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Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Should marijuana be legalized?

Daf Yomi Nazir 38

Over the last couple of years, cannabis consumption has become more and more acceptable in North America, many states and provinces now having legalized or decriminalized it.  Proponents of cannabis use claim that it is no worse than alcohol consumption and that, on the contrary, it is less addictive than alcohol, and therefore safer.  Are we presently witnessing a period similar to the Prohibition era, which will be followed by a consensus that cannabis is harmless and should be legalized across-the-board?

If one drank a quarter measure of wine, one may not teach (i.e. render a legal opinion).

Week in, week out, we are enjoined to drink wine to fulfill the mitzvos of Kiddush and Havdallah.  Far from being forbidden, in Judaism wine is sanctified.  But of course, the amount of wine we are required to drink on Shabbos is moderate; and obviously, no one is driving or operating heavy machinery after making Kiddush! 

Only once or twice a year are we told to drink more than that, on Purim and according to some opinions, on Simchas Torah.  Otherwise, although not forbidden, one should avoid drinking to excess.  Why?  As the Talmud teaches here, if you drink too much, you may not offer instruction.

You were sent to this world on a Divine mission.  You are here to teach the world about spirituality.  Your job is to spread as much Torah light as possible, utilizing every possible opportunity to infuse the world with spiritual energy.  When you are in an impaired frame of mind due to alcohol consumption, your render your mission ineffective.  Until you recover, you are going MIA on your Divine mission.
And certainly if that is true of alcohol, then think about how Heaven must feel about other drugs that take you away from being your best.  When you’re not 100%, how can you fulfill your Divine mission?  G-d needs you to be on, all the time.  You have an incredible destiny to accomplish; you don’t have time to taint that with substances that keep you from being your best!

You are here to instruct the world how to become an Abode for G-dliness.  Anything that takes you away from your mission is a test you need to ‘just say no’ to, no matter what society or the government feels about any particular substance.  Insofar as it keeps you from your best, it is illicit!  May you merit utilizing every precious moment on earth achieving your magnificent destiny!

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