Kashrut authority approves cigarettes for Passover

Despite Rabbi Ovadia Yosef's opposition to smoking, Badatz Beit Yosef puts kosher stamp on select cigarette brands.

Man smoking 370 (photo credit: Ina Fassbender/Reuters)
Man smoking 370
(photo credit: 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 Passover.
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.”
A 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 Passover.
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 holiday.
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 added.
“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.