Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Daf Yomi - Chagigah 18 - Placing a Stumbling Block by a Rabbinic Prohibition

There is a matter of dispute among the Rishonim if the prohibition against performing labor on Chol Hamoed (the intermediate days of Pesach and Sukkos) is Biblical (Rashi) or Rabbinic (Tosfos).

Our Gemora cites Scriptural verses illustrating that it is forbidden to perform labor during Chol Hamoed. Tosfos states that it is implicit from the Gemora that this is a Biblical prohibition.

Tosfos asks: It is permitted to work on Chol Hamoed to prevent an irretrievable loss or various types of labor; this would be understandable if the prohibition would be Rabbinic in nature, however, if it is a Biblical prohibition, where do we find distinctions in the types of work that some will be forbidden and some will be permitted?

Tosfos concludes that the prohibition against working during Chol Hamoed is only a Rabbinic injunction and the verses cited are merely Scriptural supports for this decree.

Tosfos asks from a Gemora in Avodah Zarah (22a) which states that there would be a prohibition of placing a stumbling block before a blind man (lifnei iver) by performing labor on Chol Hamoed. (One is forbidden from assisting another fellow to violate a prohibition, where the sinner could not accomplish the transgression without his aid.)

The Reshash explains Tosfos: The prohibition of lifnei iver is only applicable by a Biblical prohibition and not when it pertains to a Rabbinical injunction; accordingly, Tosfos asks why the Gemora states that lifnei iver applies by the prohibition of working on Chol Hamoed, when that is only a Rabbinic injunction.

Tosfos in Avodah Zarah (22a) states explicitly that the commandment of lifnei iver applies by a Rabbinic prohibition, as well. The Steipler Gaon explains a different Tosfos (Avodah Zarah 15b) that Tosfos is uncertain regarding this principle and it is indeed a dispute among two answers in Tosfos if lifnei iver applies by a Rabbinic prohibition or not.

This principle requires an explanation. Why should lifnei iver not apply by a Rabbinic prohibition? One is forbidden from providing flawed advice to his fellow (the Minchas Chinuch discusses if giving shoddy counsel violates this prohibition); every Rabbinic decree entails a Biblical prohibition of not swaying from the words of our sages.

What is the logic to differentiate between assisting someone to violate a Biblical prohibition or one that is merely Rabbinic?


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18 comments:

ben said...

I know you're looking for sophisticated lamdus here, but let me turn the tables. If the whole issue here is whether lifnei eiver on a derabanan is really deoraisa, then even the issur of working on Chol HaMoed as an issur derabanan is also an issur deoraisa> Which leads me to wonder lifnei haiyun why Tosfos would maintain that work on Chol HaMoed is derabanan if in reality it's assur min HaTorah and was given to Chachamim to decide what is assur and what is muttar.

Avromi said...

One of the questions is that every d'rabbanan is in fact a d'oraisa.

There are many answers on this kasha though, shev shmaatsa, reb elchonon, Reb chaim and others.... however the main issue here is why lifnei iver would not apply on an issur d'rabbanan - you are still causing one to stumble?

Velvel said...

Perhaps it is because a Rabbinic issur is not really a davar heassur, but rather only a mitzvah lishmoah to the chachamim as explained by Reb Meir Simcha and others.

Mir Guy said...

Velvel, why should that make a difference? Whether it is "gavra" or "cheftza", it is still assur and you should not be able to help someone be oiver the issur.

Jay said...

This is taluy in the question of what is linei iver? Is it so there will be no chillul shem shomayim, i.e, averiah performed, whatsoever, and therefore, it does not matter if the issur is a D'orays or D'rabanan, the issur of lifne iver is in effect. Or, maybe we can say like this. In Sharey Yosher, Rav Shimon writes that mitzvos lav l'henos nitnu is only by an issur D'oraysa because the mitzva is so strong, it negates any peripheral hanah, as opposed to a mitzva d'rabanan, which is weaker. What makes it weaker? That it is not metzuveh directly from Hashem. So too here. Lifnei Iver is only a problem nogeya where it will lead to directly contradicting the words of the Torah, not an issur d'rabanan.
There is a machlokes if the issur of being mesares an animal is only on Klal Yisroel, or by goyim as well. The Aruch Hashulchan writes that a Jew who wnats to spay or neuter his animal should sell it to a goy. And if the person wants to be makpid like shitas Rabeinu Chananel--who holds there is an issur of sirus by a goy--he should sell it to a goy, who should be instructed to have another goy take care of the animal as this will be lifnei d'lifnei. So the Aruch hashulchan holds that 1. there is an issur of lifnei iver by goyim, and, 2.that lifnei iver is not a din of preventing aveiros from being done, because if that were the case, even lifnei d'lifnei would be assur. Maybe he holds like the sevara I tried to say. Doubtful, but possible.

Chaim B. said...

http://divreichaim.blogspot.com/2006/12/lifnei-iveir-on-issurei-derabbanan.html

Perhaps one can distinguish between bad advice or issurei Torah which are inherently detrimental, and issurei derabbanan, which are prohibited because they are an act of rebellion against the authority of Chazal – if done inadvertently, no rebellion against Chazal’s authority has occurred, and no issur has been caused. The dispute between Tosfos and Ramban may revolve around this very point – is an issur derabbanan done b’shogeg defined as a ma’aseh issur or not?

Daniel Morris said...

I was thinking...there's a klal that lifnei iver is asur, but not lifnei dlifnei...perhaps drabannan is considered lifnei dlifnei, because you are not transgressing the d'oraisa directly, since the Torah did not say specifically not to do this act. (Perhaps this is included in what chazal say that lo sasur is a 'lav sheb'clalos'.)
Perhaps the lomdus of lifnei dlifnei is that you did not assist is the performance of a 'maasah aveira'. When one is ovair a d'rabbanon, perhaps the act is b'etzem mutar; the aveira was 'not listening'. It was performed by one's heart and ears, not by one's arms and plow (lmashal).
I have more thoughts, but no time now. Yashr Koach.

Avromi said...

Can it be any less than giving someone bad advice?

Daniel Morris said...

I always understood that the perushim of a)creating a situation where someone could sin and b)giving bad advice were two different aveira acts with separate gedarim derived from the same pasuk. Lchora giving bad advice is asur even if there is no aveira around. Can one bring a proof from one aspect of the mitzvah to the other? Hmm.

Avromi said...

While it is true that some (michas chinuch 123, I think) maintain that there is no issur of lifnei iver by giving bad advice, but others hold that it is assur - accordingly, assisting one in violating an issur d'rabbanan should at least be assur because of that issur.

This is based on the fact that youre right and the gedorim are different.

Kollel Iyun Hadaf said...

The Kollel replies:

Tosfos' case involves selling a field to a Jew who will till it on Chol ha'Mo'ed, because he does not accept the Halachah that prohibits doing so.

Allowing a person to sin by giving him a field is not really comparable to tripping a blind man, since the decision to work on Chol ha'Mo'ed lies entirely with the one who gets the field. He sins of his own volition.

Nevertheless, it is included in the prohibition since when the sinner sins, he causes permanent, spiritual damage to himself (barring an act of Teshuvah) via the field. The damage that is caused is not the sin - which was the choice of the sinner - but what he suffers afterwards due to the spiritual damage my field brought him by being plowed on Chol ha'Mo'ed.

An act prohibited by the Rabanim, though, is not inherently damaging to the soul. What damages the sinner is the fact that he did not heed the Rabanan. This is not a damage the field is doing, so the owner of the field does not transgress Lifnei Iver.

(A similar argument applies when one causes another Jew to unwittingly transgress a Rabbinic or Torah prohibition.)

Best wishes,
Mordecai Kornfeld
Kollel Iyun Hadaf

Daniel Morris said...

quote:
A similar argument applies when one causes another Jew to unwittingly transgress a Rabbinic or Torah prohibition.)


Someone help me here. Does he mean that if one causes a Jew to unwittingly trasgress, there is no lifnei iver on the etzem aveira, but rather on the spiritual damage done?
But isn't causing the person to sin b'shogeg precisely similar to tripping a blind man?
Is there then no case of being machshil someone that is analagous to tripping a blind man?

Avromi said...

I assume he means that there cant be lifnei ever on the shogeg since its not an aveira, certainly when its on a d'rabbanan (nesivos) and its only the spiritual damage - im not sure if thats akin to tripping the blind man, which would be comparable to the etzem aveira.

Rav Chaim said...

Quote "An act prohibited by the Rabanim, though, is not inherently damaging to the soul. What damages the sinner is the fact that he did not heed the Rabanan. This is not a damage the field is doing, so the owner of the field does not transgress Lifnei Iver."

I find this to be Dakusdik and cannot understand why would this change the situation. If someone's not heeding the Rabanan is manifested by working the field, then the field is causing him the spiritual damage. It would be like saying that you may give a Nazir wine, since the drinking the wine is not really the prohibition, but rather keeping his word.

If he meant that there is a difference between an Issur Gavra and an Issur Cheftza, I don't see why work on Chol Hamoed is more an Issur Cheftza, it would seem that it's more an Issur Gavra not to do Malachos rather than the field being something that you can't work with.

Quote "A similar argument applies when one causes another Jew to unwittingly transgress a Rabbinic or Torah prohibition"

I think a proof that casing a Jew to do a Doraisa B'Shogeg is Lifnai Iver is Tosfos Avoda Zara 7b D"H Minayin that the reason you can't pass wine top a Nazir is because it's not something he's used to and he might forget and drink it. We don't worry usually about passing Issurim to regular Jews.

Daniel Morris said...

Not placing a stumbling block before the blind it one of the seventeen lavin the Chafetz Chaim enumerates that one speaking or being mkabel lashon hara would transgress, and that is clearly (lchora) an issur gavra.
I have listened recently to a few shiurim recently by Rabbi Frand on the subject of lifnei iver. In one of them he brings two shitas rishonim that if the person does not know he is transgressing, not only is lifnei iver midoraisa, but there is no ptur of trei avri dnahara. (The context is Rav Ahron Soliveichik"s (z'l) assuring allowing Conservative Jews to use a mikva tahara for their conversions.)

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________________________________________________________________

Re: Chagigah 018: Lifnei Iver on a d'Rabanan

avrohom adler asked:
>> Why should lifnei iver not apply by a Rabbinic prohibition? One is forbidden from providing flawed advice to his fellow (the Minchas Chinuch discusses if giving shoddy counsel violates this prohibition); every Rabbinic decree entails a Biblical prohibition of not swaying from the words of our sages.<<

The Kollel answered:
>>Tosfos' case involves selling a field to a Jew who will till it on Chol ha'Mo'ed, because he does not accept the Halachah that prohibits doing so. Allowing a person to sin by giving him a field is not really comparable to tripping a blind man, since the decision to work on Chol ha'Mo'ed lies entirely with the one who gets the field. He sins of his own volition. Nevertheless, it is included in the prohibition since when the sinner sins, he causes permanent, spiritual damage to himself (barring an act of Teshuvah) via the field. The damage that is caused is not the sin - which was the choice of the sinner - but what he suffers afterwards due to the spiritual damage my field brought him by being plowed on Chol ha'Mo'ed.
>>An act prohibited by the Rabanim, though, is not inherently damaging to the soul. What damages the sinner is the fact that he did not heed the Rabanan. This is not a damage the field is doing, so the owner of the field does not transgress Lifnei Iver.
>>(A similar argument applies when one causes another Jew to *unwittingly* transgress a Rabbinic or Torah prohibition.)

avrohom adler asks further:

A few comments on your answer:

(a) Quote: A similar argument applies when one causes another Jew to unwittingly transgress a Rabbinic or Torah prohibition.)

Do you mean that if one causes a Jew to unwittingly trasgress, there is no lifnei iver on the etzem aveira, but rather on the spiritual damage done?But isn't causing the person to sin b'shogeg precisely similar to tripping a blind man?Is there then no case of being machshil someone that is analagous to tripping a blind man?

I assume that what you mean is that there cant be lifnei ever on the shogeg since its not an aveira, certainly when its on a d'rabbanan (nesivos) and its only the spiritual damage - im not sure if thats akin to tripping the blind man, which would be comparable to the etzem aveira.

(b) Quote "A similar argument applies when one causes another Jew to unwittingly transgress a Rabbinic or Torah prohibition"

I think a proof that casing a Jew to do a Doraisa B'Shogeg is Lifnai Iver is Tosfos Avoda Zara 7b D"H Minayin that the reason you can't pass wine top a Nazir is because it's not something he's used to and he might forget and drink it. We don't worry usually about passing Issurim to regular Jews.

(c) Another comment:
Quote "An act prohibited by the Rabanim, though, is not inherently damaging to the soul. What damages the sinner is the fact that he did not heed the Rabanan. This is not a damage the field is doing, so the owner of the field does not transgress Lifnei Iver."

I find this to be Dakusdik and cannot understand why would this change the situation. If someone's not heeding the Rabanan is manifested by working the field, then the field is causing him the spiritual damage. It would be like saying that you may give a Nazir wine, since the drinking the wine is not really the prohibition, but rather keeping his word.

If you meant that there is a difference between an Issur Gavra and an Issur Cheftza, I don't see why work on Chol Hamoed is more an Issur Cheftza, it would seem that it's more an Issur Gavra not to do Malachos rather than the field being something that you can't work with.

Avrohom Adler, Cleveland OH
-----------------------------
The Kollel replies:

(a) You are correct.

The case of causing a person to sin which is indeed similar to tripping a blind man - or better yet, is similar to giving a person bad advice - is the case that the Toras Kohanim itself gives when defining Lifnei Iver: Telling a Kohen he is permitted to marry a Gerushah. Misinforming someone about a Mitzvah is equivalent to misinforming him about a business deal. Not so, when a person either gives an object to his friend which his friend *chooses on his own* to use for an Aveirah, or when a person feeds something that is Asur to his friend, causing his friend to unwittingly commit the Aveirah. (The latter is not even Shogeg - it is Mis'asek.)

(b) That is correct. In fact, we find often that causing someone to unwittingly eat a forbidden food is Lifnei Iver. One example involves Kutim, who tell us that they took off Ma'aser even though they didn't since they do not keep the Mitzvah of Lifnei Iver (Eruvin 37b etc.)

What I meant by the parenthetical statement is that the dichotomy between d'Oraisa and d'Rabanan exists whether one lends an object to his friend which his friend *chooses on his own* to use for an Aveirah, or whether one gives his friend something that is Asur which his friend *unwittingly* uses or eats.

(c) As you are certainly aware, the Minchas Chinuch asks your question and cites all of the references that you provided (Mitzvos #232:3, #343:4 - in the Mechon Yerushalayim edition), see also Pardes Yosef (Vayikra 19:14 and Bereishis ). They provide no answer to the question.

Allow me to explain my answer more clearly (with help from my son Yisrael): Lifnei Iver only applies when the sinner could not have committed the sin in question without the help of the "Machshil". This is called "Trei Evrei d'Nahara" (Avodah Zarah 6b). If a person does not have a field, he cannot transgress the Isur of working his field on Chol ha'Moed. Therefore, if work on Chol ha'Moed is prohibited by the Torah, by selling such a person a field I am allowing him to transgress a prohibition that he otherwise would not be able to transgress. This is Lifnei Iver.

However, if work on Chol ha'Moed is only prohibited by the Rabanan, the transgression is not "working a field", but rather "disregarding the words of the Rabanan." Even a person without a field can disregard the words of the Rabanan in many other ways. Therefore, by selling such a person a field I have not helped him transgress a prohibition that he otherwise would not transgress. That is why this is not Lifnei Iver.

(This applies to the first of the two scenarios of Lifnei Iver that I mentioned above (b). In the second case (i.e. causing a person to unwittingly sin), there is no Lifnei Iver by a d'Rabanan either for the reason I mentioned in my first communication, or because no Isur is done when a person transgresses a d'Rabanan b'Shogeg - the Nesivos you alluded to.)

For a beautiful discussion of the difference I pointed out between the transgression of a Rabbinic law (disobeying the Rabanan) and a Torah law (where the act itself is prohibited) see Meshech Chochmah, Devarim 17:11.

(d) The truth is, though, that Tosfos probably understood (for the reasons mentioned above, (a)) that causing a person to sin is *not* included the simple meaning of the verse Lifnei Iver. Rather, it is included in the prohibition based on some Ribuy (perhaps the word "Lifnei"). This inferred Isur Torah may be limited to causing someone to transgress a Torah prohibition, but will not include causing someone to transgress a Rabanan prohibition. (The Rabanan may not have instituted k'Ein d'Oraisa here for a number of reasons.)

Best wishes,
Mordecai Kornfeld


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Rav Chaim said...

Dear R' Avraham,

I see that you're bringing our arguments back and forth with them. Interwebsite Torah brings out Ravcha D'Shmatsa.

One thing I have about the Teretz is

Quote "Allow me to explain my answer more clearly (with help from my son Yisrael): Lifnei Iver only applies when the sinner could not have committed the sin in question without the help of the "Machshil". This is called "Trei Evrei d'Nahara" (Avodah Zarah 6b). If a person does not have a field, he cannot transgress the Isur of working his field on Chol ha'Moed. Therefore, if work on Chol ha'Moed is prohibited by the Torah, by selling such a person a field I am allowing him to transgress a prohibition that he otherwise would not be able to transgress. This is Lifnei Iver.

However, if work on Chol ha'Moed is only prohibited by the Rabanan, the transgression is not "working a field", but rather "disregarding the words of the Rabanan." Even a person without a field can disregard the words of the Rabanan in many other ways. Therefore, by selling such a person a field I have not helped him transgress a prohibition that he otherwise would not transgress. That is why this is not Lifnei Iver."

This would infer, that if the sinner can get a different item to do the sin with it would not be Lifnei Iver. This would mean, that if there would be one place in the other side of the river that the Nazir can have wine then there is no Lifne Iver.

In the beginning of Shabbos (3a) the Rishonim (Tosfos, Rosh, Ran) say that the reason there is no Lifnei Iver for letting someone take na object from your hands since they could get the object themselves. Why do they need that? Even if they couldn't get the object, they could be Moitzie other objects and be Oiver the Aveira (unless we're dealing with someone that doesn't have any access to any objects on Shabbos.)

If you're going to say that it's Lifnei Iver because he's interested only in this object, this guy is only interested in working a field on Chol Hamoed and not to eat a chicken and cheese sandwich.


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Rav Chaim said...

Quote "we would have thought that placing shatnez upon oneself in any manner would be forbidden, and even garment sellers would be prohibited from wearing shatnez (they merely drape themselves with the garments in order to exhibit them without a specific intent for the warmth which these garments offer). This is why the Torah wrote in Devarim: You shall not wear shatnez, teaching us that it is forbidden to wear shatnez only by a wearing that offers physical pleasure (and since a garment seller does not wear the garment for that intent, it will be permitted for him)."

I also think that there is another difference we can make. The intent of the wearer. The Gemara's whole problem was by people who's intent were not to wear them, just drape them on for show, thus in order that they become automatically being worn and not just showing is by providing warmth

We see this similar concept in Shabbos 29b (among other places) that those who sell clothing can sell by having the clothes on them as long as they don't intend it to protect them from the heat or rain. Tosfos points out that you have other clothing for that so it wouldn't be a Psik Reisha to be protected from the heat and cold.

It would seem, that if your intention is to wear it, then it doesn't have to warm or do anything, as long as it's intended to be worn. This we see from the Halachos of saving clothes from a fire on Shabbos. It doesn't matter how many you have on, though as long as you wear them, they are clothing. The belt too is one of the clothing, and though it doesn't warm you at all, that's why we Paskin you can't go out with two belts for an article, it is definitely an article of clothing and definitely applies Shatnez (besides that this was the Shatnez by the Kohein's Begadim was the Avnet.)