Photo (cc) by Torben Bjørn Hansen
Jews around the world are celebrating Passover, which runs through April 11 this year, and that means festivities and family gatherings but also dietary restrictions. While beer and most other alcohol is prohibited during Passover, rabbis have given marijuana the green light, so you can get high without guilt — at least from a religious perspective.
Ben Greenberg, a New York City-based rabbi, who was the head of a Denver-based synagogue while Colorado was enacting its law legalizing marijuana, told The Daily Beast:
There are really two different layers of prohibitions during Passover. One of them is specific to the Ashkenazic Jewish community, and the other one is the biblical prohibition, which is that you can’t have any leaven — no grains. The additional layer of prohibition is that European Jews, several hundred years ago, added that you can’t have anything that might look like a grain. So they don’t eat beans or rice on Passover.
Although marijuana isn’t a member of the grain family, Greenberg said it’s best to avoid pot-infused edibles during Passover.
“Because the problem with edibles is it might be processed in a way that includes leavening, or might come in contact with foods that are not kosher for Passover,” he explained.
Naturally, some rabbis have opposing viewpoints on marijuana. According to The Jewish Daily Forward, one Israeli rabbi who didn’t want to be named said he is against marijuana use for pleasure. But he did agree that pot is kosher year-round.
Efraim Zalmanovich, the chief rabbi of Mazkeret Batya and author of “Alcoholism and Drugs in Judaism,” told The Jewish Daily Forward:
“Cannabis isn’t chametz, and you can quote me on that,” he reassures. “When it comes to smoking in general, I would say it’s a good time to stop. But if not, then the only issue is lighting up. On holidays, you’re still not supposed to start a fire, but you can transfer it. If there’s a candle already burning, you can pass the light to a cigarette. So if you smoke it or eat it, it’s not a problem.”
Even though marijuana may not be forbidden during Passover from a religious point of view, make sure you’re aware of your state’s laws governing its sale and use if you do choose to partake.
What do you think about using marijuana during Passover? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.