Friday, May 10, 2024

the most dangerous and common lifnei iveir

The Chazon Ish (YD 62:25) raises a very interesting question: does the issur of lifnei iveir apply only to misleading other people, or does it apply to oneself as well?  I think this is the most egregious, most common, and most dangerous form of lifnei iveir.  It is very hard for a person not to have a higher opinion of himself than is warranted by reality, and it's also hard to make good choices when you are nogei'a ba'davar, and there is no bigger negi'ah than a person's own self.  We therefore end up putting ourselves in bad situations and making bad choices.  We put stumbling blocks before ourselves, both in gashiyus and in ruchniyus.  

(For the record, R' Avraham Genechovsky addressed this safeik and brought proof from the following din that there is no lifnei iveir viz a viz oneself : the din is that a שׁבועה to violate an explicit mitzvah is not chal; however, a שׁבועה to violate a din not spelled out explicitly in the Torah, e.g. if someone takes an oath to eat a chatzi shiur of issur, is chal. 

Here's R' Genechovsky's logic: 

The Minchas Chinuch has a chiddush that a person who causes someone else to violate an issur derabbanan is over lifei iveir on a d'oraysa level.  Since lifnei iveir applies even to giving bad advice, causing someone to violate an issur derabbanan is at least as bad as giving them bad advice.  

By the same logic, taking an oath to feed someone else a chatzi shiur of issur should violate lifnei iveir d'oraysa, as it too is at least as bad as giving them bad advice.  

If that is true of feeding someone else, then the same should be true with respect to feeding oneself -- the שׁבועה effectively would be a violation of the issur d'oraysa of lifnei iveir viz a viz onself, if such an issur exists.

How then could such a שׁבועה be chal?  The din of eating chatzi shiur may not be explicit in the Torah, but the issur of lifnei iveir involved in eating the chatzi shiur is explicit, and that should negate שׁבועה?

QED from the fact that we don't say that, and the din is that such a שׁבועה is chal, that there must not be an issur of lifnei iveir with respect to onself, only with respect to others.)

1 comment:

  1. Please explain. Does the Chazon Ish mean there is an additional issur whenever you do an issur, or is lifnei iver more of a ולא תביא תועבה אל ביתך kind of thing. I realize the Chazon Ish there says there is no issur if the aveira is not actually transgressed, but that is more in the way of a shiur, I think.