Sephardic Chief Rabbi okays cigarettes

All cigarettes kosher for Passover, Israel’s Sephardi chief rabbi says.

JTA, Arutz Sheva Staff ,


Israel’s Sephardi chief rabbi ruled that it is permitted to smoke cigarettes that are not certified as kosher for Passover during the holiday.

Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef said in a satellite television broadcast that cigarettes do not need to be certified as leaven-free for Passover, though some cigarettes manufactured in Israel or abroad are certified as kosher for Passover.

He appeared to be responding to questions about whether American cigarettes need to be certified as kosher, according to The Jerusalem Post.

Rabbi Yosef seemed to base part of his ruling on the fact that leaven is not forbidden if a dog will not eat it.

“If you put a cigarette in front of a dog, who is always hungry – he will eat anything. But put a cigarette in front him, will he smoke it? He won’t touch it,” the rabbi said in the Hebrew-language broadcast.

Rabbi Yosef did indicate that it is better not to even start smoking, but added that if a person is already addicted, he doesn’t need certification.

A recent study found that the Israeli army has a major smoking issue: Nearly 40 percent of Israelis are smokers by the time they finish their compulsory army service. About 37 percent of Israeli soldiers are smokers when they are discharged, compared to 26 percent of new recruits, the study found - a 42 percent increase over the course of service.

Israel has anti-smoking laws and smoking is forbidden in many public areas, but the laws are not always enforced. In practice, if a given municipality chooses not to enforce the laws, it is up to the private citizen to call the police - and often, by the time the police arrive, the smoker has already left the area.