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The Chelkas Yoav (vol.1:1) says that when a katan (minor) eats a forbidden food his enjoyment of the food is considered an aveira. The reason that he is not punished is since he is unresponsible for his actions he is considered an oness (acting unwillingly).

He then asks if so why does the Gemara need to use a is a special pasuk "Lo Saachilum" to teach that an adult may not feed a minor non-kosher food, why wouldn't this be included in the general prohibition of lifnei iver lo titen michshol (causing or being an accessory to someone else's sinning)?

He answers that although when the katan eats the food and enjoys it it is considered a maaseh aveira (act of sin), it is not considered a michshol (stumble), since (as mentioned above) he is considered an oness.

We can clearly deduce from this that, in his opinion, when someone causes someone to commit an aveira through oness, there is no aveira of lifnei iver.

In the same sefer (קונטרס בעניני אונס ענף ג), in regard to מכניס עצמו לאונס (someone who brings himself into a situation where he does an aveira through oness), the author writes:

מצד הסברא נראה לי ברור דפטור כיון דמ"מ בשעה שעובר אנוס הוא... אף דבודאי איסור דאורייתא עשה במה שהכניס עצמו לאונס משום לפני עור לא תתן מכשול, דמה לי מכשיל אחרים או שמכשיל את עצמו, אבל מ"מ בגוף העבירה אנוס הוא.

When someone causes himself into a situation where he does an aveira through oness, although he definitely transgresses the aveira of lifnei iver lo titen michshol, for there is no difference between when one causes another to stumble, or if he causes himself to stumble, nevertheless he is not punished with the punishment of the aveira itself, since after all as far as the aveira is concerned he is an oness.

This shows that even when the sinner is considered an oness and therefore not punished for his aveira, the one who caused him to do it is nevertheless guilty of lifnei iver.

This seems to be in contradiction to that which he said by a katan. How can we resolve it?

Related: Is someone permitted to force another person to do an Aveira by threatening him with death?

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You write:

We can clearly deduce from this that, in his opinion, when someone causes someone to commit an aveira through oness, there is no aveira of lifnei iver.

I believe this is an unnecessary deduction, because he says this explicitly in the paragraph beginning ואין להקשות by using the term חברו.


As for the substance of your question I think the answer may be as follows:

There is a clear difference between the first case and the second case. In the first case he is talking about a situation where a person is an אנוס prior to anyone else's involvement. A katan is an אנוס because he lacks da'as. He lacks da'as whether someone enables him to do an aveirah or whether he is on an isolated island for his entire life. If he would do an aveirah himself, it's not a problem since he is an אנוס – as the author writes, the act does not even require atonement. Therefore, when someone else enables him to do an aveirah he is not enabling anything problematic, and therefore there is no issur of lifnei iver.

However, in the second case it is an entirely different story. There is no inherent אונס involved. If we imagine the person split into two people, we have the guy who actually does the aveirah, and the guy who put him into the situation where he had to do the aveirah. In this case, had the first guy done the aveirah on his own it would have been a full-fledged sin. The second guy who put him in the situation where he had to do the sin, has therefore caused him to do a full-fledged sin. Of course, then, the second guy has violated lifnei iver – there is no greater lifnei iver than this! He actually forced someone to do an aveirah. Now it happens to be that after the fact we will say that the first guy is exempt because he was forced, but that only means that we're transferring the blame from the first guy to the second guy. In no way can that be used to pardon the second guy.

Now let's merge the two people back together again. When the person does the aveirah in the moment of אונס he is only pardoned because the blame is transferred to his earlier self which forced him into the situation. That earlier self caused the later self to do a full-fledged aveirah and has thus violated lifnei iver.

We can see this principle by viewing another angle. Imagine someone feeds someone else non-kosher food (where the second guy believes that it's kosher). Now the second guy didn't do anything wrong (he is allowed to rely on the first guy that it's kosher) so would you say that the first guy does not violate lifnei iver?

  • @RibbisRabbiAndMore I would say that he's just quoting that pasuk as the source that no atonement is necessary for the person who did the aveirah b'ones, not that forcing someone to do an aveirah is not lifnei iver. – Alex Jun 19 '18 at 18:51
  • The words of the Chlekas Yoav in the paragraph about katan, prove that the case of oness by katan is the same as the case of oness when someone forces another person to do an aveira. He uses the passuk ולנערה לא תעשה דבר to explain why there is no michshol. That passuk is about a woman who is raped. According to you, that case WOULD be a michshol because the woman is not an oness without the rapist! – RibbisRabbiAndMore Jun 19 '18 at 18:52
  • but he says there that since "no atonement is necessary for the person who did the aveirah b'ones, AS IS STATED IN THAT PASSUK " therefore there is no michshol. So that means wherever no atonement is necessary for the person who did the aveirah there is no michshol. – RibbisRabbiAndMore Jun 19 '18 at 18:54
  • @RibbisRabbiAndMore That's in a case where the person is already an אנוס even without the involvement of the second person. But he wouldn't say that when the second person is creating the אונס, as is evident from his comments in the second link. – Alex Jun 19 '18 at 19:05
  • REread what I just wrote. – RibbisRabbiAndMore Jun 19 '18 at 19:11

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