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Rav Avigdor Miller on smokers: You’re a Meshugener

Q: There are some who want to say that if someone smokes so he’ll be protected from danger based on the possuk of שומר פתאים השם – that Hashem guards the foolish ones (Tehillim 116:6). What do you say about that?

A:That statement שומר פתאים השם means that Hashem guards the people who are persuaded because they don’t know any better. The word pesi, means someone who is persuaded. I’ll give you an example of a pesi. When King Louis XIV of France was ill, so he had the very best physicians in Europe caring for him. So what did they do? They took melted pearls and poured it down his throat. Melted pearls was considered by the doctors to be the best medicine in those days. And so, the very best physicians came into heal King Louis XIV and they melted pearls and they poured the melted pearls down his throat. And they killed him – he died from that. He was a pesi; that’s what people believed in those days. When people don’t know, so Hashem says, “I’m going to help most people who are persuaded to do foolish things; there will be a general shmira on the people who are doing things that are dangerous if it’s not known that there’s a danger.”

But when you know, then you have to be careful. That’s why in the olden days, when people smoked, so people didn’t know how harmful smoking was, and therefore the results were not so evident. But today when we know that smoking is dangerous – even on the package itself it tells you that it’s dangerous, so you’re not called a pesi – you’re just a meshugener. It says on the package that it’s dangerous for your health and he’s puffing away! He’s meshugener, that’s all! And therefore it’s not שומר פתאים השם anymore. Hashem will only guard people who are not to blame. And if you smoke, so you’re to blame – you’re not learning, you’re not listening. Anybody who ignores good advice, he’s no longer a pesi. He’s a meizid and it’s his own fault whatever happens to him.

TAPE # E-232 (April 2000)

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