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If someone is attempting to coerce a Jew into committing a sin publicly - aside from the three major sins - and his desire is just that he should violate the Torah - not for a personal gain - would he be allowed to pretend to sin?

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  • Have also wondered about this often. Like practically speaking, one who pretends to become a Christian. I guess in this case though it would be required to do certain acts of worship which in themselves are considered Avodah Zara whether or not he truly intends. However, I understand your question as applying to any sin like in a time of Shmad... Jun 22, 2023 at 13:07
  • After answering I re-read your question and am now wondering if you are saying that the idolator is trying to get him to sin, but not davka to violate Torah? I'm not sure what the difference would be if so, but I just want to clarify?
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Jun 22, 2023 at 13:39
  • There are different parameters crucial to answering the question: in front of 10 people or not, time of shmad (religious persecution) and what type of sin (of the three 'big ones' or not). Are you asking about all permutations?
    – mbloch
    Jun 22, 2023 at 14:27
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    If the pretending is done in public, and the viewers don't know he is pretending, how isn't it a desecration of G-d’s name? Otherwise why would it matter that it was in public, if he wasn't pretending?
    – Tamir Evan
    Jun 22, 2023 at 15:01
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    Gittin 57B by the story of chana and her seven sons, the last son had an option to pretend to do a sin and he gave up his life instead. sefaria.org/Gittin.57b?lang=he
    – Chatzkel
    Jun 22, 2023 at 15:03

2 Answers 2

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The gemara that deals with this is Sanhedrin 74a:

א"ר יוחנן משום ר"ש בן יהוצדק ... כל עבירות שבתורה אם אומרין לאדם עבור ואל תהרג יעבור ואל יהרג חוץ מעבודת כוכבים וגילוי עריות ושפיכות דמים

Rabbi Yoḥanan says in the name of Rabbi Shimon ben Yehotzadak: … all transgressions in the Torah, if a person is told: Transgress and you will not be killed, he may transgress and not be killed, except for avodah zara, arayot, and murder.

Later on, it clarifies the limits of this:

כי אתא רב דימי א"ר יוחנן לא שנו אלא שלא בשעת גזרת המלכות) אבל בשעת גזרת המלכות אפי' מצוה קלה יהרג ואל יעבור

When Rav Dimi came he said Rabbi Yoḥanan said: this is only when it is not a time of [religious] persecution. But in a time of persecution, even about a minor mitzva, one must be killed rather than sin.

This circumstance is discussed in its own question here.

These halachot are codified in the Mishneh Torah Yesodei HaTorah 5, and Shulchan Aruch Yora Deah 157. They add that, in a case of an individual idolator trying to get a Jew to davka transgress (rather than just for the idolator's personal benefit), one should give up his life over a small mitzva, but only if it is in public, (which in this case means in front of 10 Jews).

If it is in the case of a time of anti-religious legislation (aimed at persecuting Jews - Rambam, Beit Yosef), it is much stricter and the rule seems to be one should do so even if it is an individual idolator coercing him for the idolator's own personal benefit, and even if it is not in front of other Jews.


There seems to be at least one case where one can pretend to sin, and that is to pretend to be an idolator:

אסור לאדם לומר שהוא עובד כוכבי' כדי שלא יהרגוהו

It is forbidden for a man to claim that he is an idolater so that they will not kill him.

The Rama goes on to clarify, based on Trumat HaDeshen 197, that in a situation of sakana, if it is possible to not use direct language, or in some other way one is able to trick the idolators into believing that he is an idolator without actually saying it, so they will not come after him, it is permitted (in times of persecution - Gra).

Even though this provides an example to say "yes" to the title, and is in the context of avoiding a chillul Hashem, this is a bit of a cop-out of your chillul Hashem question, as it is an "avoidance strategy", rather than a heter.

The Sefer HaChinuch 296 adds these words to his explanation of the mitzva of dying al pi kiddush Hashem:

ואף על פי שלבו תמים באמונתו ביראת השם, אף על פי כן נצטוה שיהרג ואל יעשה המעשה הרע ההוא ולא יתן מקום אל המעביר לחשב שהוא כפר בשם

Even though his heart is pure in his faith with the fear of God, nonetheless he is commanded that he be killed and not commit this evil act, and not give room to the assailant to think that he has denied God.

The assailant's impression seems intrinsic to the mitzva, so pretending doesn't seem to help. Further research is needed.

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  • But what about if he's not actually sinning, but pretending to do so
    – Joel K
    Jun 22, 2023 at 13:39
  • @JoelK can you give an example?
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Jun 22, 2023 at 13:41
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    I'm not sure of a precise example, but that seems to me to be what the OP is asking about: "would he be allowed to pretend to sin, or would that also be a desecration of G-d’s name?"
    – Joel K
    Jun 22, 2023 at 13:51
  • @JoelK gotcha, how's my edit?
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Jun 22, 2023 at 14:23
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Let's clarify please. If someone is able to "coerce". Then it means Jew is under danger? So he is saving his life basically.

So Jew sinned enough in his life for small enjoyments and NOW he is under danger, his entire life and not sinning? So he sinned for small enjoyments and question is to sin or pretend to sin to save his own life?

Quote and great answer from Gemara provided above for it, yes.

BUT!

If we really understand in deep details how reward and punishments work then if sin is committed, it doesn't matter pretended or not, if I have understanding later that sin was a sin, TRULY understand, recognize and TRULY not able to commit it then sin is forgiven.

I am not able to make a sin on my own free will, but if it's made under pressure, danger of life or I'm sleeping and not aware of a sin and etc.

Sin is flushed out. Only because I always have understanding in front of Him, before and after sin

Before it was impossible to happen cause I was not able to. After it is also impossible to happen cause I have understanding also.

Why?

I don't have sin in my mind and I don't have a desire to make a sin, so I don't have it neither here or in Etz Khaim and I have an understanding of a sin - proof, that I am not able to make it. Even if sin is physically committed not under my free will and desire - it can not be a sin for 2 reasons:

  1. I am not able to do it in past and future!
  2. After sin is committed in present I have an understanding that it was a sin and recognize it in front of Hashem, sin is forgiven, why? Cause that is the purpose of the time that I have in my life to recognize and fix sins, if it's done, then there is no any punishment for it, cause it's fixed in Etz Khaim. It does NOT belong to me.

Conclusion:

If I understand and not committing sin - there is no punishment for a sin.

If It was committed not matter how and why, I recognize in front of Hashem with full of my existence that I am not able to commit it - there is no punishment also.

P.S. Aside from the three major sins

idolatry, sexual immorality and murder

During idolatry group of sefirot are trying to go under "something", but everything comes down from HIM, so it's a violation.

During zivug (זווג) of sefirot group it always stamps who by who/what by what and there are a forbidden zivugs (sexual immorality): next to next (close relatives) and zivug from above to below (man and animal, man and tree etc) and same and same - man with man, woman with woman. And when someone has a wife/husband, there is attached line of continuous zivug, so if wife/husband go to others it breaks previous line and make new one and if he/she is back it breaks again and make again - forbidden both.

Murder - leaves stamp/reason in Etz Khaim "who by who"

Important to mention an exception: if Jew does not have desire to kill but someone takes his hand and kill someone, Jew didn't have desire to kill, so "who by who" is a killer who had a desire, not a Jew, even if his hand is involved

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