I saw this question somewhere else said as a joke but, seriously, does a hookah require tevilah (immersion)? After all, why wouldn't smoking be like ingesting food, as on some level you are ingesting the tobacco and sometimes it is even flavored?

(Please do not do the anti-smoking rants: we covered that extensively here.)

  • What bracha rishona do you make?
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 24, 2012 at 17:55
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    I'm still confused why anyone thinks there is any food involved.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 24, 2012 at 18:21
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    @DoubleAA I don't see why you brought up b'racha. Do you have a source or reason to say that hilchos b'racha rishona and hilchos t'vila are related? If so, and you have an argument that says we don't make a b'racha when using a hookah, then by all means post an answer.
    – msh210
    Commented Jun 24, 2012 at 18:24
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    @HachamGabriel then why would it need tevillah? Do you tovel a flower vase? A besamim box? A perfume bottle? Tevillat Keilim is for keilim that touch food!
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 24, 2012 at 18:27
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    the Beis Meir also wrote that since fumes from tobacco are ingested through one’s mouth while smoking, it might be comparable to shesiya (drinking), Commented Jun 24, 2012 at 18:31

1 Answer 1


What you are asking - whether smoking can be considered eating/drinking - is actually the subject of a disagreement in the Rishonim. Tosafos (AZ 66b) directly imply that smoking is considered drinking. The Rif (Chullin 32 [in Rif pages]) directly implies otherwise. This all comes to the fore in the Halachic question of ריחא מלתא - whether 'scent is a thing', i.e. when cooking two things in the same oven where there is no transference of flavor but there is a transference of scent, is the scent Halachicly like flavor in that a non-kosher scent can render something non-kosher. The letter-of-the-law as ruled by the Shulchan Aruch and Rema in YD 108 clearly follows the Rif. However, Rema says to be concerned about the opinion of Tosafos unless doing so will cause one a significant loss.

In summary, for those who follow the Rema there would be reason to look at smoking as a form of drinking, and therefore one could posit that unless it is difficult to do so the Rema require tevilah for the hookah. On the other hand according to the other Poskim including the Shulchan Aruch who hold like the Rif, smoking does not constitute any form of eating/drinking, and thus the hookah would not require tevilah.

However, based on my argument here - that something which is not edible is not Halachically called food - one could say that even the Rema will not require tevilah for the bowl that carries the tobacco, though maybe still for thing which holds the water.

  • And what about a glass flower vase?
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 24, 2012 at 18:32
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    @DoubleAA this would only apply to 'scent' that is ingested via the mouth. I realize that makes scent the wrong word, but I can't really think of a better one.
    – Dov F
    Commented Jun 24, 2012 at 18:33
  • If smell counted as drinking, why do I see lemons and other smelable stuff getting passed around in synagogue on Yom Kippur? It seems clear from that practice that we do not consider it like drinking. As such, the hookah is not a "kli seudah". And actually, the water which only exists to cool the smoke is LESS of the "food" here than the tobacco.
    – Ze'ev
    Commented Nov 9, 2012 at 5:38
  • Hi Dov, What is your email address or how to get access to your blog post? Thanks!
    – Shmerel
    Commented Oct 30, 2022 at 9:58

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