I once heard from the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory, in a private audience, an observation about drugs.
He was speaking about the effect on a person taking drugs. He was, incidentally, very careful about not saying anything negative about anybody. He said that the opinion of the Torah in general is that the person should be the master over his or her self, and enslavement of any sort is wrong.
Can a person still be the master over himself when involved with drugs and other addictive substances?
The problem with using any kinds of drugs or almost anything that has a little bit of psychoactive material is the same. Indeed, almost everything is psychoactive, including bread. If one fasts and then takes a piece of bread, it is possible to see how many changes are made in one's psyche.
The specific problem, however, with drugs is that people come relatively fast to a point of no return. In truth there is never a point of no return; but one quickly reaches a point from where it is very hard, almost impossible, to return...
The word is kitana, or kuttonet (not kara, the pumpkin or squash which confused you). It is usually translated as "flax", "linen", "tunic", "garment" and so on. Flax and hemp are similar, both physically and in their products - seeds for oil and for food, and strong cloth. Given also that hemp was one of the most common fabrics in the ancient world (hence shared etymology of "cannabis" and "canvas"), and given that Hebrew is famously vague in the meanings of its words, I think we have fairly good reason for giving the Encyclopoedia Britannica more credence than your opinion (though I invite you to substanitiate it).
The real question is what benefit Rav Yehuda was worried that illiterate men might derive. Makes you think...
Whilst on the subject, if you have a quality bible from before the 1930s, the chances are it is made of hemp.
You're correct about the acacia wood. It can be translated as "craziness". Obviously this is intended in the good sense, i.e. that we have to serve G-D in an unlimited fashion. Though, i must say, i never saw it as referring to drugs but rather working hard to go beyond one's limitations.
In short I haven't seen any Toarh source that says one took drugs.
I'm not a Hebrew scholar, so I am relying on translations, but many texts translate it as noted. See 'Hebraic Literature' by Maurice H. Harris, in Google books, p. 75. Or google: "Nedarim, fol. 49, col. 1 hemp". Perhaps someone more learned can comment on the accuracy - any rabbis listenning?
Leaving canabis aside, acacia, from which the tabernacle was made, and which is saluted (Abodah Zarah 24b), contains DMT, (and apparently the Hebrew word derives from the word 'nonsense', but again, my Hebrew is poor). See 'Biblical Entheogens: a Speculative Hypothesis', by Prof. Shanon of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Time and Mind, Vol. 1, No 1, March 2008 , pp. 51-74), which describes his theory in detail.
A hembane design on the High priest's hat? (Josephus Antiquities of the Jews 3.7.6)
Finally, a respectful note to the editor: I haven't tried mandrakes, but many published descriptions note their psychoactive properties.
please post reliable sources.
wishing you all the best,
Kaneh Bosem fragrant cane, linked to kannabis, Scythian word for cannabis, by etymologist Sula Benet. Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan marshalls evidence in Living Torah
Rabbeinu Be'cha'yei ben Acher: psychedelics are the purest of foods, and the tree of life and manna were the best of them (quoted by Shanon in Biblical Entheogens: a Speculative Hypothesis in Time and Mind, vol 1, pp. 51-74)
Zohar: There is no grass or herb that grows in which G-ds wisdom is not greatly manifested and which cannot exert great influence in heaven
Rav Yehudah: good to eat the essence of hemp seed; but it is not lawful to mention this in the presence of an illiterate man, because he might derive a benefit from the knowledge not meant for him
Nedarim, fol. 49, col. 1
Heroin, like many drugs is an alkaloid, alkaloids tend to be bitter. The bulb of the poppy from which the syrup is harvested is green and looks like a big green grape. The way the cut is made to harvest the poppy -- how the bud is held -- is similar to who one holds a poisonous snake to milk its venom. The milky sap that comes out is similar to the venom that is milked.
Why would it be this passage have to interpreted only allegorically?
I also note that when I read the parsha that day, it was very scary to me as every passage of rebuke resonated strongly with our times. And yet I also had a sense that the rebukes are not rebukes at the deeper levels, they are ...
Wahsington Crossing , PA
Fear not! trust in G-D!