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Windows and Doors


Avoiding the Deaths of Another 6 Million

posted by Brad Hirschfield

What if you were told seventy years ago that Hitler was planning a holocaust that would include the deaths of 6 million Jews, simply because they were Jewish? If it was within your power to keep that from happening, would you? The answer may seem obvious, but 6 million more will die in the coming year, and we can help keep it from happening. A holocaust, of sorts, is happening and it is within our power to do something about it. The question is will we do so.
According to study released by the American Cancer Society, 6 million people next year from cancer, heart disease, emphysema and a range of other smoking-related ills.

Tobacco accounts for one out of every 10 deaths worldwide and will claim 5.5 million lives this year alone,” the report said. If current trends hold, by 2020, the number will grow to an estimated 7 million and top 8 million by 2030.


I appreciate that we cannot not draw a direct analogy between the systematic destruction of innocent victims by a hate-driven government and its military, with a choice that people make to poison themselves. But I also know that dead is dead and that the number 6 million carries a powerful resonance in the 21st century.
Perhaps it’s time to mobilize around that number and start saving lives. Could there be a more life-affirming way to deal with the collective pain which still fills the hearts of so many people? We aree commanded by the Torah to “choose life” and more than few rabbinic authorities have declared smoking prohibited, so what are we waiting for?
And it you want a more pragmatic approach, how about this: As we continue to do battle over health care in this country, I wonder what would happen if we simply agreed to do everything in our power to end smoking, what would happen. How much money would be saved that could be put back into other health care concerns? How much would the cost of insurance go down, even if not immediately, if we simply put an end to smoking? Would it be enough to preserve profits for those who are primarily concerned with those issues, while making it possible to cover all those who have no health insurance?
It is seventy years ago – at least for the next 6 million and for their loved ones. What will they, and we, do about it?



  • reuven

    sorry, Rabbi Brad, but on this issue, ha-Rav ha-Gadol David Klinghoffer thinks you are full of it. To wit, a prior post of his.
    In particular, note what he says about TOBACCO in the last paragraph, in the context of his lashon ha-ra slam at Rabbi Saperstein.
    . Newsweek’s Favorite Rabbis
    Sunday April 5, 2009
    Newsweek published its list of the 50 most influential rabbis, and the usually entertainingly acerbic Failed Messiah comments blandly, “Star power trumps community influence.” There’s much more that we can say than that.
    This list, which will be the talk of the Jewish community for the next week, along with that comment from the normally ferocious blogger, illustrates the whole problem with our Jewish leadership. There are some wonderful individuals on Newsweek’s rabbi list. But do you see anyone — apart from the idiosyncratic Shmuley Boteach — whose influence has anything to do with the Jewish mission as Jewish tradition, and this blog, defines it? “Influence” upon our own little “community” is well and good, but it’s not why God made Jews. True, the top rabbi on the list, David Saperstein, exerts an influence on the wider world, but in a direction either tangential or diametrically opposed to Judaism.
    Saperstein runs the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. In the most recent press release on the RAC’s website, we find Rabbi Saperstein taking a firm stance against tobacco, supporting the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. Which of course has zero to do with Judaism. It’s an example of what I call the moralesque — pseudo-moral issues that are a favorite of the Religious Left.

  • Mary Bender

    My father was a heavy smoker and had his 1st heart attack when I was 14 years old. Even though he stopped smoking, because his heart was damaged, he died 13 years later in 1982.

  • g.d.

    Thank heavens for the alternative offered by Rabbi Brad.
    Here is another instance where the host of the “Kingdom of Priests” has shown himself to lack intellectual integrity.
    Klinghoffer post:
    Robert Wright’s Bloggingheads.tv Censors Intelligent Design Interview
    Thursday August 27, 2009
    Categories: Books & Media
    Wow. This is positively Stalinist. Robert Wright’s Bloggingheads.tv has abruptly removed an interview it put up hours before ….
    response: Mr. Klinghoffer’s protestations about “Stalinism” are spectacularly hypocritical. Cf. his recent post (below) and my appended comment.
    begin POST:
    With Housekeeping, It’s Better Late than Never
    Wednesday August 26, 2009
    In case you notice anything missing, I just took a moment and cleared out all the comments from our main sock puppet visitor who goes by various names and genders but always sounds the same — shrill. Thanks to the convenience of the IP address, it’s a snap to do.
    end POST.
    … Frightening- and utterly unacceptable.
    This is eerily reminiscent of the airbrushing of historical events and personalities from textbooks as practiced by the Kremlin and other Communist regimes.
    Especially when combined with the backtracking of IP addresses.
    Isn’t such backtracking what the Iranian and Chinese regimes currently do to crack down on dissidents?
    Frightening- and utterly unacceptable. And yet, Mr. Klinghoffer, you consider yourself a political CONSERVATIVE?
    What would the late William F. Buckley, Jr. have said?
    Secondly, I don’t buy the sock puppetry excuse for a minute. Why did you really do this?
    Perhaps because you can’t abide criticism offered by individuals who can knowledgeably refute your claim to speak as “representative of Orthodox Judaism” ?
    As noted by the Rambam (actually, I got it from a posting that was deleted):
    For anything whose rationale is clear and whose truth can be demonstrated by indisputable proof, we do not rely on the person who said it or who taught it, but on its proof and reasoning,
    — Mishneh Torah, Laws of Sanctification of the New Moon, 17:24
    Thus, according to Rambam, sock puppetry is not an issue. The truth is.
    What would Barry Freundel (the Orthodox rabbi who converted Mr. Klinghoffer) say?

  • http://www.healthfreedomusa.org/index.php?page_id=157 Al

    This is a very important prayer request, one that may very well
    save us and the world at large. This is a prayer request to stop the Codex Alimentarius Commission under the World Health Organization,from making a world ending
    mistake.This international organization wants to outlaw supplements and remove all nutrients and vitamins from our food supply,worldwide! We need to pray to Almighty God
    that this catastrophe be averted.If anyone doubts as to what I’m saying is true here’s a link:
    http://www.healthfreedomusa.org/index.php?page_id=157
    They plan to implement this worldwide on December 31,2009!

  • http://www.unravelingtheword.info/ScripturesOfTheDay Sean Rhoades

    There is nothing wrong in using God given medicines and remedies, so long as they are used in moderation. It’s when people overdue things, such as alcohol, tobacco, cocaine, ephedra, even caffeine, taurine and other God given medicines and remedies, that problems emerge. Even sex and eating should be done in moderation. But how can we limit what others do, without infringing on their freedoms?

  • Jacob S.

    I agree with g.d who said:
    … Frightening- and utterly unacceptable.
    This is eerily reminiscent of the airbrushing of historical events and personalities from textbooks as practiced by the Kremlin and other Communist regimes.
    Especially when combined with the backtracking of IP addresses.
    Isn’t such backtracking what the Iranian and Chinese regimes currently do to crack down on dissidents?
    Frightening- and utterly unacceptable.
    Now someone please tell me rationally and logically how this is any different from the request from President Obama that people go “fishing” for any negative comments about him and his health-care bill on the web or even in private (and I stress the word private) emails and report them or forward them so that IP addresses and names(and other related personal information) about those creating these texts can be “collected”/ What do you think that he is going to do with this information? Please don’t be naive enough to think that nothing will come of this. Why would he waste his valuable time if he didn’t intend to use the data for some purppose! And by the way, history has shown us that both Communist Russia and Third Riech Nazi Germany used data collection methods to search out and destroy those that dared to disagree with their policies. They even persuaded children to report their own parents if they said or did anything against the beliefs of these leaders. Knowing this, beware of President Obama’s upcoming 0-5 plan.
    Again, frightening and unacceptable!!!

  • Doug from PA

    To even mention the Holocaust and smoking in the same paragraph, drawing such an analogy is obscene. How can we expect non-Jews to respect the horror of the Holocaust when we have someone like Mr. Hirschfield using it for such a weak proposal.
    As far as the alleged health care savings go, the savings would be negligible if not zero or even negative. To the extent tobacco shortens people’s lives, it reduces the amount of time they are using health care. If they didn’t use health care for tobacco-related illnesses, they’d be using it a few years later for other causes. The studies that claim to find savings in health care costs are all poorly done, nearly all biased (surprise, surprise).
    If people want to use tobacco, that’s their business. You and the government should butt out. Further, making drugs illegal hasn’t worked well – nor did making alcohol illegal; can you learn from history?
    I write this as a cancer survivor (not tobacco-related, fwiw) and grandson of someone who died at age 65 from tobacco use (lung cancer). I have no connection with the tobacco industry. I just support freedom.

  • Becky

    I don’t understand the reason behind aall the negative comments. I have had 3 loved ones die from lung cancer…heavy smokers. Smoking not only harms the one smoking but those that are in the room with the smoker. I am an ex-smoker, quit 30 years ago, but living with a heavey smoker for the last 35 years. He has not smoked in the house now for the last 5 years, which I am thankful for…less use of inhalers for me.
    Even if smoking was made illegal across the board, the government would subsidize the tobacco industry for their loss of income.

  • http://Suzdelia Suzanne Short

    Jacob, I wholeheartedly agree with you. President Obama has an agenda, and this agenda is similar to Communistic and the Nazi Regime. The one CZAR is a known practicing Communist, and there is another CZAR and is a known Marxist. The ACORN and Apollo organizations along with SEIU are making sure people who do not agree with Obama are being shut down. He is forming a volunteer army and one of the volunteer openly admitted and in article that now they are training with persuasive powers to change people minds, but next will be the usage of guns. It is scarry and All citizens need to wake up and do not try to avoid the signs that are so visible and we need to protest any type of Government intervention within our lives. We need to protest any bill that is against our Constitution, for if we do not protect and defend our Constitution, it will be abolished. This is another issue that Mr. Obama has on his agenda to change the Constitution without the approval of Congress. This is the reason for so many CZARS…the 3 branch Government will soon be no more unless we are all vigilant and keep asking questions, debating issues, and defending our Constitution. The Obama Administration is the CANCER within our Government and this is what we need to cure…The holocaust must never never happen again regarding any Nationality or Religion. Are people aware of the Christians that are being questioned and taken to court for voicing an opinion or saying a prayer…Are people aware of individuals who are told not to salute our flag? Are people aware of signs in school to pay tribute to the global world? Are people aware of citizens being intimidated and threatened who speak out against any of Mr. Obama’s agendas? Are people aware that Euthanasia is next on the agenda along with more and more abortions? Why isn’t Mr. Obama proud of our country? He keeps putting down our country to other nations when he should be proud of our accomplishments through history and he should be honored to be our President by abiding by our Constitution and his oath of Office. The other Holocaust that has been with us for many years now is killing of innocent ones by the millions? Do people really think that God is proud of our world by allowing the killing and suffering of our innocent ones through some of the most horrible and painful abortion procedures.
    May God be with you to strengthen, encourage and protect us in defending our Nation that our forefather struggled and fought to protect for our enjoyment and for us to build upon.

  • Your Name

    Suzanne:
    your comments on abortion are anti-Semitic. You have some nerve
    posting them on this blog!
    A fetus is NOT a full human being.
    The only cogent scriptural text on this issue is the one in Exodus 21, which recounts an incident in which a pregnant woman, caught in the middle of a fight between two men, is struck and miscarries. The culprit pays a monetary fine for his action: If the fetus were considered a full human being, he would have been charged with murder. (And since it would be viewed as involuntary, the culprit would be required to flee to a city of refuge.) If the fetus were worthless, he would get off only with punishment for striking the woman.
    The fetus is something but not a full human being. It has property value and potential as life; but, in and of itself, is not life. And thus, abortion is not murder — it is, at best, a tort issue.
    Indeed, in Jewish law, when the mother’s life is medically at stake, abortion is not merely allowed, but actually required.
    I would argue that the majority of Americans, pragmatic as ever, prefer something more along the lines of such a nuanced middle view.
    Secondly, Jacob S. and Suzanne: comparing the Obama Administration to the Nazis and Communists is an insult to Holocaust survivors- and racist to boot. Stop listening to the nonsense being spewed by the right-wing bigots and whack-jobs. Remember, Rush is a drug-addicted serial polygamist who avoided military service during the Vietnam War by having his politically-connected family get some quack to declare him 4-F!

  • Burt

    Message for YOUR NAME- – - – -Your message is 100% out of order!! Jacob and Susan hit the naul on the head!!

  • liz

    Burt:
    You can’t even spell the word “nail” correctly, so it is understandable that your cognitive processes are equally lacking.
    Try thinking for yourself, and stop being a right-wing sock puppet.

  • justin

    Doug from PA:
    Your comment lack credibility.
    You are for “freedom” as in the ‘free-market’ ? The same free market that gave us AIG, Lehman Brothers, ENRON and Bernie Madoff?
    What narrishkeit1
    As for freedom of choice: OK, fine, as long as there are as many health-oriented, anti-smoking ads on TV as cigarette commercials.
    After all, when it comes to credibility, how many Americans believe Elvis is still alive? (I would not be surprised if most of them who do, are smokers) How many believe that man never walked on the moon?

  • LAURA MUSHKAT

    it is sad to think how most of these deaths mght be prevented by the victims themselves by a better lifestyle and getting the tests if available. once again much of this comes down to neglecting personal responsability.
    if something is out there you know will hurt you if indulged in, you are responsible if you make the choice.
    it is only when we have no choice but someone is doing something that can kill or hurt us that we can complain. then and only then we should try to get things changed. sometimes this might mean you need to move and get a job elsewhere to get away and there again you have a choice.
    it is up to us MOST of the time to keep ourselves ok.

  • Jacob S.

    Your Name,
    First, in my post I asked for someone to explain to me rationally and logically; You did neither. Typical of someone of your political position you just resorted to name calling. This is not a tool of either rationality or logic – it is purely emotional.
    Second, given the diversity of races, religions, and cultures in both my immediate and extended family, anyone who knows me personally would laugh in your face at your calling me a racist.
    Third, I am a former employee of a major insurance company who understands the terminology. I have read the entire health-care reform bill on the governments website and God help us all if it is passed.
    Fourth, I am a rational person who knows how to think logically and reasonably for myself based on the evidence, and not someone just spouting regurgitated information.
    Lastly, although I fully support a woman’s right to choose abortion, I would like you to answer this question and again I will ask for a well reasoned and logically constructed response if you are capable, as I believe you are, and not just from your emotions. The question is this; If a fetus is not a full human being, how is it that if someone kills a pregnant woman, whether on purpose or by accident, how is it that they are charged with two counts of murder or manslaughter? Again, please respond logically and with reason and not just with pure emotion. Thank you in advance.
    Jacob S.

  • Your Name

    Jacob S:
    1. answering your last question: according to the Bible (Ex. 21) – i.e, God’s Holy Word, are you familar with it?- that is not the case. Damage to the fetus is property damage. I can’t speak for secular legislation, but that might have been influenced by Catholic doctrine.
    2. My Congressperson sends out questionaires all the time to his constituents to hear their views on subjects, and collects this info, for the same reason. Is every member of Congress part of a Communist/Nazi data collection conspiracy? Is every employer who seeks
    personal information from job applicants also part of this Nazi/Communist conspiracy? Jacob, do you wear a tin-foil hat?
    3. as to health-care reform, here is an article on the subject from a BUSINESS columnist:
    Is True Health-Care Reform Doomed?
    By Allan Sloan
    Thursday, August 27, 2009
    One of the good things about spending vacation time away from the computer and second-by-second news is that it’s easier to see the big picture. And one thing that came into focus during my recent beach time — and is even more clear today — is that the health-care “reform” making its way through Congress has disaster written all over it unless there’s a clear, understandable and affordable public option in the final version.
    My problem has nothing to do with the supposed socialization of medicine and the various other horrors invoked by opponents. My problem is that any piece of legislation that runs more than 1,000 pages — the House version weighs in at 1,017 — is certain to contain enough ambiguities, contradictions and just plain mistakes to ensure years of lucrative employment for countless lawyers, lobbyists and experts who will pick away at it.
    I’m profoundly unimpressed by people who wave around pieces of the legislation to “prove” this or that. That’s because something as long and complex as this has plenty of provisions that allow you to show whatever you want to show. A Rorschach test, as it were. It’s like citing verses from the Bible or the Koran to “prove” philosophies ranging from universal love to a sacred duty to destroy unbelievers in the name of God.
    I’m no fan of our existing health-care system, even though it’s been working fine for me because I’m well insured, have access to family and friends who are doctors, can afford out-of-network specialists, and have generally managed to end-run the hideous insurance company bureaucracies that drive more and more medical decisions.
    With all due respect, the idea that there is a “free market” for health-care consumers is nonsense. A free market assumes that participants are knowledgeable and understand the choices they’re being asked to make. That’s not the case with health care, as anyone who has tried to analyze Medicare-supplement plans or pick among insurance options offered by his employer can tell you. Should you find yourself in a rural area far from home with a mysterious and troubling pain, you’re not exactly in a position to bargain with the local walk-in clinic or hospital emergency room.
    The health-care status quo isn’t going to work over the long term. For one thing, absent a huge change, the cost of Medicare threatens to financially cripple the country. Plus, we already have non-medical forces determining how care works. Insurance companies increasingly try to tell doctors and hospitals and medical-device makers what procedures to perform, what to charge for them and what drugs to prescribe.
    Talk to any doctor in a practice that’s part of an insurance network, and you’ll probably find there’s at least one form-filler-outer for each physician. Medicare, which covers about 45 million people, isn’t any fun for doctors — some of the reimbursement levels are ludicrously low — but at least they know when they’ll get paid and what’s covered and what isn’t. Insurance companies are far less consistent in what they cover and what and when they pay.
    For the most part, the only ones who actually pay — or try to pay — the full stated price of hospitalization and prescription drugs are uninsured or underinsured people, who frequently go broke trying to cover their bills. People with good medical insurance and prescription-drug plans benefit from the steep discounts that insurers negotiate.

  • Somebody Else’s Name

    “Is every member of Congress part of a Communist/Nazi data collection conspiracy? Is every employer who seeks
    personal information from job applicants also part of this Nazi/Communist conspiracy?”
    Don’t be ridiculous. We have no members of Congress. All the apparent representatives and senators are actually animaltronic robots manufactured by the same company that made Salem the Cat for the 1990′s sitcom Sabrina the Teenaged Witch. Didn’t you recognize something a little difference about the last President? He was an early model.

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