Is smoking good for you? Most sane people will tell you that it’s not, including people who themselves are smokers! Isn’t it strange that we sometimes consciously make choices that are bad for us?

In this week’s Torah portion, we are instructed by Moses to choose life. Why do we need to be instructed to do the obvious? The Torah recognizes that, although we may very well know what is good for us and what is not, we still need to be reminded to make the right choices.

Overeating, drugs, and smoking are all harmful activities. Yet countless people engage in them all the time. It’s not enough for parents and educators to simply convey that smoking or excessive drinking is dangerous. Youngsters cannot always comprehend the long-term consequences of their actions, so we must actively remind children and students to make proper choices. Choosing life isn’t always easy.

TALK TO YOUR KIDS about making choices based on long-term good as opposed to short-term pleasure.


  • What are some reasons we do things that are bad for us?
  • How can we learn to “choose life” when challenged?
  • Talk about the slippery slope: what’s wrong with just one joint, etc.?

By Rabbi Moshe Becker

Values & Ethics—Through a Jewish Lens is created by Fred and Joyce Claar to bring the wisdom of Judaism into family discussions.