It is forbidden to give a child (of any age) something that will cause him to violate a commandment. For example, one may not feed non-kosher food even to an infant. For me that went without saying, but in halacha a fine distinction is made, with some of the “law”. Here is one illustration that is very confusing to me.
Dan comes home from shul on Shabbat evening and finds that the light in his bedroom was mistakenly left on. This will make it difficult for him to enjoy a good night’s sleep. Can he encourage his child to turn off the light?
We just learned that one may not give a child something that will cause him to violate a commandment. However, it is permitted to place a forbidden item in front of a small child, for the child to play with as s/he sees fit. Therefore, one could hold a very small child (age 2) in front of a light switch, and even “hint” to the child by saying, “Wouldn’t it be fun to play with this knob?!” ( Children in Halacha p. 67)
Further, if the child is only breaking Shabbat on a rabbinic level, and the act is something that the child needs, the child needs not be stopped from doing so. (Talmud–Yevamet 113-4; Orach Chaim 343:1 with Mishah Berurach, and Blur Halacha s.v. M’Divrei Sofrim). For example, on Shabbat where though there is no eruv, a child may be given a prayer book to carry to the synagogue, provided that the child will be using it there. (Biur Halacha 343).
There are many Halacha like this that really seem hard to understand. Yes, by all means I will ask my Rabbi but I just wanted to get your thoughts on issues like this one.
Another question that has always found its way to question for me is a very simple one.
A non-Jewish friend comes to visit and I know s/he eats pork and I want to offer them something to drink. Do I give them a disposable cup and possibly offend them or allow them to drink from my glass? If it is my glass then what do I do with the glass?
I know that many of you may see this as things that don’t require thought but for a person practicing Judaism, it is all important.
The Schwartz family has run out of baby formula for their infant, and has run out of medicine for their 2-year-old. They may ask a non-Jew to drive to the store and make these purchases for them on Shabbat.
For me this would fall under the rule of a stranger in your home. But it seems that this is allowed. Why would I encourage another to break the law of Shabbat? Rather s/he is a Jew or not. Is it not important to teach the world the importance of Shabbat? If not, why?