The first night of Passover was last weekend, and as families gather for their Seder meals, here is a friendly reminder that cannabis is a part of Jewish sacred texts.
Cannabis in sacred texts
Cannabis is mentioned in the Torah, Tanakh, Talmud, and Shulchan Aruch, as well as writings by many prominent Jewish scholars. In the Torah, kaneh bosem – also sometimes spelled Q’aneh-Bosm – is a plant used by Moses in a ritual offering to God. Kaneh bosem is a “fragrant” or “aromatic cane,” and it is commonly translated to cannabis. The Talmud also refers to growing cannabis, and the Shulchan Aruch suggests using cannabis for Shabbat candle wicks.
Cannabis used in worship
There is also archaeological evidence for cannabis being used as a part of Jewish worship. Archaeologists discovered some extremely well-preserved cannabis in a 2,700-year-old temple in Tel Arad. The temple was in the Negev desert, about 59 miles south of Tel Aviv, and the cannabis was found on the temple’s altars. According to the BBC, evidence suggests that the cannabis was burned to “induce a high” during the temple’s worship.
Cannabis in Jewish tradition
Amazingly, the word “cannabis” was also in the Mishna, a written collection of Jewish oral traditions, rituals, and laws.
[T]he Academy of Hebrew Language took to Twitter to explain that cannabis appears in the Mishna, written down in approximately 200 CE, where, to be precise, it is spelled cannabus. So, yes, the high authority on Hebrew language is claiming that pot is, linguistically at least, very Jewish. …The Academy tweets that in Hebrew, cannabis is cannabos, or hashish, which is of course, an Arabic word, written here with the Hebrew chet as the first letter, or “ch.” “It’s interesting to know that the plant name appears in the Mishnaic literature,” the Academy adds.
While there is by no means a consensus within modern day Judaism about cannabis, it is fascinating to see how it was used in one of the world’s oldest faiths. We can consider how natural CBD flowers and oils can benefit our physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being, whatever we believe. At Arete Hemp, we want to wish our Jewish readers a safe and happy Passover holiday. Chag Sameach!