The Shulchan Aruch in Yoreh De'ah 242:13 says one is forbidden to render halachic decisions when drunk (Shichur), does this include other "intoxicants" such as marijuana, etc.?

Also, in Orach Chaim 99 it says that it is forbidden to pray while drunk.

Would these situations include these other substances, or is it strictly fermented beverages?

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    hebrewbooks.org/… It's certainly forbidden as bad (read:terrible) practice to Paskin while high. Whether smelling constitutes ingestion or whether ingestion is necessary is not immediately clear.
    – Double AA
    May 8, 2015 at 4:57
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    Lost my previous comment... Argh... So the MB on OC99 makes a distinction between drinking alcohol and being in an unfit state to speak to HASHEM. The use of... ahem ... non-liquid intoxicants is certainly the latter, if not the former. May 8, 2015 at 9:00
  • @IsaacKotlicky where is the line drawn? would 10 cups of coffee lead to a state "unfit" to speak to HASHEM, what about a small dose of amphetamines?
    – warz3
    May 8, 2015 at 17:46
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    That's a VERY good question. Presumably it depends upon social acceptability. The S"A says that praying with a sufficient amount of alcohol in your system is assur regardless of intoxication. M"B adds that this is independent of the general issur of being unpresentable. Presumably anything that makes you act intoxicated falls under the latter rubrick when consumed in sufficient quantities to make you act abnormally. So 10 cups of coffee? Maybe not if you're used to it. But amphetamines? that's almost a definite yes. (Kavod/intoxication issue is potentially related to kalos rosh) May 8, 2015 at 18:01

1 Answer 1


The gemara, ketubot 12, forbids it after eating dates, because they make you very happy and that kind of distracts you. so it's very clear that the same applies to drugs. I must add that the gemara speaks only about saying halachot, not praying.

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    How do you know the prohibition on Paskining can apply without ingesting food/drink? Is it prohibited when you are tired? In pain?
    – Double AA
    May 10, 2015 at 2:51
  • @DoubleAA from logic. I mean look at the Rambam:כשם שאסור לכהן להכנס למקדש מפני השכרות כך אסור לכל אדם בין כהן בין ישראל להורות כשהוא שתוי. אפילו אכל תמרים או שתה חלב ונשתבשה דעתו מעט אל יורה שנאמר ולהורות את בני ישראל he is saying that there is not an specific דין שתייה. he is referring to any SUBSTANCE that atacks you concentration. just like the gemara added eating dates, without the need of a pasuk or an elaborate 'sebara' so you may add inhalation. May 10, 2015 at 3:23
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    I saw the rambam. I mentioned it above about 20 hours before you posted this. I don't know what logic you are using. Unless you think this applies when you are tired or sick too, then it seems to me you need some sort of ingestion to trigger the prohibition. (Also, the gemara saying something without explicit scriptural basis does not give you the right to make things up that seem reasonable.) We can have plenty of debate if smelling is like eating in general (a la Yom Kippur, tasting wine barrels, Reicha Milta, etc.)
    – Double AA
    May 10, 2015 at 3:27
  • @DoubleAA what makes you think that inhalation is no more than being tired. eating and drinking have one thing in common, influence from an outer source, the same applies with inhalation. May 10, 2015 at 3:36
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    Sir, eating and drinking have more in common than that. They both end up in your stomach, for one. I can't prove to you that inhaling is not included, but at the same time you can't prove to me that it is. It's just not dealt with there in the Rambam and your personal intuition is frankly worth very little to me. I don't even know you.
    – Double AA
    May 10, 2015 at 3:40

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