Kashrut authority approves cigarettes for Passover
Despite Rabbi Ovadia Yosef's opposition to smoking, Badatz Beit Yosef puts kosher stamp on select cigarette brands.
A MAN smokes in Duesseldorf Photo: Ina Fassbender/Reuters
If you smoke, you may be glad to know that, with the right choice of brand, you
may do so safe in the knowledge that your cigarettes are strictly kosher this
For the first time, the Badatz Beit Yosef kosher certification
belonging to Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef has lent its highly
esteemed stamp to a range of cigarette brands from the Israeli Dubek tobacco
products manufacturer, certifying that they are free from leaven, or hametz,
which is forbidden over Passover.
This certification has been granted
despite Yosef’s well-known opposition to smoking.
“Doctors are against
smoking; they say it causes lung cancer,” Yosef said in one of his regular
Saturday-night Torah lessons two years ago. “Whoever can refrain from it, all
the better; he should take every effort to keep away from it.”
spokesman for Badatz Beit Yosef explained to The Jerusalem Post that although
the rabbi disapproves of smoking, if someone is already in the habit then it is
important that the cigarettes they smoke be guaranteed free of leaven over
At the time he spoke out against smoking the rabbi added, “A
person who is used to smoking – it’s hard to quit, but [he] should distance
himself from it a step at a time.”
Jewish law prohibits eating or owning
any leaven or products containing leaven for the duration of the seven-day
The Badatz Beit Yosef spokesman said that the group’s
representatives had been invited to the factory and found that certain additives
to tobacco used in cigarettes could be considered food and therefore in need of
inspection to ensure that they do not contain leaven.
Even the glue
joining the filter to the cigarette must be free of leaven, he
“Although smoking is certainly a mistake, it is better that this
error not be compounded by also breaking the laws of Passover which are
extremely stringent,” the spokesman said.