Home Uman ASK A BRESLOVER – Smoking Weed and Learning Torah

ASK A BRESLOVER – Smoking Weed and Learning Torah

by Yossi Katz

Hello, I have heard that some Breslovers use marijuana as a spiritual tool. And according to Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan it was an ingredient in the holy anointing oil.

So my question is since most likely the Jews of the temple time did smoke weed, and it was also considered something holy… can we in fact today like the rastas smoke weed and learn torah? Thanks

Answer by Ozer Bergman: What some Breslovers (or so-called Breslovers or Breslover wannabes) do, and what is appropriate, and what is likely to have been sanctioned by Rebbe Nachman zal, are not always the same thing. (Ask your local, competent rabbi if smoking weed is permissible.)

>And according to Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan it was an ingredient in the holy anointing oil.

Actually, what Aryeh Kaplan says is that “…some identify Keneh bosem with the English and Greek cannabis, the hemp plant” (“Living Torah” footnote to Exodus 30:23 [p. 258]). However, there are three other opinions (Reb Saadia Gaon, Rambam and Rashi) that he cites as to the identity of Keneh bosem. This is a far cry from being a proof that Jews of the Temple time smoked weed! 🙂

> so my question is since most likely the jews of the temple time did smoke >weed,

Again, even if we knew this to be true, it doesn’t make it something we should imitate. After all, Jews in Temple times worshiped Baal and other idols — doesn’t make it right!

> and it was also considered something holy…

see above

>can we in fact today like the rastas smoke weed and learn torah?

Even assuming it were permitted (which I’m not), the question is: Is it a good idea? One of the primary goals of observing/practicing Torah and mitzvot is to have an ever-clearer mind. Does doing drugs of any sort bring one closer to that goal or not? Hint: Stoners are not known for clear thinking. See Likutey Moharan II, Lesson #26 where Rebbe Nachman zal talks about the ills of being drunk. Even though the high and head space of alcohol and weed (or any drug) are not the identical, they share enough similarities such that it seems likely that Rebbe Nachman would not have condoned drug use.

> thanks

you’re welcome.

מאמרים קשורים


Diederik Ouwehand April 27, 2010 - 4:09 pm

Keneh bosem was an ingredient in the holy anointing oil.
1. Oil is not smokable.
2. Thorah forbids to imitate temple-ingredients, or to use them in a profane way.
(Like Nwuch Kadnetzar did; he surely is in need of some more moreh newuchim”.)
3. Maybe we can (as remez,alegory) imply this to smoking tobacco as wel: In former days American indians only used tobacco in holy rituals. We are not supposed to smoke, if not taking part of a Pow Wow.
4. As long as I am not a Rasta Fari, I am not to imitate rastafari-way of “worship.”
(I am not sure if Marcus Garvey meant to lift up the African Americans by the way of smoking ganya.)
5.Only Levites in charge of temple service used holy oil. The rest of Israel was not allowed to peform this kind of service. Nowadays there still are Levites left, even Kohanim (Leonard Cohen) , but unfortunately no temple, (may Moshiach help it to be rebuild as soon as possible).

channah May 4, 2010 - 12:49 am

common sense, how can one study Torah with the heart and mind when everything is clouded by smoke of anykind?

Ozer May 4, 2010 - 9:35 am

Well, besides that common sense is not as prevalent as we would hope, there is a school of thought that claims that “doors of perception” can be opened by hallucinogenics. As in Rebbe Nachman’s story The Master of Prayer, we will not elaborate on their reasoning, lest people be taken in by their fallacious thinking and live life wrongly. (There is such a danger because there is a tiny kernel of truth upon which their mistake rests.)

Eran July 30, 2019 - 8:19 am

By refusing to elaborate on their reasoning, you demonstrate that you cannot refute it. By stating that you are doing so as to avoid people from being “drawn in by fallacious reasoning”, you are undermining your own words by allowing others to go on and find this “fallacious reasoning” without a wise voice to show them the faults in it.

I suggest you take a good close look at your own beliefs on this matter. You’ll find no fallacy in this school of thought that you won’t in your own.

Y May 10, 2012 - 2:43 am

Another big problem is that pot smoking causes anxiety or paranoia in many, perhaps most people! And a feeling of anxiety or paranoia is one of the worst things you can feel, and completely opposite of the calm, happy, settled mind that is so valued in Breslov chassidut.

rastafari June 15, 2012 - 7:15 pm

like david haMashiach says…grass for the beast herbs for the service of man

Shraga Friedman February 10, 2013 - 9:53 pm

The only halakhic issue with marijuana is that IT’S AGAINST THE LAW OF THE LAND. Otherwise, one should not distinguish smoking marijuana from drinking alcohol; both are intoxicants with both dangers and benefits. However, one is permitted by the state and one is not, and one can bring a “bad name” to one’s community by claiming it as something that “should” be done by citing Torah as a source.

Having said that, what is the etymology of the word “lebesumai” as used in the laws of Purim; “ad d’lo yada”?

Hilliger April 27, 2015 - 8:34 am

Musicians have frequently used drugs to ignite their imagination (“hamedameh”). The side effect of smoking weed is depression. Rebbe Nachman defined this as “ruach ra’ah”, the spirit of depression or psychedelia, because “the strengthening of the imagination is by means of depression” (Likutey Moharan, Vol. VI, 54, 7, p. 208/209). Thus, he discouraged the use of the imagination by means of a “ruach tovah”, a lucid mind with greater dexterity in hands to play music with joy.

Yehudit Katz May 23, 2016 - 5:30 am

I think it is first incumbent on the individual to be free of their yetzer hara before opening the mind to higher understanding like the students of the prophetic schools. The sages knew/ know that multiple worlds exist as well as beings of various levels and intentions. Therefore they forbade dabbling in these practices before the appropriate time.

Edward Yitzchak Hughes November 19, 2016 - 6:17 pm

How about if I am in so much pain as a 2 time honorable 100 disabled Veteran, and all the other un-g-dly chemicals the V.A. wants me to consume to mask and cover the pain. While my pain is managed I enjoy Torah. I have nothing but time for Torah when I am not in pain. I find it in poor judgment that you should pass on someone who’s benefit is Torah, no matter how they get there. I can see this being abused but not to the exaggeration that is being written here.

Ozer Bergman November 28, 2016 - 12:02 pm

Shalom Edward Yitzchak!
First, thank you for risking your life on my behalf and that of millions of others. May Hashem repay you for that service and may you use your talents, skills and dedication in His service.

The question was, as I understand it, referring to combining the recreational use of marijuana (or other drugs) and Torah study. You are referring to the proper use of medicinal marijuana which is not at all the same.

To the best of my knowledge, proper medicinal use of marijuana is not treated differently by halachah than other medication. However, I have not discussed this with a competent rabbi.

Be well and study a lot of Torah!


Leave a Comment