Tuesday, November 11, 2014


What about Marijuana?

     by Reb Gutman Locks       

   What about Marijuana?


     A viewer left a note by my video, "What's Wrong with Smoking?" He asks, "What do Jews think about marijuana?"

     Obviously, everyone will have his or her own opinion about marijuana. I will give you mine.

     Besides the obvious health issues, such as marijuana depositing ten times more tar in the lungs than tobacco, my real issue with marijuana is that it fools you into thinking that things are great, even when they are not. So what? What's wrong with thinking that things are good when they are not?

     I have a friend who has been going to the Kotel every day stoned (smoked up) for some 30 years! He stands close to the Kotel with his eyes half closed, his mouth hanging open a little, turning his head slowly from side to side, marveling at the sight. Sometimes he even drools. After a while, he looks at you with total disbelief, and asks, "Don't you see it, man?"

     When you get stoned you get the munchies. Do you know what the munchies are? When you are not stoned you pick up a chocolate bar, and you take a bite. You like it. It's good. You may even take another bite, or if you have room you may even eat the entire chocolate bar. When you have the munchies your taste buds are so inflated, that you quickly eat the entire chocolate bar, and if there are another five chocolate bars sitting there on the table, you eat them too! It's great, man! Wow! But you know what? You are fooling yourself. Your animal inclination has been exaggerated, and you are eating things that you don't need, and in truth, do not even want.

     Even this is not really so bad. The thing that hurts me about my friend, who goes to the Kotel stoned, is that he has the munchies on the Kotel stones and he thinks that he is experiencing the holiness of the Place! So what?

     The problem is, since he is getting so "far off," stoned on the stones every day, he has never done the work that he was supposed to be doing all these years in order to see the true Holiness that is actually here. He is satisfied with the stones! What a loss. He is in the same spiritual place he was thirty years ago, but he thinks that he is so, so, very high! To me, this is worse than all of the other problems with dope.

     Today, the people who use marijuana object if you call it dope. They insist on the more correct labeling of the much more dangerous opium and such as dope. But in the Sixties, when almost everyone smoked it, we all called it dope. Not because it was in the category of opiate opium, but because when you got stoned, you acted like a dope. 


  1. Practially SpiritualNovember 11, 2014 6:33 PM

    Just a thought: according to Kabbalah, the physical desire for food, or munchies, is paralleled and micro-cosmic of our desire for spiritual nourishment - divine sparks trapped within the mundane. It would seem then that drugs such as these cause us to escape the world and thus desire to be connected to holiness. Also as a note, alcohol is an inhibitor (and useful in Judaism, in moderation) whereas drugs are an escape.

  2. Adin Even-Israel (Steinsaltz) | July 4, 2010 6:56 PM

    I once heard from the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory, in a private audience, an observation about drugs.

    He was speaking about the effect on a person taking drugs. He was, incidentally, very careful about not saying anything negative about anybody. He said that the opinion of the Torah in general is that the person should be the master over his or her self, and enslavement of any sort is wrong.

    Can a person still be the master over himself when involved with drugs and other addictive substances?

    The problem with using any kinds of drugs or almost anything that has a little bit of psychoactive material is the same. Indeed, almost everything is psychoactive, including bread. If one fasts and then takes a piece of bread, it is possible to see how many changes are made in one's psyche.

    The specific problem, however, with drugs is that people come relatively fast to a point of no return. In truth there is never a point of no return; but one quickly reaches a point from where it is very hard, almost impossible, to return...

  3. Letter from the Rebbe written in 1965 to a student in Cambridge, MA, when LSD and other hallucinogenic narcotics were beginning to be of interest to many people. Basically, the Rebbe's point is: Better to achieve a high through learning Chassidut.

    I am in receipt of your letter of _____, which you write in the name of your friends and in your own behalf, and ask my opinion regarding the new drug called L.S.D. which is said to have the property of mental stimulation, etc.

    Biochemistry is not my field, and I cannot express an opinion on the drug you mention, especially as it is still new. However what I can say is that the claim that the said drug can stimulate mystical insight, etc. is not the proper way to attain mystical inspiration, even if it had such a property.

    The Jewish way is to go from strength to strength, not by means of drugs and other artificial stimulants, which have a place only if they are necessary for the physical health, in accordance with the Mitzvah to take care of one's health. I hope that everyone will agree that before any drugs are taken one should first utilize all one's natural capacities, and when this is done truly and fully, I do not think there will be a need to look for artificial stimulants.

    I trust that you and your group, in view of your Yeshiva background, have regular appointed times for the study of Torah, and the inner aspects of the Torah, namely the teachings of Chassidus, and that such study is in accordance with the principle of our Sages, namely "The essential thing is the deed," i.e. the actual conduct of the daily life in accordance with the Torah and Mitzvoth, prayer, Tefillin, Kashruth, etc., etc. This is only a matter of will and determination, for nothing stands in the way of the will.

    I trust that you are also using your good influence throughout your environment.

    With blessing,

    [the Rebbe's signature]

  4. With all respect to R' Locks, your article is hardly coherent or understandable. Marijuana is not addictive, in the way narcotics are. Marijuana doesn't always give you the munchies. Either way, what does it mean to have munchies on stones?

    Lastly, marijuana may help a person 'get past' some of his or her internal mechitzos and meitzarim and open up to broader spiritual truths. Don't judge.


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