My fellow Jew (let's call him Bob) and I were discussing the Miswa of "You shall not place a stumbling block in front of a blind person (Wayikra 19)". Bob was saying that that verse was referring to the literal translation of the Miswa, meaning that it is Asur to place a stumbling block before a blind man because of this Pasuk. I responded that it means what Rashi quotes from the Mefarshim before him and it has nothing to do with literally placing a stumbling block before a blind person. Then Bob tells me to look at Onkelus which translates the Pasuk into Aramaic literally. I responded that that's not a proof.

Summary:1) Does the Isur of "Lifne Iwer" also mean that you can't place a stumbling block before a blind person (I'm not asking if you're allowed to place a stumbling block, rather I'm asking if you did were you in violation of this Isur)? 2)If I'm right then is there is any source for not placing a stumbling block in front of a blind man?

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    duplicate?: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/16772/… -- see also comments on that question – Menachem Jun 24 '13 at 13:56
  • @Menachem Msh210 answered my question epis. – Hacham Gabriel Jun 24 '13 at 13:58
  • @Menachem and my second question could be a question by itself. – Hacham Gabriel Jun 24 '13 at 13:59
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    @Menachem, not a dupe, in that that question assumes the answer to this question as a premise, but quite related, of course. – Isaac Moses Jun 24 '13 at 14:42
  • @IsaacMoses It seems to me that all of the information in this question and several answers to it are found in that question, its answers, and comments. The mapping may not be 1:1 by component, but it has the potential for exhaustive restatement. – WAF Jun 24 '13 at 15:30

Note that the Minchas Chinuch says that literally placing a stumbling block before a blind person is not a (Biblical, at least) violation of this avera (according to what I've read in the "Torah Lodaas" weekly sheet by Rabbi Matis Blum; I didn't look up the Minchas Chinuch myself). However, the Meshech Chochma disagrees, holding that placing a stumbling block is included in the Biblical prohibition.

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  • Great! But what about the second part of the question? – Hacham Gabriel Jun 26 '13 at 18:37
  • @HachamGabriel I don't know of any source for that, though I don't doubt there is one. – msh210 Jun 26 '13 at 18:53

Minchas Chinuch 232:4 discusses this, and raises the possibility that maybe he would be violating this lav by doing so. On the other hand, he also comments (quoting Korban Aharon) that if the verse meant this, it would have used the verb תשים rather than תתן, suggesting that in fact it has only the figurative meaning.

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The Lubavitcher Rebbe explains (Sichos Kodesh 5744 Parshas Kedoshim - although I think it was edited and printed in Lukutei Sichos somewhere) the reason that Rashi doesn't interpret the verse literally is that the literal understanding is already forbidden by the issur of וכי יפתח איש בור which shows that it is ossur to be a mazik, so here it would be superfluous (and Rashi prefers to learn a new issur rather than say it is to make it one issur with two lavim).

So from this, we could answer question #2, that it is included in the general issur of being a mazik. However, it should be pointed out that the Rebbe's approach to Rashi is that he is not halacha, and will learn a verse according to Pshat different than the halachic interpretation. We actually see this quite clearly with this question, as the halachic interpretation is well established, but still the Rebbe (and Sifsei Chachamim gives a different answer, but asks the same question) asking on Rashi why he doesn't interpret it literally - even though this is the established halachic understanding of the posuk.

So it doesn't totally answer #2, but perhaps points to the direction to look for the issur in halacha.

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    What if you put a big foam block in front of the blind person so that he wouldn't get hurt when he fell? How is that Mazik? It's just really mean. – Double AA Nov 12 '13 at 5:19
  • @DoubleAA, are you asking on that interpretation of Rashi, or are you asking if this is a halachic problem? – Yishai Nov 12 '13 at 11:10
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    On the interpretation of Rashi. I already established it is a halachic problem. – Double AA Nov 12 '13 at 22:09
  • @DoubleAA OK, a bit far afield from the point of my answer, I would have to see the edited Sicha to know if it is addressed directly, but see the Sifsei Chachamim that this verse has to be talking about something that no one would know about (ויראת מאלקיך). So now you would have to have two conditions - no hezek (צער, נזק, בושת?) and the person setting the stumbling block when no one was looking. That isn't less far fetched than two lavin, which Rashi already prefers to exclude if possible, and certainly very far from the plain meaning of always (cont'd). – Yishai Nov 12 '13 at 22:23
  • @DoubleAA Add in that it would be excluded by ואהבת לרעך כמוך, which even though that is a couple of verses later and Rashi doesn't hint to it, still makes it more reason to exclude it, even without hinting to it. And blindness is already non-literal elsewhere (by שחד). – Yishai Nov 12 '13 at 22:27

According to the Rambam hilchos Rotzeach 11,4 quoting Bava Kama 15b one would transgress לא תשים דמים (Devarim 22,8) if by placing the stumbling block in front of a blind man or anyone else as he's putting the man in danger of loosing his life and the same would apply with a man that can see:

אחד הגג ואחד כל דבר שיש בו סכנה וראוי שיכשל בה אדם וימות. כגון שהיתה לו באר או בור בחצירו בין שיש בו מים בין שאין בו מים חייב לעשות חוליא גבוהה עשרה טפחים. או לעשות לה כסוי כדי שלא יפול בה אדם וימות. וכן כל מכשול שיש בו סכנת נפשות מצות עשה להסירו ולהשמר ממנו ולהזהר בדבר יפה יפה. שנאמר השמר לך ושמור נפשך. ואם לא הסיר והניח המכשולות המביאין לידי סכנה ביטל מצות עשה ועבר בלא תשים דמים:

If he gets damaged but not endagered then the person who placed the stumbling block has to pay for the damages Bava Kama 27a as he would transgress Shemos 22,3כי יכרה איש בר ולא יכסנו3 placing a pit and not covering it:

המניח את הכד ברה"ר ובא אחר ונתקל בה ושברה פטור ואם הוזק בה בעל החבית חייב בנזקו

So since there are already prohibitions in the Torah for putting a physical stumbling block in front of an unaware person and there is no reason to single out a blind man as it is forbidden to make anyone stumble, Chazal took the Passuk of "Lifnei Iver" figuratively, like knowingly giving someone bad business advice, or knowingly serving someone non-Kosher food that they were unaware of where there knowledge of transgressing an Aveira is completely "blind".

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    Thanks for answering! True and solid svara, but it is possible to be over several commandments with a singular act see mishnah in Makkos 3:9- ie lav davka that couldn't be the case here as well – alicht Dec 27 '18 at 15:46
  • This answer was merged here from a newer version of this question. – Isaac Moses Dec 27 '18 at 17:08
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    @alicht i agree with you its possible to transgress several commandments at the same time ** only when the Gemora says so**, but since the the Gemora takes the passuk out of its context and the Gemara Bava Kama and the Rambam clearly does not mention any other transgression other than "Lo tasim Damim Beveisecha". although note that the kutim would take the Passuk literally so they would cause others to sin as this is not putting a physical stumbling block in front of a blind person, as they dont listen to Chazal see Tosfos Gittin 10a "Matzas Kuti" – user15464 Dec 28 '18 at 10:09

Of course it is an aveira to place a stumbling block in front of a blind person! ! The meforshim explain that not only a literal stumbling block but also to mislead someone or give bad advice on purpose is part of that at Av of the Aveira

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    See the other answer of this question, which didn't find things to be as simple. – Double AA Nov 12 '13 at 3:58
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    Welcome to the site! We value sources here (since we don't know answerers or how knowledgeable or trustworthy they are); can you please edit in any source you may have for this claim? Also, consider registering your account, which will give you access to more of the site's features. – msh210 Nov 12 '13 at 5:03

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