The secret Jewish Cannabis History and Wisdom teachings of all ages

Sunday, April 30, 2006

legalize marijuana, that what they say, hey.

hey, what's up true believers? guess what's goin on this weekend?

It's a big conflict for me this year, and, like other halacha vs. morality questions, it's more problematic in Israel.

You see kids, dope smoking is forbidden on the sabbath, except to save your life, of course. The World Cannabis March, a.k.a. The Million Marijuana March is the first saturday in May, and for a jew of the orthodox persuasion who smokes marijuana and cares for it's legalization, it might feel important to go to the cannabis march for the sake of solidarity with the cause of liberating God's creations from the yoke of heavyness and trauma. And so, in high school, I would dutifully walk over the Williamsburg bridge every first shabbos in May, to march in New York's Million Marijuana March, with my black hat and jacket, tie-clasp key strapped firmly to mine tie.

I later years, i'd get involved with the organization that put the march on, Cures Not Wars, certainly one of the most appreciated resources of my youth. has the local info for your local march, in whatever country or province you happen to dwell.

There's three in Israel this year, isn't that something? Tel aviv, Jerusalem and Eilat, oh my! I have no real involvement in the Jerusalem one, in Gan Sacher, and I wonder if I should even go, because it means something else to have an event here on Saturday, holy Saturday than it would in universal ol' America.

How much do I believe in Shabbos? So much, right? More than like anything, isn't that odd? How much am I to respect my own beliefs, how much to challenge them to duels to the death. I know Shabbos is deeper than the things we do to preserve it, and I also know that once those things are devalued, the priority flood gates rush open. If i'm not forced somehow to not work on Shabbos, I have no excuse not to work on shabbos.

Weed, reefer, pot, marijuana, lets say, as much as I love, I don't believe in the redemptive power of as much. I have not come to a theology where god rewards me for smoking grass, and appreciates the sacrifices I make in order to be able to nessesarily. I don't believe that cannabis consumption is inherently redemptive, a position I might have wanted to take at points in my youth.

And there is a school of thought like that in the psychedelic community, that the High is inhernetly divine, and You are Encharged to go to that place at all costs. Chayuv Inish libisumai, only that one day, is what we agreed.

"we", ha haha ha ha!

I love my loopholes, and used to dig getting high on shabbos from the shotties that gentiles would blow in my mouth upon being told of my situation.

"Hey. excuse me sir? Happy cannabis liberation day! I couldn't help but notice the phat blunt you've got there, and i'll tell you... I'm a religious jew, and cannot smoke on the Sabbath, saturday, nor can I even ask you for a hit or anything... But if you want to blow a shottie in my face, I wouldn't have to turn away."

What kind of stoner would refuse the chance to share in that? There are halachic issues with maris ayin, evil eye from people seeing him do this to me and somehow being led to think that he was actually doing it for me, as opposed to just, you know, blowing his own smoke where ever he wanted, but that might be secondary to the kiddush hashem of religious people turning out to be "cool" and supporting the movement.

It might still be a halachic problem, I don't do it very often, just when gentiles want to get me high for their own sake, do I have to stop them? It's more of a problem in public, I guess.

In Jerusalem, it's so loaded. One can only benfit from stuff done on Shabbos by gentiles, or those not chayuv in Shabbos... but in J-town, everybody's probably Jewish, so... supporting the movement is supporting Sabbath violation maybe.

Now... though I've been flirting with and talking about all sorts off anti-nomian values and ideas, i'm still inside, functionally orthoprax, and even though I might see the liberated future, I don't live there most of the time. To the degree that I will go outside of the boundary of the law, endangering perhaps my immortal soul, ha ha, as if, I have not unless it seemed really worth it. This is a general practical rule I tend to hold by, if you're going to risk your life, only do it for things worth dying for. Like, if i'm going to break a rule, it should be only if it's holier than if I had kept it, like the Yom Kippur Feast at the finishing of the Holy Temple construction, something on that level. I feel like g-d respects that more than just violation from sloth or convenience. It's really, really wrong to break shabbos for money, because what does that say about money? But to break Shabbos for love...?

I've known people who related to marijuana as a protective amulet, that as long as they had some on them, they were safe from harm. There are Rastafarian sects, like the bobo if I'm not mistaken, where death is seen as a symptom of sin or failure, and marijuana as a protection against that. It would be cool if that was how it works...

I was talking to a friend tonight about a controversial wedding we'd been to earlier that week. The teachers of the school that the bridegroom was learning at wouldn't go to the wedding ceremony itself, because of theological issues with how the wedding was done (they used the invocation "like the law of moses and israel" but all the blessings were done by a woman, and the wife-purchase thing was left out too.) One of the teachers, however, came for the dancing afterwards, and spoke publicly before the school to clarify and open up discussion about why he didn't go, and why he supports the love happening anyway. While he couldn't be a part of what was happening, partially because of a sense of being pressured into taking a stand to support the way it was done, partially because of his responsibility as head of the School, but how that didn't mean he thought they were wrong in doing it the way that they did it. Really, he supports them, their love and their decisions... he just can't be a part of the ritual.

Is that hypocritical? To say I believe that something is good, but can't actually be involved in it for reasons of the holy? maybe. But i'm doing that too. Jerusalem in Gan Sacher, this saturday at 4. Tel aviv, Eilat, i don't have the details here, but google aleh yarok or check out the affor linked and they should have everything you need to know.

do what thou wilt, right? ha


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can always eat the herb.

10:20 PM

Blogger Yoseph Leib said...

right, right. I'm not the biggest fan of the shabbos ganja food, like some friends might be... it's abit hard to feel comfortable with, and shabbos is so social, i don't know that i dig being that out of it during it.

i've had some positive shalos shudis mushroom experiences. ganja food is perfectly valid, especially in wine solutions, the yaynot mibusamim that we sing about in mah yedidot is perfectly viable. shabbos!

8:11 PM

Anonymous alefjiro said...

i love your loopholes 2.

3:16 AM

Anonymous doveleh said...

Yosef Leib, Just stumbled across your site 'v'neheneti meod'.
I was at the chassana you mentioned, and I thought, all in all, Chaviva did a good job as mesaderet kiddushin. At the same time, I did notice that I didn't hear the essentials of a kosher ketubah when it was read out. When I left, after the chuppah, I saw Shalom Brodt drive up to the house, and I mentioned to a friend on the phone that I had seen him arrive just now. My friend said he probably came late to avoid the chuppah, and I said no, but I see from your post I was wrong. Now I'm wondering about my own presence at the chuppah. The truth is, I assumed the chuppah would be essentially kosher, as Chaviva is a student of Aryeh Strikovsky, and does a 'mesaderet kiddushin' really invalidate a kosher kinyan?
Had I known, I would have experienced the conflict you mention between valuing the couple and being -perhaps- held back by the halacha.
Anyway, kol haKavod.

6:37 PM

Anonymous Michelle said...

hey doll! i did NOT know that you had a blog. i thought you'd gone back to the u.s. or i'd have called you about the gan sacher thing, though obviously you knew! ;-) plenty of religious peeps stopped by (including one cool couple that the woman moved to jerusalem from amsterdam and her relatives were founders of the FIRST CAFE there!!!) and high-fived us, saying they wish we'd run the annual event on a non-shabbat day, but the thing is it's a global event and we don't choose the day. we didn't smoke at the park anyway, bc we were on the down-low, you know, after so many arrests in previous years and as a result NOBODY was arrested at the jerusalem event AND i got sheera frenkel to write about it in JPOST. sweet! i did hear that the tel aviv event was shut down by the cops, though, but eilat was also all good. you should join the english forum over at


11:42 PM

Blogger Laura NR said...

Its funny that you refered to yourself as a stoner. That term is usually considered to be a negative description of a leaf hugging, herb indulgent person. Itas funny that you wrote about this, because i happen to have been in the middle of a draft about sinai being one big mountain of smoke. one big trip. i sometimes think that a lot of things that happened in the bible could've been mistaken for things that were halucinated. I don't mean to be cynical. Joseph, get these published and sell your torah. Idol worshipper. Just kidding, love you more than anything!

8:00 PM

Anonymous him said...

there this holy jew that i know that says that jesus is the result of a mushroom trip either in ireland or scotland i'm not shore wish he said

2:29 AM

Blogger Rishus said...

hey for me its pikuach nefesh.
since im suicdal, like seriously suicidal, without weed,

it is actually commanded by the torah that i toke all shabbes...

11:59 AM

Anonymous doveleh said...

My mistake. I confused Chaviva and Bonna Haberman, who actually did the chuppah. Apologies.

2:36 PM

Anonymous avi said...

yo holy rebbe. its avi here. how was sinai? gevalt! im loving your torahs and they are giving me strength all the time. i dont know if you're going to rainbow but ill be at the 10000 lakes music festival july 19th... it'd be awesome to see you there.

6:57 AM

Anonymous shmuel said...

Torah isn't the hallucination, it's the existence that appears to have no meaning that is the hallucination.

Torah is the anti-hallucination.

The real question to be pondered is: why are we given the hallucination?

6:00 PM

Blogger mendyperlman said...

More power to you brother!

2:15 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great to read..just one question: why dont orthodox jews have a weed and hash-flavoured cake-roll on shabbes instead of smoking, or do they?

4:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I need help, I know I shouldn't even be typing because it is Shabbat; but I have smoked Gonja so how much worse could typing be. You see the problem is is that I can not manage without weed. It mentally and physically helps me from going crazy. I live in constant pain due to fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, and severe depression (even suicidal thoughts sometimes because the pain is too great). When I smoke I feel so much better, like the difference between day and night. But I feel so quilty too. I am working on trying to be a better Jew, but I just can't give up the smoke on Shabbat or any time for that matter. If it helps me is it okay to smoke on Shabbat or am I to suffer? PLEASE if any one of authority might be able to help me with this I would feel much better with an answer one way or the other. I only feel better when I smoke it, I tried to eat it but doesn't work near as good as smoking it. If you have any answers to my dilema, I'd REALLY appreciate it!!!

9:55 AM

Blogger Yoseph Leib said...

see above, bro.

12:52 AM

Blogger Lisa said...

I am asking on Yom Kippur if smoking my medicine is ok? It is not for pleasure, it is to help pain.

6:52 AM


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