web analytics
October 2, 2014 / 8 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Stumbling The Blind

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

One of the many different mitzvos mentioned in this week’s parshah, Parshas Kedoshim, is the prohibition of lifnei iver – placing a stumbling block in front of a blind man. There is a discussion as to what sort of “stumbling blocks” are included in this prohibition.

On that pasuk, Rashi quotes the Toras Kohanim, which says that the pasuk refers to offering someone bad advice, i.e. advising someone to sell his field for a donkey.

There is a machlokes in the Gemara in general whether a pasuk may be entirely taken out of context, or whether we are always bound to the basic text. Here, the dispute would manifest itself as to whether it is actually prohibited to place a stumbling block in a blind man’s path. We pasken that we are bound to the wording of a pasuk; therefore, it is also prohibited to place a stumbling block in a blind man’s path.

The Gemara says that making an aveirah available to someone who otherwise would not be able to sin falls under the prohibition of lifnei iver. For example, it is prohibited to give a nazir – who is prohibited from drinking wine – a glass of wine that he could not otherwise have gotten, for this will create a “stumbling block” for him. A man unable to control himself from transgressing is considered an iver (blind sighted in this case).

The Gemara, in Avodah Zarah 22a, says that someone should not rent his field to a kusi because the kusi will work the field on Chol HaMoed and people will wrongfully accuse the landlord of working on Chol HaMoed. The Gemara asks: why are we only concerned that this will give the landlord a bad name but not concerned that the landlord will be transgressing the prohibition of lifnei iver? After all, the landlord has given the kusi a field that he can work on during Chol HaMoed that was otherwise unavailable to him. The Gemara answers that this is indeed a prohibition of lifnei iver and thus someone should not rent his field to a kusi for this reason.

Tosafos there points out that this Gemara serves as a proof to Rabbeinu Tam, who says that the prohibition of lifnei iver even applies to making rabbinic prohibitions available to others. Why? Because in Tosafos’s opinion, performing work on Chol HaMoed is only prohibited mi’de’rabbanan.

In stark contrast, the Ramban there disagrees with Tosafos on both points. The Ramban proves that working on Chol HaMoed is prohibited mi’de’oraisa from the fact that the Gemara says that someone will transgress the prohibition of lifnei iver by creating a situation whereby one can work on Chol HaMoed. According to the Ramban, lifnei iver only includes making de’oraisa prohibitions, not rabbinic ones, available to others. The Ramban disagrees, positing that working on Chol HaMoed is prohibited mi’de’oraisa. Tosafos, in Chagigah, also opines that the prohibition of lifnei iver only applies to de’oraisa prohibitions.

The Minchas Chinuch (mitzvah 232) asks the obvious question on the Ramban and Tosafos in Chagigah: how can making a rabbinic prohibition available to someone not fall under the prohibition of lifnei iver? Is telling someone to transgress a rabbinic prohibition not considered bad advice? Why then is placing a rabbinic “stumbling block” in the path of someone who will be blind sighted not included in the prohibition of lifnei iver?

I would like to suggest an answer to this question. There is a difference between giving bad advice and placing a form of stumbling block in the path of a “blind man.” When one gives advice to someone who trusts him, the trusted advice is the stumbling block. If his advice is faulty, it is considered a stumbling block in a blind man’s path.

About the Author: For questions or comments, e-mail RabbiRFuchs@gmail.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Stumbling The Blind”

  1. Karen Bryant says:

    Not if the Rabbi is contradicting or ignoring Scripture. God’s word is ultimate authority.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Colin H. Kahl, VP Joe Biden's new national security adviser.
Biden’s New NSA Chief Mocked Israeli Nuke Fears
Latest Judaism Stories
Duxvielfalt_2011

Contrary to popular belief, the Talmud never explicitly limits the ban on footwear to leather shoes.

On Sunday, Jews will be refraining from food and drink from dawn until sunset to commemorate the Fast of Gedaliah. Following Nebuchadnetzar’s destruction of the First Temple and exile of most of the Jews, the Babylonians appointed Gedaliah ben Achikaam as governor of Judea. Under Gedaliah’s leadership, Judea and the survivors began to recover. On […]

On the beach

As we enter the Days of Awe, we must recognize that it is a joy to honor and serve true royalty.

On Rosh Hashanah we are taught that true self-analysis involves the breaking down of walls

When we hear the words “Rosh Hashana is coming” it really means Hashem Himself is coming!

Who am I? What are the most important things in my life? What do I want to be remembered for? If, as a purely hypothetical exercise, I were to imagine reading my own obituary, what would I want it to say? These are the questions Rosh Hashanah urges us to ask ourselves. As we pray […]

We recently marked the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11 – that terrible day when the symbols of man’s power and achievement crumbled before our eyes and disappeared in fire and smoke. For a very brief moment we lost our smugness. Our confidence was shaken. Many of us actually searched our ways. Some of us even learned […]

Why am I getting so agitated? And look how we’re treating each other!

While women are exempt from actually learning Torah, they are obligated in a different aspect of the mitzvah.

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

We must eat, sleep, work, and care for our dependants. How much time is left over after all that?

Once we recognize that our separation from God is our fault, how do we repair it?

Chatzitzah And Its Applications
‘Greater Stringency Applies To Hallowed Things…’
(Chagiga 20b-21a)

To choose life, you must examine your actions in the period preceding the Days of Awe as an unbiased stranger, and render your decision.

More Articles from Rabbi Raphael Fuchs
Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

While women are exempt from actually learning Torah, they are obligated in a different aspect of the mitzvah.

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

The Chafetz Chaim answered that there are two forms of teshuvah; teshuvah m’ahava and teshuvah m’yirah.

Since it is a Rabbinic prohibition we may follow the more lenient opinion.

They ask, how can Rabbeinu Gershom forbid marrying more than one wife, when the Torah explicitly permits it in this parshah?

First, how could a beis din of 23 judges present a guilty verdict in a capital punishment case? After all, only a majority of the 23 judges ruled in favor of his verdict.

According to Rabbi Yishmael one was not permitted to eat such an animal prior to entering Eretz Yisrael, while according to Rabbi Akiva one was permitted to eat animals if he would perform nechirah.

Tosafos there takes issue with Rashi’s view that the letters that are formed in the knots of the tefillin are considered part of the name of Hashem.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/stumbling-the-blind/2014/04/25/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: