug use
Well today, this curse is not only in the America but it is widely spread; it exists in every next corner of every country. This is a big curse which is more dangerous then drugs.
Mistakes are the
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11-08-2010, 07:26 AM, (This post was last modified: 11-11-2010, 05:20 PM by Director Michael.)
#4
RE: tobacco and other drug use
Dear Rabbis and Director Michael,

In ancient Israel, during the days of the Holy Temple, if a man witnessed the ceremony of a "sotah" [a Jewish wife who was suspected of committing adultery, because she secluded herself with another man after her husband formally warned her not to, as described in Numbers 5:11-31], it was customary for him to take a nazarite vow, which involved growing his hair and not ingesting any grapes or grape wine for a period of time [at least 30 days]. My Rabbi has suggested to me that I might want to imitate this behavior of a nazarite, although he says that there is no such thing [legitimately] as an actual Noahide nazarite vow. How would a Noahide go about imitating the behavior of a nazarite?

Would a Noahide "nazarite" abstain from all alcohol or just alcohol made from the grape?

Would a Noahide "nazarite" in our time have to fulfill his pledge in Israel? At the end of his pledge, could he burn his cut hair anywhere, or would he need to do it in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem when it is rebuilt?

Also, would a Noahide "nazarite" have to stay away from graveyards and funerals?

Thanks ahead of time for the answers.
BD Schuh
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11-11-2010, 05:19 PM, (This post was last modified: 11-11-2010, 05:26 PM by Director Michael.)
#5
RE: tobacco and other drug use
bdschuh Wrote:My Rabbi has suggested to me that I might want to imitate this behavior of a nazarite, although he says that there is no such thing [legitimately] as an actual Noahide nazarite vow. How would a Noahide go about imitating the behavior of a nazarite?
Would a Noahide "nazarite" abstain from all alcohol or just alcohol made from the grape?
Your Rabbi is probably referring to this topic in "The Divine Code," Volume 1, by Rabbi Moshe Weiner, p. 277, in the chapter on "Laws of Vows and Promises":

"...it is proper and praiseworthy for one to make vows in order to correct his behavior and to properly redirect his opinions. How so? One who has a negative behavior trait or habit – for example, gorging on meat, or drinking a lot of wine or other intoxicating drink in an improper way – may make a vow that he will abstain from this thing for a certain amount of time. Or someone who fixates on seeking out wealth may vow that he will not accept any gifts for a certain amount of time. All such abstinences may properly be taken on with a vow in order to correct one’s conduct. However, this is only on the condition that the person will first evaluate himself, to be confident that he is able to stand by his word, so he will not eventually transgress his vow and thus be guilty of lying.
Nevertheless, a person should not habituate himself to making vows, and he should not make many of them. Instead, he should try to separate from his improper behaviors, without making promises or vows."

So this self-correction could apply to abstaining from any type of addictive behavior - either use of any kind of alcoholic drinks or illicit drugs, or sexual misconduct or addictions, use of pornography, etc.

bdschuh Wrote:Would a Noahide "nazarite" in our time have to fulfill his pledge in Israel? At the end of his pledge, could he burn his cut hair anywhere, or would he need to do it in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem when it is rebuilt? Also, would a Noahide "nazarite" have to stay away from graveyards and funerals?

Those details of the actual nazarite vow (Numbers 6:1-21) only applied for Jews, and only during the time of the First and Second Holy Temples.
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11-19-2010, 11:12 AM, (This post was last modified: 11-22-2010, 04:56 AM by Director Michael.)
#6
RE: tobacco and other drug use
Director Michael Wrote:
bdschuh Wrote:My Rabbi has suggested to me that I might want to imitate this behavior of a nazarite, although he says that there is no such thing [legitimately] as an actual Noahide nazarite vow. How would a Noahide go about imitating the behavior of a nazarite?
Would a Noahide "nazarite" abstain from all alcohol or just alcohol made from the grape?

Those details of the actual nazarite vow (Numbers 6:1-21) only applied for Jews, and only during the time of the First and Second Holy Temples.

I understand that corpse unclealiness is not relevant to a Noahide since Noahides cannot contract ritual impurity. I also understand that since Noahides can offer burnt offerings anywhere on a private altar that it would not matter if there were a temple. But, why would it not be relevant to a noahide "nazarite" as to whether he was in a promised land or not?

Why can't a Noahide be a "Nazarite?" It's not a mitzvah that's expressively forbidden to a Noahide in the Divine Code. Which parts of the vow are relevant and which parts are not?
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11-22-2010, 05:31 AM, (This post was last modified: 11-22-2010, 05:36 AM by Director Michael.)
#7
Gentiles do not make the Torah's Nazarite vow
From "The Divine Code," Volume 1, p. 111-112, non-Jews must not bring sin offerings, peace offerings, or guilt offerings. They may only bring burnt offerings. Therefore, several of the indespensible details of the Nazarite vow are forbidden to Noahides. To fulfill the mitzvah of a Nazarite vow, the Jew must bring the following types of sacrifices in the Holy Temple (from Numbers ch. 1, in addition to the burnt offerents he must bring): a ewe lamb as a sin offering and a ram as a peace offering [Num. 1:14].
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12-02-2010, 09:46 AM,
#8
RE: Gentiles do not make the Torah's Nazarite vow
Director Michael Wrote:From "The Divine Code," Volume 1, p. 111-112, non-Jews must not bring sin offerings, peace offerings, or guilt offerings. They may only bring burnt offerings. Therefore, several of the indespensible details of the Nazarite vow are forbidden to Noahides. To fulfill the mitzvah of a Nazarite vow, the Jew must bring the following types of sacrifices in the Holy Temple (from Numbers ch. 1, in addition to the burnt offerents he must bring): a ewe lamb as a sin offering and a ram as a peace offering [Num. 1:14].

Dear Director Michael,
If the length of the vow were for your entire life, those offerings would not be indespensible. So, if a Noahide or a Jew were a lifelong Nazarite, then there would be no need for those offerings. Therefore, why can't a Noahide not be a Nazarite?
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12-17-2010, 07:50 PM, (This post was last modified: 12-17-2010, 07:51 PM by Rabbi Moshe Weiner.)
#9
RE: tobacco and other drug use
From "The Divine Code," Part III (The Prohibition of Blasphemy), ch. 2, quoting Likkutei Sichot vol. 38, a Noahide may take upon himself any specific vow, including such a nazirite vow as you mentioned.

This means that the special holiness of a Jewish nazir as described in the Torah doesn't apply to a Noahide. But as any vow that a Noahide commits himself to, he is obligated to uphold it if he makes such a vow.
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11-04-2011, 02:54 AM, (This post was last modified: 09-15-2013, 01:58 PM by Director Michael.)
#10
RE: tobacco and other drug use
Dear Director Michael and Rabbis,

Thank you for the portion of the Mishneh Torah explaining the nazirite vow. And thank you for releasing me from any obligation to imitate a
nazirite.

But back to smoking tobacco. In my Noahide studies, I can't help that sometimes I happen to read a commentary on Kabala. I have read that burning any plant might attract demons. Is it true that this can happen, regardless of whether or not the plant is aromatic? Is this true in regard to smoking plants (e.g. in pipes or cigarettes)? And if so, what can one do to destroy the demons he created? Could my chain-smoking of tobacco be attracting demons? What about smoking marijuana? What about, G-d forbid, smoking something absolutely evil like cocaine?

Also, whether you smoke "incense" or burn it for its smell, it might have been previously dedicated to the worship of an idol or false god. What if that plant, to the best of your knowledge, was not dedicated to serving false gods?
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