I was curious if the topic has ever come up. You typically hear the argument that a Jew's observance is between them and Hashem. If they don't observe, that's obviously a personal choice and thus they carry the responsibility of that.

I was curious if there were circumstances where another Jew could be implicated in such a situation. Say a Jew says or does something which alienates a fellow Jew to the point of nonobservance. Do they carry the burden of this on their soul to some degree?

Some examples:

  • A Jew makes a Baal Teshuva feel unwelcome and they end up not fully reintegrating back into the community of observance as a result.

  • A Jew applies a Torah idea in a wrong or bad way which results in a fellow Jew getting the wrong idea and losing their belief or faith.

  • A Jew gives someone the false idea that observance is something they can just walk away from. "Maybe this whole Judaism thing isn't for you."

These are just some examples but you get the idea.

I was curious if the spiritual ramifications of such individuals had ever been discussed.

  • 2
    "You shall not place a stumbling block before a blind person" (Vayikra 19:14)
    – ezra
    Nov 11, 2018 at 8:18
  • At the very least this would be lifnei eiver. Nov 11, 2018 at 8:19
  • 'You shall love your neighboor as yourself' applies here aswell.
    – Ilja
    Nov 11, 2018 at 9:03
  • Pirkei Avot 1:11... Nov 11, 2018 at 9:28
  • 2
    It's called מסית. See too כל ישראל ערבים זה לזה
    – Double AA
    Nov 11, 2018 at 11:53

1 Answer 1


It is a mixture of different Halachot and topics:

  1. It is only a sin if the action is done purposefully and directly to drive one from observance. One should have an intention to do so and his action must directly lead to lowering one's observance. But if either part is missing it would not constitute a sin.

For example:

  • if one says to his fellow that just started keeping Shabbos "I know it's way too hard, almost impossible" and it caused the guy to give up the idea of keeping Shabbos - that would not be a sin as there's no wrong intention neither the behavior is a direct result of the remark.

  • if one says "what a disgusting hat you wear on Shabbos" is also not a sin (of driving off) as even it has an evil intention to assault, it does not necessarily lead to stopping one's observance.

  • if one says "let's go to a church instead as they are nicer and they pay for each new member you bring" might just be such a sin as it has both the intention and pretty much direct results.

    1. The direct sin of driving someone off the Yiddishkeit intentionally is definitely a branch of Meisit (see Rambam Avodah Zara 5).

    2. Besides Mesit (if it does not meet the #1 reqs.) it can still fall under many other sins בין אדם לחבירו (between fellow Jews) such as assault (הונאה), Lashon Harah, לפני עוור (misleading a blind man), loving your fellow, and more.

    3. I should mention, however, that there's a positive Mitzvah of rebuking one's fellow and some frum people overdo it toward the Baaley Teshuvah, like "do that and don't do that" etc, unconsciously discouraging them, just like we sometimes educate our kids. In such cases, a fin0tuning must be found between encouraging and rebuking.

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