Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, zt’l in Yechaveh Da’as III #67 indicates that a woman who dresses immodestly violates lifnei eiver.

How/why does a woman dressing immodestly transgress the prohibition of lifnei eiver? If it does not please cite sources to this effect as well.

  • 2
    We should recall that even if it used to be Lifnei Iver before such women could be found so commonly, and material which is way more explicit is easily found in less time than it is taking me to write this comment, it might no longer be the case that such dress still violates lifnei iver. So pay attention to the dating of any source you bring.
    – Double AA
    Nov 13, 2013 at 18:24
  • @DoubleAA: dafyomi.org/index.php?masechta=avoda_zara&daf=6b&go=Go
    – Seth J
    Nov 13, 2013 at 18:49
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    מנין שלא יושיט אדם כוס של יין לנזיר ואבר מן החי לבני נח ת"ל ולפני עור לא תתן מכשול והא הכא דכי לא יהבינן ליה שקלי איהו וקעבר משום לפני עור לא תתן מכשול הב"ע דקאי בתרי עברי נהרא דיקא נמי דקתני לא יושיט ולא קתני לא יתן ש"מ
    – Seth J
    Nov 13, 2013 at 18:50
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    @SethJ It's way easier to find pornography nowadays than kosher wine, let alone a nazir to give it to.
    – Double AA
    Nov 13, 2013 at 18:57
  • @DoubleAA LOL, that may be true.
    – Seth J
    Nov 13, 2013 at 19:25

1 Answer 1


Since a man is prohibited to stare at a woman, dressing immodestly in front of men provides them with the tool to sin, let alone what the stare can lead to (improper thoughts, etc.) That seems almost self-evident, especially if she is doing it "to be seen". In other words doing it to draw attention to herself.

[I guess what is self evident to me isn't so self-evident to others. So let's start with adding in one more case of Lifnei Iver - a parent hitting an older child. The parent is in the room, all the tools needed are there. But he isn't violating Lifnei Iver just by being in the room. Rather by hitting the child, thus doing something that has a foreseeable consequence of motivating him to do an aveira, he violates Lifnei Iver. This seems to me to be directly analogous to a woman dressing untznius to be noticed. To clarify, I am speaking here about the fact that the untznius draws attention, so that would mean that not all levels of untznius draw attention (or cause hirrur) (e.g. a married woman with uncovered hair being the classic example), so that would limit the statement of when it is lifnei iver. And let me be further clear that I am not saying it is self evident that it violates Lifnei Iver, I'm saying that if it does, it is seems to me to be self evident because of this reason].

Double AA brings up a good point that for something to be Lifnei Iver it may have to be through providing something that was otherwise unavailable. Note that there are opinions that this is a Rabbinic prohibition regardless. It would also get into questions of what is "otherwise available" in this context (on the street, walking past teenagers, etc.).

Even if not, the common prayer every night is that no person should be punished because of me. So even if it weren't a technical problem (from Lifnei Iver), it still has an undesirable aspect to it.

  • According to this why should there be a difference what (or if) she wears? It's prohibited for a man to stare at her even clothed with the intent of getting pleasure. How can she walk outside? (IAE Please add sources; thus far your answer says "maybe".)
    – Double AA
    Nov 13, 2013 at 18:51
  • I never understood this type of argument. it is prohibited to stare at the little finger of a woman for benefit. does she need to cover her entire body? maybe women should not be allowed to stand still so that one can only look at them fleetingly. its also prohibited to say lashon hara so we should be prohibited from looking at any Jew lest we find a reason to say lashon hara about him. there must be something i'm missing Nov 13, 2013 at 18:56
  • @DoubleAA, I think that may be an argument for dressing within the general norm (even non-Jewish norm, but something everyone is already used to, like the Aruch Hashulchan's argument about a married woman's uncovered hair) not being lifnei iver. But being untznius draws attention.
    – Yishai
    Nov 13, 2013 at 18:59
  • @Yishai I don't understand your point. Who cares if she is trying to draw attention? Is her action providing another with an opportunity to sin or not? Giving the Nazir wine is Lifnei Iver even if he ends up not drinking it, I would think. And by the way, sleeves just above the elbow do not draw attention unless you've spent your life in a hole.
    – Double AA
    Nov 13, 2013 at 19:00
  • @DoubleAA, regarding your modified comment to provide sources, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef is a source that it is. The question was to understand the opinion, which involves better definition of Lifnei Iver. It is not that you couldn't argue, but once you say it is, it seems pretty self-evident that this is the reason why.
    – Yishai
    Nov 13, 2013 at 19:04

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