Simplicity, the blind borrower and neuroeconomics

Lister, RJ 2006, 'Simplicity, the blind borrower and neuroeconomics' , Jewish Law: Examining Halacha, Jewish Issues and Secular Law .

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We are indebted to Hershey Friedman (2002) for his in- depth analysis of the sin of placing a stumbling block before a blind person (Leviticus 19:14). This is generally referred to as lifnei iver which is an abbreviation of lifnei iver lo sitten michshol (before the blind do not place a stumbling block). The aspects of this expression can be summarised as follows: 1 The literal meaning: Friedman (p.1) refers to the view that the literal sense is intended by Leviticus while the metaphorical meaning is added in the oral torah. However Rambam (Mishnah torah , Sefer Ha- mitzvot, lo ta’aseh , 298) says that the literal meaning is not intended because it is covered elsewhere. 2 Superior information: do not give bad, self - interested advice to someone with inferior information. An example is persuading someone to sell his field for a donkey in order to get the field (Sifra, Kedoshim, parshasa 2, perek 7). 3 Leading astray: do not provide a person with the means of commit ting a sin if, without your help, he could not commit it or could only commit it with greater difficulty. An example would be giving wine to a nazirite (Babylonian Talmud, Avodah Zara, 6b). The Rambam reads this and the preceding case together in that bad advice includes help in transgressing the torah (op cit: 299). 4 Beguiling the vulnerable: do not cause a person who is one or more of vulnerable, gullible, artless, irrational – an ingénu prone to temptation to act against his interests. Minchas Chinuch at paragraph 232 touches on this aspect of lifnei iver in the words lo lehachshil tam baderech ‘do not trip up a tam on the way’. The meaning of tam is discussed in detail later.

Item Type: Article
Themes: Subjects / Themes > B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BM Judaism
Subjects / Themes > K Law > KF United States Federal Law
Subjects outside of the University Themes
Journal or Publication Title: Jewish Law: Examining Halacha, Jewish Issues and Secular Law
Publisher: Ira Kasdan
Refereed: Yes
Depositing User: H Kenna
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2007 10:39
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2013 15:50

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