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I am curious if there are any sources (halachic or hashkafic) that discuss the use of mood or personality altering substances.‎ From Caffeine or Chamomile tea all the way to psychiatric medication,‎ are they tools for serving Hashem,‎ or were we created a certain way and should focus our efforts on managing that reality using our own forces?‎

[Edit:‎ Specifically,‎ I'm curious about substances that make a person more functional and makes their perception of reality more accurate,‎ like substances with anti-‎anxiety properties for someone who is anxious,‎ as opposed to hallucinogens,‎ which are a different subject. Should we accept our personality extremities as G-‎d-given and work to direct them psychologically,‎ or do substances have a role to play in that management.]

Thanks!

  • The fruits of Genosar in Berachot 44a seem to have had a mind-altering effect on Reish Lakish. – Alex Oct 7 '20 at 16:27
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    Do sources that mention Coffee qualify as using caffeine? – Dov Oct 7 '20 at 18:08
  • @Dov Sure,‎ same thing – ak0000 Oct 8 '20 at 12:50
  • @msh210 I see the similarity,‎ but instead of asking if there is validity to disrupting one's sense of ordinary reality with chemical substances,‎ I'm wondering whether there is validity to using substances that increase the accuracy of a person's sense of reality & functioning,‎ eg anxiety medication for someone anxious,‎ or caffeine for someone not able to function.‎ If someone takes a drug that makes them better at Torah study,‎ that seems like a pretty different question hashkafically. Maybe it is good,‎ like healthy eating,‎ or maybe it is changing one's G-‎d-‎given personality,‎ etc.‎ – ak0000 Oct 8 '20 at 12:56
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As per your comment above about - "whether there is validity to using substances that increase the accuracy of a person's sense of reality & functioning,‎ eg anxiety medication for someone anxious,‎ or caffeine for someone not able to function.‎"

It writes in the Mishnah Berurah 89:22 the following:

וטיי"א וקאפ"ע מותר לשתותו קודם תפלה כדי שיוכל לכוין דעתו ולהתפלל ובפרט בהמקומות שרגילין בהם ואין מתיישב הדעת בלתם

Tea and coffee are permitted to drink before prayer in order that one is able to concentrate / direct his thoughts and to pray, especially in places where it is customary to drink them and one can’t concentrate without them.

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