Do a lot of advertisements ever constitute Lifnei iver for lo tachmod? The reason I ask is because the prohibition of coveting someone else’s goods (Lo Tachmod) seems more likely if one is culturally pressured through advertising. So for example Shimon owns a DVD shop and then post billboards, online ads, etc. to the point that Rueben starts to covet those DVDs.

Is all this technically permissible in Halacha?

  • Maybe not healthy behavior, but "do not covet" means I want his tchotchke. As in I should have specifically this knicknack, and he should not have it! The Rambam says it's about scheming to get his when he doesn't want to sell it, including pestering him until he reluctantly agrees (though I paid market value). With today's mass-produced consumer goods, this is almost never a problem; I may be swayed by advertising to suddenly desire a pricey Swiss watch ... but then I'd go to a store and buy one. Not pester my neighbor to sell me theirs. Unless it's some crazy-rare limited edition.
    – Shalom
    Jan 9 at 23:30
  • Where it DOES come up today ... and where things can totally get ugly, is family heirlooms. I heard a talk from a woman who was mortally offended that Bubby willed her candlesticks to a male grandson unlikely to use them, and not to her. Buying an identical pair (if they could be found) wouldn't have mollified her; she wanted those candlesticks and felt she was the victim of injustice! (Eventually she bought some cool-looking antique candlesticks, told herself "these are how I'll remember Bubby", and got over it -- but that took overcoming a very real, normal, and human desire.)
    – Shalom
    Jan 9 at 23:35

1 Answer 1



I saw here on Din Online the following:

What you are writing is true, the advertising business, for an honest person is fraught with danger, because unfortunately a lot of advertising nowadays involves lying and fooling people. False advertising can include the issurim of sheker (lying), geneivas daas (fooling), lifnei iver, because it is giving them bad advice especially is it is not true. Additionally, you might be under pressure from a dishonest customer to do these things. I am not saying not to go into this business, rather that you should know the pitfalls.

In the sources it quotes from a sefer entitled "Titein Emes L'Yaakov" - on p.478 it writes the following:

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In the final part it reads:

If he says I will sell you at 100 and another opportunity comes that will give him 200, he should not change his words. And the same is true if he says to his friend, I will buy from you at 200, and another opportunity comes that will give it to him for 100. But if he believes that this is the assumption and is wrong, there is no need to say if the seller was mistaken and there is not even middas chasidus (to act accordingly). And from here, there is rebuke to merchants/sellers who advertise, not to greatly exaggerate the quality of their goods.

  • 1
    I don't see anything about לא תחמוד
    – shmosel
    Jan 9 at 22:59
  • Read the bits before...
    – Dov
    Jan 9 at 23:01

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