Readers’ Scoop: Is Your 15 Year Old Smoking?

(Below is an unedited letter submitted to us by a reader. TLS welcomes your letters at [email protected] . The views are solely those of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of TLS).

Dear Editor,
I consider myself fortunate to be living in Lakewood and all the more so because my home is near a prominent Yeshiva. It’s truly a joy to hear the sweet sound of the Bachurim learning and to them interacting. However, the beauty of this vision is being clouded with smoke-literally. I see Bachurim at all hours sitting around the neighborhood smoking in full view of my children and everyone else. Some of these boys look as young as 15. When i see them, I firmly demand that they take this life threatening habit far away, but the next day there are others. How pathetic is it, that my young son should pretend to be smoking with a pen, when he sees these Bachurim? Is this the image he should be growing up with? I clearly explain to him how revolting it is , but the picture has left its impact. Parents, you should know what’s happening. You should be demanding more supervision over your young precious boys. Yeshivas should have a zero tolerance for smoking and parents should be demanding that it be enforced. I only hope that my children remain with a positive vision of what a Yeshiva Bachur should look like.

Thank you,

Your son’s neighbor.
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  1. unfortunately we live in a tekufa where young boys have access to much more than we did groing up. Ask any 8th grade rebbi about the challenges out there today.

    If smoking is the only issue for these children…onsider yourself lucky!

  2. What makes u think there parants are ok with it? What makes u think the Yeshiva is ok with it ? And even if they are ok with it there is very little u can do todays days.

  3. u can open ur own Yeshiva and c how difficult todays kids are and then realize that its not that simple dealing with todays kids

  4. By no means do I think smoking is right. I never smoked and I hope my kids won't. That being said, let's understand a yeshiva bochers schedule. Wake up 7 00. Then halacha seder, first seder, bein hasdorim seder,second seder, mussar seder,another bein hasdorim seder, night seder. And then more learning afterwards. There are ZERO kosher outlets for these boys. Even basketball is frowned upon by some places. These kids are not robots! Do you know what goyim are doing at this age? And yet we expect these boys to put in 16 hour days. These boys need an outlet.I believe its the system that's the problem. Not the victims of the system. So next time you see a boy smoking, explain to your son that these boys are keeping the world going with their learning. And even though we just finished supper, they still have another 4 hours of seder. This helps them relax. Perhaps your child will then learn to judge people favorably instead of having self rightious opinions about everyone. Thank you. David Ladimore

  5. I think that as a parent, it s your responsibility to teach your child right from wrong and dont rely on the world to set a possible example. Be mechanech your own kids.

  6. I teach my sons firmly that smoking is not tolerated in the house.
    No guests are allowed to be smokers,
    and they understand how upset I would be if they ever smoked.
    I consider a person who is a Rebbe or Rosh Yeshiva that smokes a person I would not allow my children to learn by.
    I will not allow a boy that smokes go out with my daughter. You must be firm.
    I actually once told a Rosh Yeshiva who was smoking what I thought about him, (in my younger days).

  7. If you want the kids to stop smoking, you have to get the parents, teachers, people in position of importance and power to stop first. Kids look up to adults. If they see it's ok for the Rosh Yeshiva to smoke, then there can't be anything wrong with it.
    R' Shmuel recently spoke out against smoking. Why not have more gadolim make a point of telling Klal Yisroel once and for all that it is a clear sakana?

    We make an asifah for internet, for tznius. Well why not for smoking?

  8. to:June 18, 2009 8:05 PM
    I feel very bad for you. The reason being, that IF CHAS VESHALOM your child ever gets the taava to smoke – he will.

    He knows from you that in YOUR eyes it is almost like from the gimmel aveiros.Therefore, he may not be able to differentiate between smoking cigarrettes and the gimmel aveiros, L"A.

    Once he begins smoking – he is actually 'rebelling' against all that you stand for by feeding his taava of smoking.
    Once he 'rebels' by smoking, it may be much easier for him to rebel in other (real) major aveiros.

    As we all have you in mind…you should be gebentched and have lots of hatzlacha and only nachas from your children.

    PS I am lav davka arguing with you.
    Just, please rember that the way we portray our priorities is of utmost importance and should not be taken lightly.

  9. June 18, 2009 11:00 PM


    I wish that no parent should ever know anything worse than smoking issues with their children.

  10. What I meant was:
    If anyone has serious child-rearing issues, my bracha is that it shouldn't be with any other taavos. (ones that are far worse than smoking)

    The 'smoking issue' has been around since many years ago. Most of my HS/BM friends who smoked as teens, eventually quit.

    There are much worse yetzer haras nowadays – which are very easily accessable.

  11. were do you have the nerve to send the boys away from public places. Your harsh and negative comments are causing many boys to go further off the derech. Mind your own business, teach your own children what you expect of them, and please leave others' children alone!

  12. – Smoking –

    Whats wrong with it?

    Its bad for your health.

    There are a lot of things people do that are bad for their health.

    Are you as makpid on your kids weight as you are about smoking?

    Are fat people a bad influence to your kids?

    Do your kids get enough excersize?

    Do they get enough sleep?

    Do they eat healthy?

    Do they wear refectors at night….. etc…

    Smoking is an addiction, one thats hard to kick. Back in the day alot of Rosh Yeshivas smoked.

    Are you more scared of the "image" then the health issue?

    And this is all talking about gashmius! what about the ruchniyos?

    Is smoking worse then Bein Odom L'chaveiro?

    Is it worse then Sinas Chinum… etc…

    Are you more makpid about those then smoking? Do you explain to them how "revolting" those are?

    What do you say to your kids about everything else that goes on in this crazy world? How do you shelter them from all those things?
    Your kids seeing yeshiva bochurim smoking is what your worried about?

    The image that they will be left with, will be how against smoking you were, that that was the most important thing to you. Do they even understand whats wrong with smoking? How is something that someone is doing thats not good for their health revolting?

    It also seems like you show your son that you are against "smoking with a pen" How about joining him?
    show him we dont smoke, its bad for our health, but we can be just like those Yeshiva boys who learn all day with a pen! Why is a Yeshiva Bochur smoking worse then anyone else? Its the same addiction for the same reasons.

    Once your kid goes away to Yeshiva you will have little control over his smoking. If you dont want him to smoke or do anything worse, then worry about your relationship with him more then him "smoking with a pen." If your kid has the proper chinuch and relationship with you then him seeing Yeshiva Bochurim smoking will not affect him.

    Problem is maybe thats not the case…

  13. oy vey!! we must close down this place before they mess up more guys. the yehiva name shouldnt be posted but domething has to be done.

  14. When i see them, I firmly demand that they take this life threatening habit far away,

    Just imagine the uproar if some Yeshiva Bochrim would of demanded the letter writer to go far away because she isn't dressed Tzniusdik (by their standards.)

Comments are closed.