Waist Removal

One creative way to lose weight.

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Comments (68)

(68) Steven, August 19, 2008 1:20 PM

freedom to choose vs. the grandchildren

Sir, Too much wanting freedom of choice and not enough wanting to spend time with the grandchildren? Huh? I think you have been brainwashed to believe that a government or higher authority knows better what is best for us than each individual using their own sense of kindness and compassion for themselves and others. It is not a perfect world, but I am not looking forward to living in your kind of world where big brother is free to dictate what is appropriate in how I live my life.

(67) S, August 16, 2008 5:17 PM

Why is this commentary on Aish.com?

As mentioned almost 60 times by the people before me, this commentary does not relate to AISH's mission for inreach. Rabbi's message coflicts with Jewish idea of ot shaming people. The eating disorder epidemic is also on the rise. As studies show, most people who are "overweight" are NOT at risk of getting heart disease, diabetes or any of the other conditions you mentioned. Rabbi Solomon should read more about the rising numbers of people with eating disorders in our community. As a psychotherapist, I am shocked that he has not yet encountered people with such diseases. There are good articles about eating disorders on this website too. Moreover, many people who are "overweight", itself an arguable term (the height-weight charts do not account for muscle weight which is heavier than fat)have genetic predispositions to having higher weights and their healthy weight range would still be considered overweight. On the other hand, many people who are overweight might suffer with overeating or binge eating disorder, which is a medical condition wich should be treated. I am surprised that Rabbi Salomon is not aware of such conditions, being a noted psychotherapist. Rabbi Salomon I myself, and others as well, would appreciate it if you could make a video adressing the comments people made to this video. Also, can you also write or make a video about eatig disorders (including binge eatig disorder) to show people you are aware of them? Thank you.

(66) Anonymous, August 5, 2008 1:12 PM

There are other ways the government can help

I think that the government can possibly help the weight problem, but with other ways. How about the fact that the price of healthy food is far more expensive that the not so healthy food. There may be some people out there that would like to lose weight but just can't afford it (losing weight can costs a lot of money). If the government really cared, they can set up free gyms, free weight loss meetings and do something about the price of healthy food. They can also give incentives or tax breaks to people who lose weight substantially (they can be weighed at the meetings where there are other people in the same boat and not at work where it may be embarrassing to be the only fat one there).

(65) chaya, July 26, 2008 6:36 PM

for real?

Measuring peoples' waists is an insane idea. People who are overweight are aware that they are overweight, they do not need to be publically shamed for something they may not have much control over.

(64) SusanE., July 16, 2008 3:52 PM

WoW.........over 60 Posts ! !

Since reading this article and posting a few weeks ago, I have watch the video again and read all the posts again.

This is a hot topic rabbi. I see people are still posting.

My views have not changed. Nor my waist size ...Phew !!

previously posted under "Hmmmm Where to Start", Susan 8:15am posted on 6/24

(63) natan a silver, July 14, 2008 4:34 PM


It's kind of ironic that when I viewed this video (14th July'08) there was an advert encouraging people to make money by selling junk food! Am I missing something?!

(62) Daniel M. Perez, July 10, 2008 10:05 AM


It's also a Torah law not to shame people, and what Japan is doing, what you are suggesting be done in the US, is nothing more than goverment-sponsored shaming into conformity and submission.

I have an idea, let's have the government also regulate our height, and skin color, and IQ, and religion and ethnicity! It's all a sliding scale from what you suggest to such totalitarian control.

You, sir, are not a Rabbi I ever want as my spiritual guide, not when you are espousing comments like this and claiming Torah as your back-up for the systematic embarrasment of people.

(61) Roy, June 26, 2008 3:50 AM

Wonderful Idea!

There you go! Let's institute this command-and-control procedure now! It's a natural outgrowth of socialized medicine. Why shouldn't government be able to control (directly or indirectly) people's food intake? After all, these types of social controls have been tried before with enormous success. Germany and Russia are only two examples.

(60) Anonymous, June 26, 2008 1:14 AM

I am apalled and very dissapointed.

This is totally unbefitting for Aish's standards. I am in shock that Aish would actually post this. I'm not even addressing the fact that in my opinion it would never work. This idea from Rabbi Salomon is horribly demeaning and humiliating, and not at all a Torah outlook (and I happen not to be overweight.) As other people have mentioned, do you know how many people are unhealthily underweight because of eating disorders in this crazy weight-obsessed society? Do you know people who have died from it? (I do.) And of those that don't have actual eating disorders- do you know how distorted and messed up peoples' outlook is about their bodies and food? How OBSESSED people are with the idea of getting thin? This is in NO way a Torah ideal. Yes, being overweight is unhealthy and therefore less than ideal from a Torah point of view, but the tenets that the Torah espouses are far bigger than your waist-line. Aren't we are essentially souls? Your body are not the real you. We must treat our bodies with respect, but being THIN is not our purpose in this world. If being overweight is something that someone struggles with, perhaps they should be working on it, but the last thing they need is for others to make them feel horrible. They get that enough of that, anyway. The "sitting next to someone overweight on the airplane" line was just terrible. There are many, many areas of imperfection which we need to be correcting in ourselves- areas that cannot always be seen by others. I know so many people who may carry a few extra pounds but whose souls are far more refined and perfected than those with the perfect body and "perfect waist-line". In G-d's eyes, it is very likely that a good and kind person who is overweight is far dearer that the weight-obsessed, exercise-obsessed person whose only thoughts are when they can get to the gym or when they are allowed their next cucumber stick.
I am deeply disappointed, and would recommend Aish takes this off before it insults and demeans any more people.

(59) Daniela, June 25, 2008 11:43 PM


You'll never hear me say that genetics is the reason for our national weight problem, but the Japanese are more likely to be thinner in the first place, and as a society be more sickened by the sight of us fat people. They can get away with this kind of drivel because there are probably so few that would be able to do anything about it because it's not a national problem for them. They're just terrified of becoming like us, but they're completely full of it. Their genetics don't allow them to get as fat as us. Our population, on the other hand, is full of people from many countries with gene pools that make gaining weight a very easy thing to do. Here, the cheapest food is also the most fattening. If the typical Japanese diet were cheap here, more people would be on it. But because of our (mostly) Northern European genetics, it doesn't take much for most of our population to become overweight.

As for your opinion on what to do about our problem here, it's very easy for you to say this as a thin person, Rabbi. There isn't a single fat person in this country who doesn't know that it's unhealthy and inconvenient, despite how it looks to you. Most obese people know more about nutrition than anyone. Go ahead, ask any fat person on the street what is the calorie content of just about any food and chances are they'll tell you.

Self esteem ? You try being bombarded with infomercials and ads for exercise equipment or diet plans filled with "after" pictures of people who say the same script in every advert that they feel so good about themselves now that they look good, implying that there is no way you can be fat and feel good about yourself. It's something that has so permeated our culture that a teenager can be slightly plump (in a natural way, not because she has no control) with a perfectly healthy level of self esteem, and all of a sudden after watching maybe a day of TV, she's been introduced to this idea and now questions her worth for the first time. Now multiply this by millions. Like it or not, most people respond to this self doubt by retreating into a protective, large body.

You want something to blame for the obesity epidemic in America ? It's not the food industry, it's not the restaurant industry, it's not the fast food or magazine industries. It's every industry in this country associated with the sale of sex appeal. It's sexual competition and pressure that's gotten this country fat, and no one is willing to admit it, let alone look into it and study it. Who wants to admit they have sexual insecurities ?? It's easier to blame everything else. As soon as people got the idea that you have to look like a centerfold to attract men, they began to shoot themselves in the foot to avoid the pain of rejection and losing to competition. And now with women acting like men sexually, men now are gaining weight by the droves because finally they, too, are being told they have to look like an athlete to get a women.

The answer to our problem is not regulating weight by law, the answer is for us to start encouraging and even demanding modesty so people can start disassociating body attractiveness with success in life.

You want to call me a maker of excuses, go ahead. The problem will not go away until the above mentioned happens, no matter how many laws we try to pass.

(58) hersh, June 25, 2008 10:45 PM

to morly goldberg

you can dissagree but whats with the attitude? your mommy didnt teach you how to talk respectfully? appologize at once!!

(57) Ahron Weiss, June 25, 2008 7:01 PM

Please Tell Me You're Kidding

I have a good idea, why don't we outlaw cholent and kugel in this country. But a law is no good unless we enforce it, so how about a SWAT team storms random shuls on Shabbos to make sure the kiddish consists of raw vegetables. The last thing we as Jews (or anyone for that matter) needs is the government reaching into our daily decisions. Yes, American society may be a little too caught up in "freedom" of choice, but who do you want legislating your decisions? And based on what? Let's see...gay marriage: good ...abortion:good ...eruv in your town:bad. I'm sorry Rabbi, but I don't want a secular society making very many of my decisions! Ithought the people at Aish understood that you can't legislate ... you can only educate!

(56) NesanelS, June 25, 2008 6:35 PM

As our rabbis say

In the Talmud, my father told me, that a student once came to learn by a rabbi. For the first few days the rabbi only spoke about health. The student wondered out loud to his fellow students, he said, 'I didn't come to hear about health, I came to learn Torah?!' They answered him, 'our dear friend, when your rabbi speaks about health, it is because he cares about you! B'briut -with good health BS"D!

(55) Sandra, June 25, 2008 6:20 PM

People of all sizes get sick too. You are not being fair and are obviously more concerned with a bigoted view of peoples physical size and not their neshama.

(54) Paul Newman, June 25, 2008 4:36 PM

Torah Verse

Where is the Torah verse that you quoted? (It's a mitzvah to guard your health?)

(53) Eli Cohen, June 25, 2008 4:17 PM

Why are so many people so angry at the Rabbi?

All the Rabbi is saying is that sometimes accountability is what will get a person to overpower their Yetzer Hora to overeat.He is not serious about really getting the government involved.
He is just bringing to our attention an extreme way of discipline and even if the gov't would get involved it would still do more good than harm. I am sure that the US government is fair enough to treat this with care and not be harsh on the people who have medical problems. Imagine the incentives they can give!!
And they can make minimum waist lines to take care of anorexia!
Only question is why do men have to have the smaller waist in Japan? I think 33 inches is not so simple...

(52) goshen4000, June 25, 2008 1:44 PM

I think obesity and its negative effect on one's health is enough punishment as it is. Hashem lets us make our own choices in this world, with a warning to choose what is right lest we deal with the consequences. I don't think we need government involvement in this.

(51) Anonymous, June 25, 2008 11:52 AM


I agree with the overall point of Rabbi Salomon's video, this has become, unfortunately, a definite problem in the frum community. However, I dont think such extreme measures are the way to go about solving the problem. First of all, I believe Rabbi Salomon said that we focus to much on self-esteem problems, etc. While that may be true, I don't think it's my place to say if it is, I highly doubt that measuring people's waists will help the self-esteem deparment any (especially, if I may, among young women). To address the Rabbi's second point, indeed obesity has become a problem, but I think if a group of people can get their act together and set the example by slowly starting to eat properly and exercise, the "fad" will spread. I believe greatly in learning and changing habits by example. Not by enforcement.

(50) Joseph, June 25, 2008 8:11 AM

100% AGREE

I'm glad that R' Salomon put this video up. There is a huge problem in the Jewish community in regards to being overweight. Eating healthy and exercise will only help you and prevent diseases and other terrible illnesses.

(49) morley goldberg, June 25, 2008 12:56 AM


Yo Rabbi- what is your waist size, honestly ? And what about bald or balding people ? There ought to be a law against that too. Old bald people scare their grandkids. At least you have the chutzpah to address the issue of fat folks. Mazel Tov. But you have to do something about your hairline.

(48) Anonymous, June 24, 2008 11:47 PM

i am apalled that aish put this video on their website and emailed this out for people to see. as an eighteen year old female who just returned from seminary, i feel the message of this video is TERRIBLE. nowadays anorexia is rampant in the frum society. specifically the dieting habits of seminary girls who are all pressured by shidduchim and weight gain from dorm life are extremely unhealthy. people are dieting in an uinhealthy way using fad diets, starving themselves, laxatives, bulemia etc. these unhealthy eating habits are causing many health problems and the rate of infertility has risen dramatically. this is the issue Rabbi Salamon should address instead of suggesting to put more pressure on. nowadays in the frum community unhealthy dieting is a bigger issue than obesity....u nishmartem meod lnafshoseichem should be told to all the "dieters." dieting is ok as long as a healthy balanced diet is maintained.

(47) moshe, June 24, 2008 10:54 PM


I hear what the rabbi is saying. It might be cruel for the government to control our eating habits, but it would definitley be a great incentive for people to lose weight- which is what most people want to do and are trying! 2nd- you are right about the torah stating "v'nishmartem"- it is safer to our health if we watch our weight. It might not be aggreeable by all but i thank rabbi salomon for pointing this out. it is surely something to think about!

(46) Anonymous, June 24, 2008 8:58 PM

Name tags with health issues?

I think it would be a good idea to be able to control the number of obese people in todays unhealthy world.

But a point that would be relevant if such a thing would ever happen should be taken into consideration. Would people who have a disease or malfunction of their body that causes them to gain weight or even to become obese have to wear a tag declaring that? It isn't their fault, and posssibly simply beyond their control. It should be no one's business why or why not they can get their weight off. Surely the public 'eyes' will be curious to know!

(45) imanonov, June 24, 2008 7:02 PM


Like all things, there are plusses and minuses. As they say: fat people might live shorter, but they do sit longer at the table!
By the way: Will all due respect, but the much mis-quoted pasuk "venishmartem me'od lenafshoseichem" speaks about our soul, not our body, as the context is Avodah zarah.

(44) Chana, June 24, 2008 5:10 PM

Not a bad idea!

Actually I think this is a good idea, especially if there were rewards for those who meet the standards. For example: lower health care cost, lower airfaires(good idea!), reward points, etc., etc. It would also help if there was a really good weight loss program that was FREE for those who struggle with weight gain.

(43) Ruth Housman, June 24, 2008 5:08 PM

the Wait Police

It's clear we have an obesity problem in this country. We have so much available to us and there is a politics to all of this that has to do with poverty and also advertising. There was a recent movie about a documentary film about eating fast food at MacDonald's and the person healthy at the beginning, was very ill by the end of one month. There are all sorts of things to blame for this and one is, government support for the growing of corn which is now invading our food supply in the form of corn syrup. Not good for us. Take a look at the ingredients in a lot of our food. We have an "organic" food movement and also we have people with no idea how to eat in a healthy manner or what is happening to corrupt the food supply, namely pollution, antibiotics in feed, and a host of problems related to food.

What to do about this? Laws that have to do with weight are discriminatory and unfair. There are people who have to eat diets high in "crap" because it's all they can afford and there are people who have emotional problems that do contribute mightily to being overweight. I am a therapist. I know. Being at the poles, too too thin as in anorexia, or vastly overweight is connected to a host of issues.

Yes, I feel your suggestion isn't going to solve this problem and it's plain discriminatory. Being overweight is not a simple on/off issue. However, education is important and we need to educate about the constituents of a good, healthy diet, and also the input we as consumers do have, in real terms, that power to determine what we eat, and where.

This is such a complex issue that the reductionism of your piece I feel is not doing justice to a serious and yes, ongoing health issue that is multi dimensional.

(42) Shula, June 24, 2008 4:04 PM

Who is paying for insurance?

If the business is paying for their employees' health insurance, then they have a reason to measure waistlines. They may get lower premiums if their employees are not obese. However, if the business is not paying for health insurance, then the business has no right to measure its employees unless it is part of their job where appearance is a job requirement.

(41) Diane, June 24, 2008 3:25 PM

.....wait just a minute!

First, I have to find my tape measure to see if I'm under the 35.4 inches, then I'll be glad to give you my opinion.

(40) Marjorie Mazel Hecht, June 24, 2008 2:30 PM

Not a good idea

I agree with Benjamin Franklin:

"They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security."

(39) David Caplin, June 24, 2008 2:24 PM

Great Idea!

Torah is the Law. Should the obese person be allowed to Steal my (health care) money? Should the obese person be allowed to Covet my food? I hope you get my point without the need to extend my list. We are told to appoint judges over ourselves. "Thin Police" are not a bad idea.

(38) Lawrence, June 24, 2008 12:45 PM

I think Salomon has lost it

I have more or less unsuccessfully battled a weight problem my entire life. I would almost have thought that he is being tongue in cheak with this one.

I cannot believe that a social worker, who supposedly deals with people who confront difficulties in their lives, can espouse this Nazi-like doctrine.

"noted psychotherapists" of this ilk should have their licenses removed.

(37) Susan, June 24, 2008 12:32 PM

keeping in line with waist measurement

Wow. Theoretically, this sounds like a plan. But, what about us folks with a thyroid condition? or, who for love or money can't lose weight because they are full of toxins? Can't control that 100%. I, do not over eat or eat fast food, can't afford to with my health issues, I do not have high blood pressure, it is on the low side, I am not diabetic, I am just overweight with a thyroid problem. I can starve or I can eat normal my weight doesn't budge. If I happen to over eat just a little at a party, I will put on a lb or so. Please, you cannot lump all overweight people in with each other. We are not all created the same!

(36) Rosemary, June 24, 2008 12:29 PM

Why should it have to come this far?

My question is: Why don't people Stop stuffing their faces Before they can no longer squeeze themselves into a booth at the Greasy Spoon? If they realized what they were doing to themselves early enough the government wouldn't have to watch their weight (and health) for them.

(35) Jeremy, June 24, 2008 11:51 AM

More Gov't Bloating?

Government is best for fighting wars with our enemies where the objective is killing people and breaking things. We don't need it to practice those very same skills on its own citizenry. The result of that thinking is the post Katrina-aid debacle, the current Social Security nightmare, the failed Medicare and Medicaid systems, the Sub-Prime Mortgage fiasco, the IRS and the global Energy Policy mess. It's that government is in my wallet. Keep 'em out of my pantry!

(34) Anonymous, June 24, 2008 11:50 AM


Dear Rabbi Salamon. I have to take a certain medication long-term. One of the side effects is gaining weight. Initially I gained two stone. Somebody with my problem who may be very upset with their obesity as a side affect could have watched this video and decided to abstain completely from having their medication without medical advice - which has happenned - and would become seriously ill with a mental breakdown and who knows what else. I think it is imperative that you put out a statement warning of this.

(33) Bill Kafig, June 24, 2008 11:49 AM

Partial Rebuttal to Dr. Baron

Generally I agree with your point, however, when you state "...as long as the choice does not materially adversely effect others."
How about health insurance premiums? If we as a nation were more slender, I think you might agree that there would be considerably less health issues. Wouldn't that lower everyone's costs? So, to your point, I AM affected by others weight.

To Anonymous's point about Torah supported "thin police" - I believe that Torah asks us to use what Hashem has given us wisely (i.e. use it food for its intended purpose - as sustenance to support us in the study of Torah) and to take responsibility for ourselves, not institute a weight enforcement police.

Just my $0.02 worth...

(32) Judah Rosen, June 24, 2008 11:28 AM


You agree with this mishygas?
This is the first time I have disagreed with you, and I not only disagree, but disagree STRONGLY.
Not only is it un-American, it is unethical.
Your work should be judged on your work contribution, period.
Let me put in this way, Rabbi, which is the same principle reformatted:
Why not put the same requirements in your ability to attend shul????
Have you ever sat next to an overweight person in shul?
Does that mean they should be deprived of the right to pray with you?
It is an important issue, but this measure is so inappropriate.

(31) Ellen Perlis, June 24, 2008 11:20 AM

I don't believe this

Obviously you've never been overweight. Get a grip. next you're going to ban blue eyes.

(30) Chavi Hornig, June 24, 2008 11:18 AM

Dr. Baron, you're worried about Lubavitchers smoking in front of 770? How about all of the doctors, nurses and other personnel smoking right in front of Memorial Sloan Kettering, a cancer hospital? It freaks me out every time I see it. They are exposed to the ravages of smoking on a daily basis. What makes them think that they are immune? As for 'venishmartem me'od l'nafshoseichem', how do you explain all of the Rabbonim and talmidei chachomim who smoke, and those who are obese, too? Don't they know the halochos? We don't need the government meddling any more in our lives. They have managed to bungle badly everything they have ever attempted. But where are our Rabbonim? Why aren't they addressing these issues if, indeed, it is a matter of halochoh? When it comes to obesity, people are variously challenged. Some people can eat anything and everything and never gain an ounce. Others, less fortunate, just have to inhale the aroma to put on several pounds. For some people dieting with exercise can work (at least temporarily.) For others, it's a losing battle. I have tried many different diets over the years, have lost some weight, but then regained them with interest. I have finally come to terms with the fact that I am not superwoman and am not able to do everything I'd like to be able to. My cravings are just too strong for me. Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Well, I may be obese, but I'm not insane. A month ago I had lap band surgery (a minimally invasive bariatric procedure to make the stomach pouch receiving the food smaller, which curbs hunger and cravings.) I am hoping this will supply the control that I do not have on my own. Another issue many obese people face is that one needs to exercise, in addition to dieting, in order to lose weight, but when one is obese it is difficult to exercise. One needs to lose some weight in order to be able to exercise, but one needs to exercise in order to lose that weight- a classic Catch 22 situation!

(29) Anonymous, June 24, 2008 11:06 AM

I totally agree with Rabbi Salamon

Not only does the American Obesity epidemic affect the lifespan of the people who are overweight, but it also causes a massive financial drain on our economy. The US spends more on healthcare than any other nation in the world, and obesity is the leading cause of this. Other people's weight problems are not only their business, they are every taxpayers business! Clearly, the standards should be more lax than they are in Japan, but the idea is a good idea. People need a bit more accountability in this here country!

(28) Anonymous, June 24, 2008 10:52 AM

A number of issues are addressed here, by Rabbi Yaakov Salomon. Do we relegate to BIG BROTHER one of so many of our constitutional rights or do we address our obligations to the TORAH mandates? Since, I believe we are all adults, don't we know by now what is right and wrong healthy and unhealthy for our bodies, mind and soul. Lastly shouldn't we be addressing total Health Insurance for the more than 25% of the populace that has none.

(27) Anonymous, June 24, 2008 10:47 AM

Government should stay out of it. Not their business. Employers should stay out of it unless there is really good reason. Not everyone can lose weight. Some people have actual reasons for the weight. Not to mention, as any doctor should tell you, weight is not the whole story. A person who is "over weight" may be extremely healthy. Ever heard of muscles? They have weight too.

By the way, I am a 5 foot 4 inch female who weighs 130 pounds.

(26) David Bentata, June 24, 2008 10:47 AM

Topsy Turvy

OK... so it makes sense to lose weight...so we all have freedom of choice ... so we can choose to be faty & die (too) young. But is it not obvious that the Torah, which pre-dates "political correctness" as envisaged today shows us yet again how we should live our lives? The "problem" with Torah is that we try to understand it through the window of today's values. It is the other way around. We have to understand today's values through the window of Torah.

(25) Eleanor Gibson, June 24, 2008 10:35 AM

My waist

Maybe the government shouldn't be doing this but our medical insurance companies or employers. The most tender part of the body is under the wallet.

(24) J. R., June 24, 2008 10:24 AM

Government intervention? No way!

While the Torah admonishes all to maintain their health, that has little or nothing to do with the U. S. constitution. Once you let the government start to dictate one aspect of personal behavionr, it can easily expand into dictating to us in ALL aspects.
And as for your example of the overweight person on the plane, I may be a little uncomfortable if the person uses his/her weight as a bludgeon to gain more space. But if that person was being polite, I would MIND MY OWN BUSINESS, and make no comments about that person's apppearance. Your comment revealed a very subtle form of bigotry, one based solely on the physical size of the individual. Shame on you, sir.
P. S. I am not obese, but I used to be. I only lost weight when I felt empowered enough to decide for myself. I will not take that choice away from anyone else.

(23) Anonymous, June 24, 2008 10:06 AM

Feed the world not our greed

Every pound of excess fat I carry equates to food which could have fed someone hungry ... and if it came from eating meat, then I know that produce a pound of meat took seven pounds of grain. In a world where there is hunger, and where the staple foods like rice and grain are in short supply through draught, it makes sense for governments to encourage their people to cut back on excess, to reduce the excessive demands which cause prices to soar, so that there is enough affordable food to go round. As my late husband used to remind me whenever I grumbled how difficult it was to lose weight, "There were no fat people in Belsen". So, thank you for reminding me that I once had a 24 inch waist. I will try for it again.

(22) David Cohen, June 24, 2008 9:41 AM

By definition

From Wikipedia: "Totalitarianism (or totalitarian rule) is a concept used to describe political systems where a state regulates nearly every aspect of public and private life."

Rabbi Salomon says his idea "may sound like totalitarianism to some." That's because it is the DEFINITION of totalitarianism.

All the best,

David Cohen, Houston

(21) Steven H Baron MD, June 24, 2008 9:34 AM

Thumbs Down

Liberty and freedom allow people to make choices. Whether people lose weight or not is there own business. Whether the choice have merit (in your eyes or mine) is irrelevent, as long as the choice does not materially adversely effect others. When does the slippery slope end? Do you want to ban buffet restaurants, McDonald's, or the kosher caterer who has too much foods with saturated fat? And since where on the subject of good health, how about nabbing the 2% Lubavachers who smoke in front of 770? There's an easy nab of folks doing things inimical to their health. Heck, let's fine 'em big time and make them an example to the millions of others who smoke. But let's not stop there. How about an organized protest around the nation's brewries, pointing out to people the evils of excessive alcohol on the waist, let alone the liver and the negative social consequences.

(20) Anonymous, June 24, 2008 9:23 AM

Torah supports 'thin' police?

Obviously presented by someone who hasn't had to battle with a weight problem. So constant bombardment of the thin ideal from advertising industry isn't sufficient. Now we've got to have the 'thin' police? And this is supported by Torah?

(19) MOSHE, June 24, 2008 8:52 AM

I think that the government needs its own waistline measured and regulated... Something like what the founding father's intended...
I am just shocked that you really believe that government should be the solution.

(18) James Sorrell, June 24, 2008 8:23 AM

Gov't. fat squads

And will the government brown shirts come around with their measuring tapes to check on our waistlines ? The Torah may tell us to "watch out for our health", but does that translate into government regulation of weight ? I think that's a bit of a stretch.

(17) Susan, June 24, 2008 8:15 AM

Let's See...hmmmm Where to Start?!

Well, first let's start with the pregnant women. We'll let em gain 25 pounds with a single pregnancy, 45 pounds with twins. 6 months later if they're not back to their normal waist size we put them in rehab, and take the kids.

The above paragraph was meant to be sarcastic. But, in a controlled country, that could happen. China used to limit live births.

Rabbi Salomon, I do agree with you to a point. Obesity is a real drain on our health care system. But to be fair, many many other issues are too. Trying to control obesity is a tough one to enforce.

BUT, who is to determine what size each person should be? I honestly think it isn't about losing weight. It's about wanting to be healthy. Bring the numbers into control and usually the waistline follows.
I know many thin trim, alcohol soaked, nicotine stained people who are not healthy. I know many thin trim, well dressed women who abuse stimulant drugs to keep their bodies tiny.

The United States has already tried to outlaw alcohol. How's that working for us? We are currently trying to outlaw tobacco use. We had an actual WAR on Drugs. Yeah, that worked Really well. We can't even keep drugs out of prisons, one of the most controlled enviroments we have. So to try to regulate the food that is put into fat peoples mouths, well let me tell you, don't try to get between a fat person and the all you can eat buffet. They will hurt you.

If we could get rid of Alcohol. Tobacco. Street Drugs. Prescription Drugs. High School Sports. Fast Cars, Illicit Sex, and GUNS our population would be much healthier. These things injure as many citizens as being fat does. And puts an extreme stress on our health care system.

"May I suggest, giving all of us a reason for living. Hope for the future. If we can all love life and find joy in our lives, we will take care of our bodies so we can keep experiencing all the great pleasures this living form we call our body enables us to experience."

If the above paragraph seems like a joke, it isn't entirely meant to. It does seem unrealistic. It seems an impossibility for the masses to ever be that united or that spiritual. I don't know if it will ever happen for you and me Rabbi Salomon, while we are on this wonderful earth.

I don't see people here going back to normal, healthy eating unless the food is too scarce to eat much. I don't believe there weren't many obese people in the controlled enviroments of concentration camps.
Respectfully submitted. Sue

(16) Amos, June 24, 2008 8:05 AM


Many of us have grandparents who fought and suffered at the hands of an Austrian who held forth a standard of perfection and felt that government should penalize those who do not "measure up." So what have we learned? Not as much as we think, obviously.

(15) Kayla, June 24, 2008 8:04 AM

One must not embarrass another--even over an issue of any type of weight.

(14) Anonymous, June 24, 2008 7:54 AM

Most Japanese are little anyway, so they don't have so far to go to bring in their waste lines.
And what about Sumo wrestlers? Do they get an exemption?
And why should I stay healthy anyway? I'd rather drop dead from a heart attack than waste away with Alzheimer Disease.

As usual, there are rules, and there are exceptions to the rules. Governments and bureaucracies are too inflexible and too mindless to address these kinds of issues. There are many ways to encourage good habits and good health, but the first step is to convince people that it's in their best interest.

(13) Grace Fishenfeld, June 24, 2008 7:45 AM


if people are going to be punished for their large tuchisis and pempicks, the world will come to an end in an explosion of quivering shmaltz.We will be haunted by the moaning of deprived souls who had previously contributed positively to society.
Think of all the unleashed emotion due to the lack of soothing that cames from a shticle Chalah smeared with chopped liver.
Do you not fear the unleashed mishagoium who will be forced into crime as they break into bakeries in search of Leckach? Remember, a strudel a day keeps the psychiatrist away thus freeing menchen for better things.

(12) Ivan, June 24, 2008 7:22 AM


With all due respect, this is a poor idea. While Rebecca makes some valuable points, she does ignore the fact that there are incentives and punishments for, say, smokers. Lower insurance premiums, medical costs and, most importantly, better health are some incentives. Cost to budget, high tax payments, and financial detriment, are certainly punishments.

Where Rabbi Salomon's analysis is most profoundly lacking is where it reduces the counterargument to "advocacy for freedom of choice." There can be no doubt that, to the extent Torah mandates one watch their health, G-d would be at his/her wisest to seek for people to do so because they come to understand its value, not because the government treats humans as though we are like Pavlov's dogs. It is only with a real and deep understanding of the importance of matters such as health, that men and women will be able to most ably teach this to their children and their communities. The way people learn things from the methods being employed by the Japanese may achieve the end we must agree is desirable -- healthy people, by design it isn't doing so through the kind of complex and deep learning it should. Instead, it's just a carrot and stick approach.

(11) Joe, June 24, 2008 7:21 AM


I agree with the majority, the Government has no business enforcing a law that states that people have to lose weight or be penalized. An overweight person, who wants to lose but can't seem to lose, has enough problems without guilt, frustration, and even more judgmental attitudes coming their way.

Wouldn't it be better to encourage our overweight friends and relatives to lose the weight -- not just in moral support, but in partnering with them to aid them in their weight loss?

(10) Rebecca, June 23, 2008 11:53 PM

Awful, Prejudiced Idea

This is one of the worst ideas I've ever heard. Why are you so focused on weight? Because that person's flaw happens to be obvious to all? What about smokers? Drinkers? People who overeat and then purge? They may be thin but even far more unhealthy.

Overweight and obese people already deal with enough pain and discrimination in this country. Have you ever been overweight? Do you know what it's like to have one of your worst flaws on display for all to see and judge and dislike? Trust me, it only makes things worse. Fat people know they're fat. They don't need you to tell them. Shaming them, passing laws against them, will only make the problem worse. I am horrified, absolutely horrifiede at this suggestion of yours. I have disagreed with you in the past but this is over the top.

It is completely unfair to focus on THIS health issue just because it's easy to see and therefore easy to persecute those who have it.

Are you really trying to help here? Have you really thought this through?

(9) Liora, June 23, 2008 9:44 PM

give me a break!

As usual, when the government tries to take matters into its own hands,it turns out to be an exercise in pure idiocy. Perhaps individuals should take personal responsibility for their actions instead of relying on the government as their babysitter. Let's try that one on for size...

(8) Anonymous, June 23, 2008 11:05 AM

Your weight will determine your response

It's pretty clear-- those of us who are in shape will find this a good idea, and those who are overweight will think otherwise. Nothing wrong with businesses offering incentives for their employees who are fit, though. Not only is it clearly better for the individual, it also reflects more positively on the organization.

(7) Aray, June 23, 2008 9:04 AM

no way!!!

No way!! I have a daughter who has suffered from anorexia. She told me that the stress to stay thin at school is very great!! No one in our house is over weight. We eat 3 meals a day and exercise mildly. But, know some people who genetics have passed down a very slow metabolism. I am a nurse and advicate a good diet and exercise,but keep government out of this!!! They are responsible for allowing our animals to be injected with hormones, treated poorly and sent to the market place after being fatten up rapidly. The only way government can help is by removing all junk food for sale, that means fast food as well. Stop the inhuman treatment of animals that we humans eat. Kosher preparation of food. Trust me less government is better.

(6) Dvirah, June 23, 2008 8:45 AM

More Stress...Even More Eating Disorders

People are under enough stress already, why should they fear to lose their jobs because of a few - or even many - pounds (or kilos)? To know that you could lose your livelihood no matter how diligent and efficient you are because of middle-age spread is cruel!! And the added stress would probably lead to yet more eating disorders (a big jump in Bulimia can be expected) and less productivity, not more. As for seeing one's grandchildren, one would probably be too depressed to want to.

Incidently, when it was a case of removing one's shampoo before a flight for security reasons, that was viewed negatively because it caused inconvenience. Now a fat person caused inconvenience on the flight so the goverment must declare war on fat people? Are we talking justice here or personal convenience for a particlar individual?

(5) Annette, June 22, 2008 10:32 PM

Waist? how about measuring waste?

with all the environmental issues on the tables now a days, I would rather the workplace focus on measuring and limiting waste rather than MY waistline,
I may only be 65kgs, a bit overweight I admit, but please! keep your hands off me!

(4) Anonymous, June 22, 2008 7:27 PM

Great idea!

I like the idea-maybe it will be an incentive for people to lose weight, including my husband. He just turned 40 and is obese. He suffers from back problems and sleep apnea. If he knows that his waist will be measured, maybe he will realize that he is putting his health at risk.

(3) Gitty, June 22, 2008 2:56 PM

Many people who want to lose weight don't have sufficient motivation or incentive to pull it off. Having a government program that provides consequences but at the same time assistance to help people help themselves sounds like a good idea to me. The goverment after all is the one that shoulders much of the burden for the expenses incurred by weight-related diseases. That cost, of course,ultimately falls onto the shoulders of the taxpayer. As a country, we'll be eating our way into a deeper and deeper hole unless someone or something gets us to reverse direction. If we can't do it ourselves and it has to be the government, than so be it.

(2) Anonymous, June 22, 2008 11:49 AM

what about eating disorders?!?!?!

I never heard anything more crazy in my life! Not everyone could lose weight. We live in a crazy world, and I pray this does hurt anyone who is fighting with an eating disorder. I noticed you talk about weight alot. Its true people are overweight but there are many people out there who are underweight. Both way are not healthy and people are struggling with both problems.

(1) Anonymous, June 22, 2008 10:07 AM

there definitely should be a strong incentive in america to get people to lose weight but not that you should have to pay for it if you wanna do it good for you if you dont youre just shortening you time in this world


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